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Moments in TSU History: Tigers Make it Three-In-a-Row
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Moments in TSU History: Tigers Make it Three-In-a-Row

From 1957-1959, the TSU men's basketball team won three NAIA National Championships and became the first team to ever accomplish the feat.

The Tigers were led by legendary head coach John McLendon who ended up finishing his TSU career with an .878 winning percentage.

On the court, the team featured prolific players such as Dick Barnett and John Barnhill. Barnett is still the school's all-time leading scorer with 3,209 and Barnhill is 19th.

The duo helped the Tigers amass a 94-8 record during the three-year stretch including a school-record 32 wins during the 1958-59 season.

The Tigers won their first of three championships in 1957 when the team beat South East Oklahoma, 92-73. TSU went on to defeat their next to opponents in the championship game by double-digits as well.

Barnett was named MVP of the National Championship for his performances in the 1958 and 1959 games.

In one record-setting game during the 1958-59 season, the Tigers battled in-state foe Knoxville College. TSU scored an all-time high of 150 points in the contest and won by a record 92 points.

In three seasons, the team scored over 100 points 26 times thanks to McLendon's fast paced style that revolutionized the game of basketball.

The Tennessee State men's basketball championship teams of 1957-59 recently earned the honor of being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame - Class of 2019.