As the time was winding down in the Springfield College men’s basketball home opener on November 21, there was a little more to cheer for besides beating the No. 12 ranked Trinity College Bantams. With Springfield leading by 11 points with 20 seconds to go, the bench started to jump, the fans started to cheer and count down began.
- 2. 1. 500.
“Ah, I don’t have too many thoughts on it. I’ve been in it a while and I’ve been fortunate enough to be in great places. Springfield has always been close to my heart and I’m happy to be here,” Brock said in an interview after the game.
The bench erupted as the fans cheered louder, celebrating head coach Charlie Brock’s 500th career win.
With this being his 35th season coaching college basketball and 17th season on the sidelines of the Pride, Brocks 500th win puts him into a category that only 43 other coaches have accomplished in NCAA Division III men’s basketball. Along with the 500 wins, Brock has taken three schools to the NCAA Division III national tournament (Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, Gustavus Adolphus College)
Entering 2015, Brock had an overall record of 498-423(.586 winning percentage) while being 269-194(.58) coaching the Pride. In 2006, he was selected to be the Chair of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Committee. In the committee, where there are also eight Regional Chairs, Brock held the Northeast Region Chair as well.
He has a history of winning and developing players into stars. In the same year as being selected Chair, he was at the side of Derek Yvon, who currently holds the school’s all-time scoring record with 2,103 points. The following year, in 2007, Brock was the guidance to Anthony Pizzo, who holds Springfield’s career assist statistic with 523.
In his first season as head coach for Springfield in the ’98-’99 season, Brock led the Pride to a 19-8 season. Although they just missed out on a bid to the NCAA Tournament, the future looked bright, and it certainly stayed that way.
Brock’s accolades, accomplishments and background are quite impressive. The most fascinating thing Brock has, though, is his bond with his players.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play for Coach Brock for the past four years, and I really learned a lot under him,” senior forward Larry Piretra said. “Coach Brock’s been coaching for a long time and it shows because he really seems to know all the ins and outs of the game.”
Over a span of four years, Brock teaches his players more than just the game of basketball; he teaches his players how to grind.
“Coach Brock really pushes us to succeed. The biggest reason he pushes us so hard is because he knows the potential we do have to succeed,” Piretra said. “He’s really been pushing us since the first day of the season, and it really hasn’t stopped since.”
Along with Piretra, senior guard Josh Downes has had the privilege to play under Brock for four years.
“I think this means a lot to him. It really shows all of the hard work that he has put in over the years,” Downes said. “Getting the win over No. 12 Trinity definitely makes it a little sweeter to get his 500th, considering we lost to them last year and they were a few plays away from making the Final Four with a lot of returners coming back,” Downes said.
Incoming freshmen and first-year players under Brock are in for a wild ride, but they made the smart move to play for him. Brock has experience that few other Division III coaches can offer. Now, they’re in it for the next milestone.
“I can’t speak for many D-III coaches, but I know that Brock is one of the best because he has been around for so long and he has been around the game of basketball in many different capacities,” sophomore forward Brandon Eckles said. “He does more than just coach, he’s a leader.”
Brock has been described as humble when it comes to accomplishments. Winning his 500th game is quite the accomplishment, but he looks right past it and gets ready for the rest of the season with his talented team.
“It means a lot to him, but he won’t tell you that. He is a humble guy that wants the accomplishment to reflect the entire team and not just himself,” Eckles said.
The 16 players on the roster look up to their head coach for guidance and leadership, and that’s exactly what Brock delivers day in and day out. From win number one in 1980, to win number 500, Brock continues to be a lead. After all, it’s only fitting that it’s at the Birthplace of Basketball.
“I think the win over Trinity does make the 500th win better, especially since he was able to get the win at home,” Piretra said. “Coach has to rank up at the top among D-III coaches. If you get 500 wins at any level of college basketball you have to be considered among the greats.”