Kenneth C. Schuler, former head basketball coach at Glen Oaks Community College, will be honored on Saturday, January 9 in a ceremony during a highly-touted league game between GOCC and Lansing Community College. Lansing Community College is favored to win the league title, but the GOCC Vikings are off to a great season with balanced double digit scoring by many on the team and threaten to ruin LCC’s party.
The ceremony honoring Schuler is expected to be held between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m. in the Glen Oaks gymnasium. The college is attempting to contact as many of Schuler’s former players and assistants as possible, said Steve Proefrock, Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach. “Everyone should enjoy an exciting game between Lansing and Glen Oaks,” said Proefrock.
“We want to honor Coach Schuler for his dedicated years of service to Glen Oaks and the influence he had on so many young people. Many of his players went on to have very successful lives and that is a testament to his success. His former players say he taught them discipline, work ethic and responsibility,” Proefrock added.
Glen Oaks Community College expects to announce a scholarship for basketball players in his name at the ceremonies. Schuler coached the Vikings to several Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) Championships and was honored in 1996 with induction into the Hall of Fame of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan for 519 victories in 30 years (408 at Glen Oaks). Schuler also received the Real Sports Award for 1995-1996 from the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region XII.
In the first years of Glen Oaks Community College, Schuler said his teams won invitational tournament titles playing on Constantine High School’s basketball court, as well as other venues. In the 1972-1973 season, the Vikings captured the league title after posting a 26-4 season (13-1 in league play). In 1978-1979, the Vikings were 25-5 on the season (12-2 in league play) and were co-champions with Jackson Community College. Schuler coached for seven years at the high school level before his 24 years at Glen Oaks. He returned to lead the Glen Oaks in 1995 as an interim coach for the Vikings.
Schuler recalled, “As I look back, at a time when I was young and full of vinegar, I am proud of the many student athletes I coached. Some players, like Jerry Edwards, went on to play as a professional or at four-year colleges and universities. Most of them have done very well in life and are lawyers, doctors, teachers, businessmen and even coaches. Many of them remain in this area of Michigan. In those earlier Glen Oaks days, we played well against the junior varsities of many big universities like Notre Dame and Michigan State University. Some of those players we competed against continued to turn in great performances for their universities.”
The first 1967-1968 Viking team was honored at Glen Oaks on February 2, 2008 for their “Cinderella” play that recorded a 13-8 opening season, including a 6-1 run on local high school courts where home games were then played. That team included Larry Engle, Jim Ruden, Bill Younts, Jeff Bell, Gary Hunter, Brian Fiebelkorn, Phil Avery, Dean Whittington, Randy Strawser, Mike Miller, Steve Foley, Jim Bishop, manager Chuck Rodenbaugh and Coach Schuler.
1968 through 1970 were formative years for the young Glen Oaks Vikings as they ended play in area high school gyms and took to their brand new hardwood at the Centreville campus.
Schuler’s 1968-1969 basketball team went 23-7 overall and 10-6 in conference play. The team included co-captains Phil Avery and Gary Hunter, C. B. Gordon, Clarence Johnson, Steve Keller, Tom Chartrand, Byron Hooley, Jim Bishop, Bob Key, Rich Meyers, Paul Sheets, Brian Fiebelkorn, Denny Blodget, Bill Younts, and Steve Foley. That year the Vikings played home games on high school courts at Centreville, White Pigeon, Sturgis and Three Rivers before playing the last game of the season in their new gym at Glen Oaks Community College. The Vikings opened in their new gymnasium in 1970 with a team consisting of Rex Mayer, Rommie Scott, John Wheelock, Floyd Foston, Jerry Goodpaster, Bruce Murphy, Byron Hooley, Tim Blanchard, C.B. Gordon, Scott Hoffer, Jack Carmichael, Jerry Moore, Dale Sult, and Joe Gordon.
These players and those in coming years set high standards for all Glen Oaks student-athletes, said Proefrock.