Robert Killips | Lansing State Journal)
There was more than just a basketball game going on at Gannon Gym on Lansing Community College's campus on Saturday afternoon. It was a reunion – and a hopeful celebration.
LCC coach Mike Ingram was gunning for his 600th career victory, being at the helm of the Stars' basketball program for 29 years. Glen Oaks Community College – and its seven man roster – didn't stand a chance.
Ingram told his players how much he wanted this win to happen. An array of former players had trekked through a snowstorm and terrible driving conditions to be there. His son, Justin, made the drive from Toledo and even stopped to pick up Ingram's mother so she could be in attendance.
The LCC players had extra bounce in their step right from the start. They torched the Vikings in transition and coasted to a 102-86 victory.
"It feels good, and I've been blessed with having a lot of really good players come through here and good coaches," Ingram said. "I'm just really excited for our guys and we are starting to play basketball the way that we play here."
Win 600 is now added to Ingram's lengthy list of accomplishments – he's led his teams to 19 MCCAA Western Conference Championships. He was named Region XII Coach of the Year in his first season in 1990-91 and again three mores times during the 2005-06, 2014-2015, and 2015-2016 seasons.
The 19-time Western Conference Coach of the Year was also inducted into the NJCAA Men's Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2017.
And he's not done yet.
"I want these guys to get a championship," Ingram said. "We've played the toughest schedule in the country this year. We've really gotten into a great place in the last couple of weeks. I was telling jokes earlier in the year, and nobody was laughing at them. Now everybody's laughing, and it's good to know that these guys finally turned the corner."
Ingram's mentorship of Ingram has struck a chord with the team.
"He wanted us to be a part of something like this," Taylor said. "Coach and this team, we've been through a lot this season. We've come a long way and made a lot of strides. One thing about coach is that he's going to make sure you play hard.
"Coach told us in practice that we better get this one or he was going to make us pay for it next practice."
LCC Athletic Director Greg Mallek presented Ingram with a trophy and basketball signed by his former and current players after the game, and a ceremony was held for Ingram's milestone. The fans that made the trip to see Ingram's 600th win gave a hearty ovation.
For Ingram, the most touching thing was seeing his former players come back to celebrate with him.
"It means a lot that they are keeping up with me and what's going on here and at LCC," Ingram said. "It was exciting, and a lot of guys who couldn't make it still took the time to reach out to me."