Skyline Chili Crosstown Classic Also Honored
PETE GILLEN --- 2002 Inductee --- Head men's basketball coach (1985-94).
Pete Gillen, a four-time Midwestern Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year, piled up a long list of successes at Xavier during his nine seasons. Most notably, he led the Musketeers to post-season play in eight of those years, including seven NCAA berths (six straight from 1986-91) and a trip to the NIT Quarterfinals in 1994. XU also boasted seven 20-win seasons under Gillen.
His impressive career winning percentage of .729 (202-75) was among the top ten NCAA Division I coaches with six or more years of experience when he left XU.
In 1992-93, Xavier finished 23rd in the final USA TODAY/CNN poll and 15th in the final Basketball Times rankings. During Gillen's tenure, XU recorded the first three "Top 25" teams since the fifties. Xavier captured six MCC Regular Season Championships and five MCC Tournament Championships. Two of Xavier's winningest seasons were under Gillen: 28-5 (1989-90), 26-4 (1987-88).
He helped Xavier make the most of its 1990 NCAA Tournament appearance by making the program's first appearance in the "Sweet 16." A year later he led the Musketeers into the 1991 Second Round and in the 1993 NCAA Tourney, Xavier defeated 17th-ranked New Orleans (73-55) before nearly upsetting top-ranked Indiana (70-73) in the second round at the Indianapolis (Hoosier) RCA Dome.
There were a number of highlights during Gillen's tenure at Xavier: the winningest rookie Division I coach at 25-5 in 1985-86, the first round upset of Missouri in the 1987 NCAA Tournament (XU's first-ever win in the "Big Dance"), the school record of 28 victories in 1990, and XU's return to the national polls in 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1994.
Intensity was a big key to success for Gillen. The 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1993 MCC Coach of the Year, the 1988 Basketball Times Mideast Coach of the Year, and the 1989-90 Ohio Coach of the Year was a sweaty picture of energy and emotion who, after a game, looked like he had just played in it.