ASU To Induct Ned Wulk Into Pac-10 Hall Of Honor
Sept. 26, 2002
Arizona State Athletic Director Gene Smith and Head Men's Basketball Coach Rob Evans have announced that the Sun Devil family will induct coaching legend Ned Wulk into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor in the spring of 2003.
'We are honored as a university to have the opportunity to both thank Ned and recognize him as the person who led us into the Pac-10,' says Gene Smith. 'Ned is a great Sun Devil and we appreciate everything he has done for ASU basketball. He led us into the league 25 years ago and on the silver anniversary of his first Pac-10 team it is fitting he joins other Pac-10 legends in the Hall of Honor.'
The Hall of Honor, established in 2002, inducted its first class in March of 2002 at the Pac-10 Tournament Hall of Honor Banquet. Byron Scott was ASU's inductee last year while Wulk will be inducted on March 12, 2003. The Pac-10 Basketball Hall of Honor was created to recognize athletes and coaches who have made significant contributions to the tradition and heritage of the Pac-10 Conference. Others inducted in 2002 included Sean Elliott (Arizona), Pete Newell (California), Johnny Dick (Oregon), Gary Payton (Oregon State), Hank Luisetti (Stanford), John Wooden (UCLA), Bill Sharman (USC), Bob Houbregs (Washington) and Craig Ehlo (Washington State).
The Arizona State athletic department honored Wulk in March of 1999, as the arena floor where he won a building-record 20 straight contests was renamed 'Ned Wulk Court' in honor of the legendary basketball mentor who won 406 games from 1958-82. Wulk posted amazing success in Tempe, as he was 94-24 (.797) in home contests in the former University Activity Center and has been a strong supporter of the ASU program since his retirement in 1982.
'Our players understand and appreciate what Coach Wulk accomplished at Arizona State and we want to continue that tradition,' said coach Rob Evans. 'Ned's accolades and record are amazing, but most importantly he has remained a supporter of the Sun Devil basketball family and has been a great friend. We love Ned and appreciate the chance to honor him in this way as well as playing on his court and having a current award named after him. When we first arrived at ASU I wanted to establish with our current players the importance of understanding Ned's legacy. The award for him goes to someone each year who is the best example of a great Sun Devil.'
Wulk, who was 406-272 (.599) in his 25-year run as Sun Devil head coach, was honored at an evening banquet on March 5, 1999, which was held on the floor of Wells Fargo Arena. The next afternoon, Wulk was honored by ASU fans, alumni, former players, administrators and family at halftime of the ASU-USC game.
ASU won its first 20 games in the UAC from Dec. 3, 1974 through Jan. 10, 1976, which is still a building record. Three times Wulk's troops won 14 games in its home arena, which remains a record.
At the time of Wulk's 400th victory, he was one among only four active coaches to win 400 games at the same school. One of the others was North Carolina's Dean Smith. His first team had a .500 season, with a 13-13 mark. From there, Wulk guided his teams to 17-9, 16-7, 23-6, 23-4 and 26-3 records in his first five years. In the 25 years Wulk coached at ASU, he had 17 winning seasons and led ASU to nine NCAA Tournaments and two National Invitational Tournaments. His teams were one game away from the Final Four three different times - 1961, 1963 and 1975. Arizona State has made it to the NCAA Tournament a total of 11 times, and only two were without Wulk (1991 and 1995).
ASU's most wins in a season is 26, which was achieved by Wulk's 1963 team and the longest winning streak by any ASU team was 18 by the 1962 club. Wulk also guided Arizona State to its first top-20 national ranking in just his fifth year as coach as ASU was ranked as high as number three, and the team was nationally ranked six times during his stint.
The 1979-80 season was one of Wulk's most prolific as the Sun Devils finished 21-6, and second in the Pac-10 at 15-3, with a national top-20 ranking in both wire service polls and an NCAA Tournament berth. Wulk was selected as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
He completed his 25th year at ASU with an upset-victory at undefeated, top-ranked and Pac-10 champion Oregon State in 1980-81.