By: Jenny James
I went from living in the northern part of the state to the southern part, and when people ask where I went to college I smirk before I tell them because most have never heard of Northwest Missouri State University down here. Little do they know they are missing a hidden gem.
Northwest Missouri State is a division II school located in Maryville, Missouri … basically Iowa. I was drawn to this school for a long time because it is where my mom attended school and I was pretty familiar with it growing up. I was also very familiar with the University of Missouri because my dad played football for the Tigers and my brother also attended Mizzou.
I grew up going to Mizzou football games every weekend and got to witness the really good and fun years with Gary Pinkel. Everyone thought it was a no-brainer, she’s going to be a Tiger as well. However, I pulled the ultimate upset and decided to attend Northwest Missouri State and I’m so glad I did.
Northwest Missouri State is a special place. It’s very rare to attend a college where the president knows you by name and actually cares about how you are doing. The people at Northwest invest in every student and take that very seriously.
I say Northwest is a hidden gem not only because of the academic side of things, but also because of their athletics. I got to experience three National Championship wins during my time at Northwest. My freshman year in 2016-17, our football team won the National Championship and so did our men’s basketball team. The University of Florida is the only school in NCAA Division I history to have won a National Championship in football and men’s basketball in the same year, and that was in 2006-07.
To say Northwest has a dominate football and men’s basketball program is an understatement, and many don’t even know. Here’s a crazy statistic for you to realize how good the Northwest men’s basketball program currently is. Among active men’s NCAA basketball head coaches with at least 10 years of experience, Northwest head coach Ben McCollum ranks 4th with a .782 winning percentage. He is ranked ahead of Roy Williams, John Calipari, Bill Self and Mike Krzyzewski … enough said. I don’t even have enough space or time to tell you about a former football coach and legend, Mel Tjeerdsma. All-time record of 242-82-4 at Northwest, look him up.
Many will argue that Northwest has an easier slate because they are division II, but to those people, I say look what the Northwest men’s basketball team did last year against Duke. The Bearcats lost by 6 points to Duke … yes, THE Duke Blue Devils.
I will always argue that Northwest has one of the best men’s basketball programs and coaches in the country. And historically, they have had one of the best and most successful football programs … similar to the Crimson Tide dynasty. And now you know about one of the most successful college athletic departments not only in the state, but in the country.