College basketball: Livingstone coach reaches 400th victory milestone
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — On Tuesday, Dec. 17, the Blue Bears of Livingstone faced the Sharks of Nova Southeastern in the opening game of the 2013 Cruzin Classic. In what appeared at the time to be just another game on the Blue Bears’ schedule something remarkable happened.
The Blue Bears defeated the Sharks 82-65. In the process, head coach James Stinson, recorded his 400th career victory.
Anyone who knows Stinson, who is in his ninth season at Livingstone, understands he would be the first to tell you it was just another win and the players could have played a lot better. He would also say that he owes it all to the players, without whom not even one win would have been possible.
But that’s just Stinson.
Stinson became a head coach during the 1990-91 season on an interim basis at his alma mater, Barber-Scotia College. Stinson spent 13 seasons as the head man at Barber-Scotia, manning the sidelines from 1991-2004.
Barber-Scotia competed in the NAIA and found great success with Stinson at the helm. During that time, he enjoyed eight 20-win seasons, with a 27-win season being his best during his tenure.
Stinson was named EIAC Coach of the Year, qualified for NAIA National Tournament twice and had several players on the All-EIAC Team, as well as the All-Academic team. He won regular-season and tournament championships and advanced to the NAIA Elite 8 twice during his time at Barber-Scotia.
Stinson compiled a 272-135 mark at Barber-Scotia.
In the spring of 2004, the Blue Bears wanted to make a change and then-athletic director Clifton Huff brought in Stinson to take over as head men’s basketball coach.
“Congrats to Coach Stinson on getting his 400th career win. It could not have happened to a better person,” Huff said. “When we brought Stinson in, I always knew that he was a great coach and he just needed time.”
Time has proven key for Stinson and the Blue Bears, who have played in the CIAA championship game in each of the last two seasons. The Blue Bears set a school record with 22 wins in 2012-13.
Livingstone was also ranked in NCAA Division II for the first time ever at No. 13.
Stinson is a born winner and has shown that on and off the court and throughout his life. He has done things with the Blue Bears that others only dreamed of and some could never imagine.
NOTES: Stinson’s 401st win came in an overtime victory against Lynn. The Blue Bears finished their Florida trip 2-2, with close losses to third-ranked defending national champ Drury (Mo.) and unbeaten Barry (Fla.). Livingstone (7-2) is off now until Jan. 2 when it opens CIAA play against Bowie State at New Trent Gym.