It all started with a simple quip.
Former basketball coach Roger Trimmell, often referred to as the “Father of Dogball” at McPherson College, used to excite his team about its yearly matchup with Central Christian College by calling the contest as being for the “Mayor’s Cup.”
But as Trimmell noted in his usual deadpan humor, “there generally was no mayor at the game, nor was there a cup,” he said.
That prompted current McPherson mayor Tom Brown to do something about it and the result is tonight’s “Mayor’s Cup” games between the Bulldogs and Tigers.
“This is our opportunity to express appreciation for the economic impact both colleges have on McPherson," Brown said. “We appreciate the college presidents, athletic directors and coaches whose support has made this event possible.”
But the twist is the games will be played at the legendary McPherson High School Roundhouse, with the women tipping at 6:00 and the men at 8. The games were originally to be played this year at CCC’s Alexander Arena, but the Tiger coaches agreed to move the games to a neutral site for what is hoped to be an annual event at the grand old building.
The games will be aired on 96.7 KBBE-FM with “Voice of the Bullpups” Jim Joyner on the call. Pre-game starts at 5:30.
Brown has been working hard behind the scenes to make the games a success.
A traveling trophy will be awarded to the winning teams, and each school will receive a id="mce_marker",000 participation award to be applied to the school's scholarship fund. Event sponsorship is provided by Peoples Bank, which includes a "Shoot for Loot" halftime activity. Scholarships are provided by Galen Shields, McPherson BPU and a McPherson College alum. Trophies will be funded with a sports grant provided by the McPherson Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Students at both schools, who get in free with a student ID, are expected to turn out in droves, which should create a lively atmosphere.
As for the games themselves, the Mac and Central women already have met once this year with the Bulldogs a 75-53 winner. The Bulldogs, under first-year coach Josh Nichols, are 3-0 and the start has been keyed by a strong defensive effort.
The Tiger women, under second-year coach Marc Golden, are 0-3, but played Bethel tough on Saturday in a 72-64 loss.
After losing two of the first three games in the series, the Bulldogs have ripped off 12 wins in a row to lead the matchup 13-2.
On the men’s side, Mac dominated the series early by going 9-0 at the start, but the Tigers have charged back by winning 4 of the last 6, including last year’s 56-53 decision.
The teams have played some tremendous games down through the years, including three games that went into extra sessions.
The Bulldog men, like the women, have started 3-0 and showed an ability to close strong in both games of last weekend’s McPherson College Classic. Veteran coach Tim Swartzendruber, in his 11th year, has a deep team and newcomers Dorian Paige, Delvon Hightower and Buhler’s Grant Owens have made major contributions to go along with a bevy of returnees.
Tony Romero, in his 10th year at CCC, will be interested to see how his team bounces back from a season-opening loss to Haskell, a game in which the Tigers struggled from the field. Romero entered this year having 175 games in his 9 seasons.
McPherson High officials have been working hard getting the Roundhouse ready for the evening. A new 3-point line is having to be put down and portable shot clocks are being brought in.