1953-54 Leatherneck Basketball Team, 2005

The 1953-54 Leatherneck basketball squad won its way into the NAIA tournament the hard way. After a third-place finish in the conference, Coach Stix Morley guided the underdogs to a regional tournament title and their very first berth into the 32-team national tournament. Once they were on the big stage, the Leathernecks caught fire and defeated Morris Harvey, Southeastern Oklahoma, Southeastern Louisiana and two-time defending champion Southwest Missouri State, to appear in the national championship game against St. Benedict's.The team returned from Kansas City to show off the nation's second-place trophy to a crowd of more than 2,000 fans that included Athletic Director Rock Hanson, Western Illinois President Dr. Frank Beu and Macomb Mayor Ray Houtchon, who presented Coach Morley and his team with a key to the city.Gene Talbot, Marshall Stoner and Lupe Rios led the Leathernecks statistically throughout the season. Talbot led the squad in scoring, averaging 16.7 points per outing, free-throw percentage (89-117, .771) and field goal percentage (132-188, .416). Stoner averaged 14.1 points per game while Rios averaged 12.9. The Leathernecks as a whole averaged 74.9 points per game en route to the most successful season in school history and a 19-9 record.

  • Chambers, Jim
  • Dufelmeier, Art
  • Hutt, Frank
  • Johnson, Tom
  • Kelso, Richard
  • Lumpp, Raymond
  • Morley, Leroy "Stix"
  • Reynolds, Joe
  • Rios, Lupe
  • Rogers, Bill
  • Stoner, Marshall
  • Talbot, Don
  • Talbot, Gene
  • Thornton, Jim
  • Wright, Ike