Golden Grizzlies Website
In just 16 seasons of competing in NCAA Division I, the Golden Grizzlies produced two National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft Picks (Kay Felder, 2016 and Keith Benson, 2011), consecutive Horizon League McCafferty Trophy titles, given to the league’s all-sports champion, and back-to-back top-25 finishes in the D-IAAA Learfield Directors Cup standings over the last two seasons.
Oakland University dominated the Division II ranks (1963-97), producing 10 NCAA national championships and 159 individual national champions. The men’s swimming and diving program has won 38 consecutive league titles and the women’s team captured the last 22 league championships. Oakland made a decision in 1997 to transition to Division I and change its nickname from the Pioneers to the Golden Grizzlies, joining the Mid-Continent Conference (known as The Summit League).
The Golden Grizzlies dominated The Summit League with three trips to the men’s basketball NCAA tournament, winning tournament titles in 2005, ‘10 and ‘11. Oakland went a league-best 34-2 in Summit League play over the 2010 and ‘11 seasons, the best conference record in the country. The Golden Grizzlies have won 71 percent of their league games over the last decade, best of any Michigan Division I school (Michigan State is No. 2 at 68 percent).
Longtime swim coach Pete Hovland was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame (MSHOF) in 2016 after his many accomplishments. Hovland is also in Oakland Athletics Hollie L. Lepley Hall of Honor, along with men’s basketball coach Greg Kampe. The two have coached almost 70 years combined and amassed over 50 league championships.
The women’s basketball program experienced early success in D-I, making its only NCAA tournament appearance in 2002. Several players have gone on to professional careers overseas, including former greats Sarah Judd, Katie Wolfe, Melissa Jeltema and 2016 graduate Elena Popkey.
Men’s Soccer continues to produce title after title, capturing the last two Horizon League championships and making seven NCAA tournament appearances in 15 years of D-I competition. The Golden Grizzlies have a pair of postseason wins, over Michigan State, 2-1, in 2007 and Kentucky, 2-0, in 2014. Steve Clark (2005-08) was the starting goalkeeper in the upset win over the Spartans and became the first-ever Golden Grizzly to sign a Major League Soccer (MLS) contract and currently starts for the Columbus Crew, leading them to the MLS Cup title game in 2015.
Brian Stuard (2001-05) became the most successful professional athlete for the Golden Grizzlies. The 2005 Mid-Con men’s golfer of the year just completed his fifth season on the Professional Golfer Association (PGA) Tour, earning his first-ever win at the New Orleans Zurich Classic. Stuard has won close to $6 million on the PGA Tour and finished 60th in the 2015-16 FedEx Cup standings.
Not to be outdone, the women’s soccer program has eight NCAA tournament appearances in 15 seasons of D-I competition. The Golden Grizzlies captured their first-ever Horizon League title in 2015, before falling to Notre Dame in the first round. Oakland upset No. 16 Ohio State in the NCAA tournament back in 2012 to advance to the NCAA Second Round for the first time in program history. Anita Rapp (1998-2002) led Oakland to consecutive NCAA berths in 2001 and ‘02, and won a Gold medal with Norway in 2000.