Perhaps no one is more synonymous with Toledo basketball than Stan Joplin. In fact, he has spent almost half of his life associated with the Midnight Blue and Gold.
As a former star player for the Rockets during the late 1970s, Joplin started for teams that posted a combined record of 82-27.
Later, Joplin returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach from 1984-90.
Now, Joplin has brought UT over a decade of success as the Rockets’ leader on the bench. The highlight of his tenure came last year when he was named Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year after winning the school’s first league regular-season title in 27 years.
Joplin has posted a 192-136 (.585) win-loss mark at UT during his 11-year tenure and is in second place on the Rockets’ all-time win list. He enters the 2007-08 campaign as one of the deans of MAC basketball coaches and is tied with Miami’s Charlie Coles for the longest current tenure on a MAC sideline.
Further evidence of Joplin’s success:
• Three 20-win seasons: a 22-11 mark in 2000-01, a 20-11 ledger in 2003-04 and a 20-11 record in 2005-06 for Toledo’s only 20-win seasons since 1980-81.
• Four MAC West Division titles (1998-99, 1999-2000, 2004-05 and 2006-07) and a second-place finish or better in the West Division in eight of the last nine seasons.
• Four appearances in the National Invitational Tournament in 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2007, marking UT’s only postseason appearances since 1981.
• A ninth-place ranking in MAC history with a .585 winning percentage among coaches with five or more seasons in the league.
• 10 or more Mid-American Conference victories in nine of the last 10 years.
• Wins over nationally ranked teams Michigan State and Cincinnati, as well as in-state schools Ohio State and Xavier.
• A school-record 14-game MAC winning streak on two occasions (Jan. 26, 2000 - Jan. 13, 2001 and Feb. 4, 2006 - Jan. 31, 2007).
• Five straight winning seasons from 1997-2002, the longest winning stretch for UT since the program enjoyed 26 consecutive winning campaigns from 1959-1985.
ELEVATING THE PROGRAM
When Joplin returned to his roots and became UT’s 16th head coach in 1996, his goal was to return the program to the era when the Rockets routinely advanced to post-season tournaments. Prior to Joplin’s arrival, the Rockets’ last postseason appearance was in 1981 with UT posting a 153-164 (.483) ledger in the 10 years before his return.
The Rockets reached Joplin’s goal of postseason play in just his third season with an appearance in the 1999 NIT. Included in that memorable season were 10 straight wins to open the season, highlighted by consecutive victories over Ohio State, Xavier and Dayton.
Toledo also put together an 11-game win streak in the latter stages of the 1999-2000 season. Unfortunately, the Rockets saw their season come to a close with a heartbreaking 64-63 overtime defeat to Ball State in the MAC quarterfinals.
UT ventured back into postseason play in 2000-01 with another NIT appearance. The Rockets advanced to the second round before bowing out at Alabama. Toledo also achieved some national notoriety with Joplin’s first victory over a nationally ranked opponent, a 69-66 win against No. 18 Cincinnati at the Rock-N-Roll Shootout.
A big key to the Rockets’ success in this three-year run was the play of Greg Stempin, one of four players in the program’s history to earn first-team All-MAC honors on three occasions.
RETURNING TO THE NATIONAL STAGEThe Rockets ventured back to the National Invitation Tournament in 2004 with a youthful squad that posted a 20-11 mark against a rigorous schedule. UT played six of its first seven contests on the road and its non-conference schedule included the likes of NCAA Tournament teams DePaul, Louisville and Nevada. Despite losing to Marquette in the NIT First Round, the Rockets made their first appearance on ESPN under Joplin.
Junior guard Keith Triplett led the way for the Rockets en route to earning first-team All-MAC honors and finishing second in the conference in scoring with 19.6 ppg. Triplett’s backcourt mates, 2002-03 MAC Freshman of the Year Sammy Villegas and 2003-04 MAC Freshman of the Year Justin Ingram, played critical roles for UT that season, as well.
CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERIENCEThe last two years Joplin has guided the Rockets to memorable seasons that have featured a trip to the MAC Championship game as well as a regular-season league title.
In 2005-06, UT reeled off a 10-game win streak vs. conference opponents before falling in the title game by a 71-66 margin to Kent State, leaving the Midnight Blue & Gold one game short of participating in March Madness.
Last year, the Rockets tied a pair of school records for most wins (seven) to start a conference season and most league victories (14) en route to winning the school’s first league crown in 27 years. Unfortunately, UT was upset by eventual champion Miami, 58-53, in the semifinals. The Rockets were able to enjoy a taste of postseason play though with their fourth NIT appearance in the last nine seasons.
BIG WINSJoplin’s career as the Rocket head coach has been marked by several wins over top programs such as Michigan State, Cincinnati, Auburn, Ohio State, Xavier and DePaul.
Toledo’s 81-76 win over the No. 14 Spartans on Dec. 30, 2002 at the Breslin Center snapped MSU’s 36-game homecourt win streak vs. non-conference opponents. The Rockets were able to open up a 13-point lead in the second half before holding on for the win to give Joplin a victory against his former employer.
UT’s 69-66 win over No. 18 Cincinnati at the Rock-N-Roll Shootout at Cleveland’s Gund Arena on Dec. 30, 2000 marked Joplin’s first win over a nationally ranked team.
The Rockets’ first big win under Joplin came in the 1998-99 season with a 64-63 triumph over eventual NCAA Final Four squad Ohio State on Dec. 5. UT followed up the big win over the Buckeyes with a 74-67 victory over Xavier four days later on Dec. 9.
Toledo also opened the 2000-01 season with a bang by capturing the Energia Systems Tournament in Kansas City, MO after posting impressive wins over Auburn (95-90 in 2OT) in the semifinals and Creighton (61-57) in the championship game.
Another big win for the Rockets came in the 2003-04 campaign with a 93-81 triumph over Conference USA member DePaul. Keith Triplett put together one of the most amazing performances in school history by scoring all 29 of his points in the second half to lead UT back from a three-point halftime deficit.
LIFE ON THE SPARTAN BENCH
As an assistant coach at Michigan State for six years (1990-96), Joplin was a part of four NCAA Tournament teams and a pair of NIT squads. He served his first five seasons under the legendary Jud Heathcote before working with Tom Izzo in his final year. In his six years on the MSU bench, Joplin helped the Spartans post a 113-65 (.635) mark.
Joplin’s first two campaigns with the Spartans saw Michigan State earn No. 5 seeds in the NCAA Tournament before bowing out in the second round. In 1991, MSU posted a 60-58 win over UW-Green Bay in the West Regional before dropping an 85-84 (2OT) heartbreaker to Utah in the second round. The 1992 tourney saw the Spartans post a 61-54 triumph over Southwest Missouri State in the Midwest Regional before falling to Cincinnati by a 72-65 margin.
MSU returned to the NCAAs in 1994 with an 84-73 victory over Seton Hall as the No. 7 seed in the Southeast Regional. The Spartans then exited following an 85-74 setback to Duke in the second round. In Heathcote’s final season, MSU posted a 22-6 mark to finish second in the Big Ten and enter the NCAAs as a No. 3 seed. However, the Spartans were upset by Weber State, 79-72, in the first round of the Southeast Regional.
Some MSU players Joplin coached included future NBA players Jamie Feick, Anthony Miller, Mike Peplowski, Morris Peterson, Shawn Respert, Steve Smith and Eric Snow. He also helped recruit future NBA player Mateen Cleaves.
A HALL OF FAME CAREER AS A PLAYER
If you had to take snapshot from Joplin’s playing career and make it a postcard it would be his buzzer-beating shot that gave UT a 74-72 upset victory over Iowa in the 1979 NCAA Tournament and propelled the Rockets to the Sweet 16.
During his playing career (1975-79), Joplin helped UT post an 82-27 win-loss mark and co-captained the 1978-79 team that won the MAC championship. A 1995 inductee into the the Varsity ‘T’ Athletic Hall of Fame, he was a starter on the 1976-77 squad that defeated defending national champion Indiana, 59-57, in the inaugural game in Centennial (now Savage) Hall.
Joplin earned second-team All-MAC honors twice (1977-78, 1978-79) and was named first-team Academic All-MAC in 1977. Joplin’s best season came as a junior when he averaged 10.3 ppg and 6.5 apg. He dished out 12 assists in a game twice in his career and ranks among UT career leaders in assists (428).
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Following a standout collegiate career, Joplin tried his hand at the professional game but was released toward the end of training camp by then-Detroit Pistons coach and nationally renowned broadcaster Dick Vitale.
Joplin began his collegiate coaching career at Kent State for two seasons (1982-84) as an assistant to former Rocket assistant coach Jim McDonald. He then came back to Toledo for six seasons (1984-90) as an assistant with three years under Nichols and three with Jay Eck.
His tenure with the Golden Flashes was highlighted by a trip to the MAC Championship Game in 1984, only to see KSU drop a 42-40 decision to the Ron Harper-led Miami Redskins. At UT, he helped the Rockets to a third-place MAC finish in the 1988-89 campaign.
OFF THE COURT
A devoted family man, Joplin is active in the Toledo community and spends most of his available free time with his wife, LaDonna, and sons, Aaron and Shaun. Aaron works as a student assistant with the basketball program and is a junior at UT, while Shaun is a junior at Sylvania Southview High School where he competes for the varsity basketball, football and track teams.
Growing up in Milan, MI, Joplin was a two-time all-state selection in high school. He holds bachelor of education (1979) and master of education (1989) degrees from UT.
- Full Name: Stanley Eugene Joplin
- Age: 50
- Born: 6/17/57 in Milan, Michigan
- Education: B. Ed. in elementary education, University of Toledo, '79
- M. Ed. in supervision and administration, University of Toledo, '89
- Coaching Experience:
- 1996- Head basketball coach, University of Toledo
- 1990-96 Assistant basketball coach, Michigan State University
- 1984-90 Assistant basketball coach, University of Toledo
- 1982-84 Assistant basketball coach, Kent State University
- Playing Experience:
- 1976-79 University of Toledo, basketball
- Family: Wife, Ladonna; sons, Aaron (20) and Shaun (16)
Joplin's Coaching Record
As a Head Coach
|1996-97||Head Coach||Toledo||13-14||6-12||MAC - Tie-8th|
|1997-98||Head Coach||Toledo||15-12||10-8||MAC - 4th (West)|
|1998-99||Head Coach||Toledo||19-9||11-7||MAC - 1st (West)|
|1999-00||Head Coach||Toledo||18-13||11-7||MAC - T-1st (West)|
|2000-01||Head Coach||Toledo||22-11||12-6||MAC - 2nd (West)|
|2001-02||Head Coach||Toledo||16-14||11-7||MAC - 2nd (West)|
|2002-03||Head Coach||Toledo||14-15||7-11||MAC - 7th (West)|
|2003-04||Head Coach||Toledo||20-11||12-6||MAC - 2nd (West)|
|2004-05||Head Coach||Toledo||16-13||11-7||MAC - T-1st (West)|
|2005-06||Head Coach||Toledo||20-11||10-8||MAC - T-2nd (West)|
|2006-07||Head Coach||Toledo||19-13||14-2||MAC - 1st (Overall); NIT First Round|
|Totals||11 years||at Toledo||192-136 (.585)||115-81 (.587)||-|
As an Assistant Coach
|1982-83||Asst. Coach||Kent St.||15-13||9-9||MAC - 6th place|
|1983-84||Asst. Coach||Kent St.||15-14||8-10||MAC - T-6th place|
|Totals||2 years||at Kent St.||30-27 (.526)||17-19 (.472)|
|1984-85||Asst. Coach||Toledo||16-12||11-7||MAC - T-3rd place|
|1985-86||Asst. Coach||Toledo||12-17||8-10||MAC - 5th place|
|1986-87||Asst. Coach||Toledo||11-17||4-12||MAC - 8th place|
|1987-88||Asst. Coach||Toledo||15-12||5-11||MAC - 9th place|
|1988-89||Asst. Coach||Toledo||18-13||11-5||MAC - 3rd place|
|1989-90||Asst. Coach||Toledo||12-16||7-9||MAC - 6th place|
|Totals||6 years||at Toledo||84-87 (.491)||46-54 (.460)|
|1990-91||Asst. Coach||Michigan St.||19-11||11-7||Big Ten - T-3rd place; NCAA 2nd round|
|1991-92||Asst. Coach||Michigan St.||22-8||11-7||Big Ten - T-3rd place; NCAA 2nd round|
|1992-93||Asst. Coach||Michigan St.||15-13||7-11||Big Ten - T-8th place; NIT 1st round|
|1993-94||Asst. Coach||Michigan St.||20-12||10-8||Big Ten - T-4th place; NCAA 2nd round|
|1994-95||Asst. Coach||Michigan St.||22-6||14-4||Big Ten - 2nd place; NCAA 1st round|
|1995-96||Asst. Coach||Michigan St.||15-15||9-9||Big Ten - 7th place; NIT 2nd round|
|Totals||6 years||at MSU||113-65 (.635)||62-46 (.574)|
As a Player
|1975-76||Player||Toledo||18-7||13-3||MAC - 3rd place|
|1976-77||Player||Toledo||21-6||12-4||MAC - 3rd place|
|1977-78||Player||Toledo||21-6||11-5||MAC - T-2nd place|
|1978-79||Player||Toledo||22-8||13-3||MAC co-champ; NCAA Sweet 16|
|Totals||4 years||at Toledo||82-27 (.752)||49-15 (.766)|