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Mike Strong

2009 Hall of Fame Inductee

Class: 1964

Strong's Keystone experience was two-pronged, first as a student-athlete and then as a coach. He played two years for the varsity soccer and basketball teams, serving as a team captain for the basketball team in his second season.

Perhaps his most notable performance in a Keystone uniform came in 1963 when he was a goal keeper for the Giants' soccer team. In a match against the nation's top ranked team, Trenton Junior College, Mike stopped 22 shots in a hard fought 2-0 loss.

Following graduation he continued his academic and athletic careers at Concord (WV) College before continuing on to West Chester University for his master's degree. Mike returned to Keystone to begin his coaching career, serving as the head coach of the soccer and basketball teams from 1970-72.

In 1973 Mike joined the coaching ranks at the University of Scranton, serving as an assistant men's basketball coach under Bob Bessoir, a position he held when the Royals captured the 1976 NCAA Division III national championship.

In 1979 he took the reigns of the Scranton women's basketball program and began his mark on history. In his first year he led his team to a mark of 26-7 and a Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) championship and a semi-final berth in the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) the precursor for the NCAA tournament. Five years later he would lead Scranton to a record of 31-1 and its first ever NCAA title in women's basketball.

In 29 seasons as Scranton's head coach he has compiled a record of 713-146 (.830), becoming one of only two coaches in NCAA Division III women's basketball history with more than 700 career victories. Strong's teams have qualified for the NCAA tournament 23 times, reaching the Final Four on eight occasions. They have racked up 16 MAC championships and two Landmark titles, while compiling 30 or more wins four times and 20 or more wins 24 times. He has coached two NCAA Player of the Year selections and 18 All-Americans. An eight time MAC/Freedom Conference Coach of the Year and four time WBCA District 4 Coach of the Year, he was named as the Kodak NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 1985. 

He also enjoyed success on a different type of court at Scranton, compiling a record of 91-46 while coaching the men's tennis team and mark of 53-13 while holding the same position for the women's net team.

Mike, who was the 1987 Keystonian of the Year award winner, is also a past inductee in the Northeastern Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame and University of Scranton Sports Wall of Fame. 

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