“The key is to be consistent.”

“We take it one game at a time. We don’t look ahead.”

Cliché sayings, it may seem, but they are words and strategies John Teasley not only says but practices. They have proven to be keys to success.

Teasley is head coach of the Stillman College men’s basketball team and a true believer and practitioner of those keys. The success is in the numbers. Stillman basketball ranks No. 3 among the most-winning Historically Black Colleges and Universities men’s teams of the last decade.

The Tigers won 210 games between the 2010-11 season through 2019-20. Only three HBCU teams have won more than 200 games in that 10-year span. Xavier University of Louisiana has 221 victories during that span. Talladega College is next at 217, followed by Stillman.

“It’s one of those things that you don’t really think about until someone nominates you or takes notice of it,” said Teasley who is entering his fourth season as Stillman’s head coach after serving as an assistant from 2014 to 2017. “It’s just an honor really. I’ve always wanted to be a coach my whole life, and it’s just an honor to be a part of a program that is being recognized like it is. It’s a result of a lot of hard work from a lot of people.”

In basketball, at any level, reaching the 20-win mark in a season is considered a coup. Stillman has won 20 or more games in the last five seasons, starting in 2015-16 when it went 22-5. It followed the next season with another 22-5 year. Teasley’s era as head coach began with a 27-5 record in 2017-18, a feat accomplished despite only returning three players. He followed with a 27-6 season in 2018-19 and then 20-10 last season.

“The key is just focusing on one game at a time. It’s a lot of late nights scouting and looking at film, but that’s been our strategy every year, just focusing on one game at a time,” Teasley said. “You don’t want to get caught looking ahead.”

The decade began with a 24-8 record in 2010-11, followed by 17-11, 18-10, 16-13 and, in 2014-15, 17-10.

Coaches during that span included Michael Grant (2008-14), Donte Jackson (2015-2017) and Teasley.

“To win a lot of games that many years in a row, the key is to be consistent. All the wins go to the players. Our players work hard, believe and buy in to what we are doing. That’s what wins all the games,” Teasley said. “Stillman is just a special place. I’m just fortunate to be one of the coaches that’s been able to coach here.”

Last season Stillman made it to the Southern States Athletic Conference quarterfinal and was selected to the NAIA Tournament field for the third consecutive season. Nationals were canceled due to COVID-19.

Practice for 2020-21 began in early September.

Becky HopfThe Tuscaloosa News

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Coach Nikki Zeigler

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