Glenn Theulen arrived at Kecne Stale College in 1968. Sixteen years and 210 victories later he would end his Owl coaching career with three 20-win seasons, four New England State College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championships, and three NAIA Tournament appearances - and as the winningest men's basketball coach in KSC history.
Impressive as those numbers are, Theulen is just as proud, if not more so, of his other accomplishment during his tenure. "Sure it was great to win basketball games, but I'm also proud of the fact that just about all my players graduated and went on to be productive members of society."
The fact that Glenn Theulen preached success off and on the basketball court should come as no surprise to those who knew of his background. An All-State high school basketball and football player from Perry, Iowa, Theulen twice enlisted in the armed services before returning to Buena Vista College, where at the age of 36 he became the oldest player to participate in the NAIA Tournament.
After a successful high school coaching career in the Midwest, Theulen moved on to work as an assistant at Indiana University before answering the call to revive the basketball program at Keene State.
"Except for a few returning letterman, there wasn't much to work with when I got there," Theulen recalls. Not discouraged, Theulen hit the recruiting trail - a trail that would be very productive for Keene State. The list of Theulen's recruits reads like a Who's Who of Owl standouts, "I don't want to start mentioning names, because I might leave somebody out," he said.
It didn't take long for Theulen to work his magic. Three years later his Owls would post a program-best 21-8 record before making their first of three NAIA Tournament appearances in the 1972-73 season. "Chemistry was important," said Theulen, who at one time also served as athletic director and baseball and golf coach as well as a physical education instructor. "I tried to bring in players who had a winning attitude."
While Theulen coached his share of great athletes at Keene State, two in particular stand out: his sons, Mike and Matt Theulen. "It was the greatest joy of my career to coach them," he said.
Not afraid to play anyone, Theulen took on all comers on the court from the top teams in New England to national NAlA powers, And the fans at Keene State and in the Keene community responded. Theulen's Owls delighted the sold-out crowds at Spaulding Gym with their athleticism and run-and-gun style of play. "Everyone came out for the games," said Theulen.
"I didn't have to do anything at times," he would say modestly. "They loved playing the game," But those who were around him during those 16 years knew better. In his own way Theulen helped put Keene State on the basketball map.
Looking forward to his induction into the KSC Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame, Theulen commented, "I wish I could line up all my players and shake their hands." When you consider his genuine concern for his players, in and out of the gym, it's easy to understand why Theulen is a member of the Iowa Hall of Fame as well.