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2003 basketball

The 2003 boys basketball team raises the state title trophy after defeating Chester in overtime at the PIAA Class AAAA Boys’ Basketball Championship on March 22, 2003. CENTRE DAILY TIMES FILE PHOTO 

 

When a group of boys started playing basketball together in first grade, none of them thought they'd still be close friends twenty-some years later, keeping in touch by Facebook and texting, bound tight with the common thread of a state basketball championship. 

 

 

By the time the boy's basketball team won the state championship in 2003, their bonds had been forged by adversity, hard work and perseverance … and it taught them all something they've carried into adulthood. We caught up with Will Morse, Matt Shetler and Coach Drew Frank to talk to them about their championship, life after high school and value of good, hard work. Read on!

Give us a little of background about your championship team

WM: When Matt Shetler, Drew Frank and I got together to talk about this, it made us realize how special the group of guys were - players, coaches and other support personnel. A lot of us had been together since elementary school, and maintain our relationship to this day. We were a team built out of adversity. When the year started, Matt Shetler lost his dad, and that was something that really affected all of us. We had a brutal schedule, and felt a lot of pressure knowing that we could potentially win the title. Those moments really defined us and made us closer. You become a family when you go through stuff like that. 

 
Does the team still keep in touch today? 

WM: We are spread all over the globe, but we keep in pretty good touch through texting and phone calls, and Facebook. 

Where has life taken you since 2003? 

WM: I (Will Morse) coach for C3 Sports now. Once you play at such a high level, playing becomes to frustrating, so now I coach elite teams at C3 Sports. It's very personally rewarding. The other guys have been successful in a lot of different career paths. Coach Drew Frank is enjoying retirement. Matt Shetler manages the Merrill Lynch Office here in State College, Jon Stupar is a successful salesperson, Jordan Norwood holds a Super Bowl record(!) and Gabe Norwood lives in the Philippines and is the longest tenured player ever for their national team. 

What does induction into the Maroon and Gray Society mean to your team? 

WM: It's great to be honored by your hometown and recognized for what we did as a team.  At the end of the day, it truly was a team effort. Like most teams, a lot of the guys who didn’t see the floor didn’t get the recognition they deserved.  We can also relive the championship for ourselves, too. 

What was your favorite part about being on the basketball team?

WM: That whole year had so many drastic highs and lows. We won againstWilliamsport for the first time in 33 games against them, then a few games later, we got beaten badly by Harrisburg and lost by 35 points. It was just like that the whole season. Add in the personal trials we were working through, like Matt's Dad dying, and it was a very intense year. Words can't describe how winning something like that championship brings a team together. I think that's one of the reasons I think it's so important for kids to be involved with sports, and have the opportunity to win like we did. 

Do you have a favorite memory or funny story about the team? 

WM: If you know John Stupar, you'll know he's a goofball. He trashed me (Will) in the newspaper after he'd made a tip in and said he'd been cleaning up my trash for years. Then, the morning of the state championship, he was taking bets on how many pancakes he could eat before he played. 

Looking back over your life and career, if you could give high school students one piece of advice as they prepare for adulthood, what would it be? 

WM: If that year taught us anything, it taught us that life's not fair and success doesn't come easy. A lot of things happened that year that just weren't fair. You need to remember that things aren't going to be handed to you, and even when you work hard, sometimes things don't work out the way you want them to, and that's just life. 

The 2003 Boys Basketball Team is a 2019 Maroon & Gray Honoree. The Annual Maroon & Gray Society Banquet will be held on May 18, 2019. Individual tickets are $80. To register, click here.