Men's basketball at Bethany College is steeped in tradition, with conference championships in almost every decade since its official beginning in 1907. History is a testimony to the commitment of Bethany College to fielding a championship caliber program.
The Swedes have been to the NAIA Division II National Tournament in 1999, 2000 and 2003.
The Swedes etched themselves permanently in the minds of many NAIA basketball purists in 2003 by compiling a 4-1 record in national play against the best in the country. The 2003 team captured the hearts of everyone by getting to the final four, and then continuing on to win the National Semi-Finals to earn the right to play in the National Championship game - finishing then as the NAIA Division II Runner-up.
The NAIA National Champion Runner-up team with Coach "Tex" Winter after a
practice at the Los Angeles Lakers practice facility where the Swedes practic-
ed while on a road trip to Southern California.
Coach Oleen proudly describes the Bethany Basketball team as "blue collar," a team that takes to heart "good old fashioned values."
During the 2006-2007 season, head coach Clair Oleen captured his 400th win as a Bethany College basketball Coach. The win was the championship game of the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans tournament held at California Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The Swedes won the tournament, defeating Milwaukee School of Engineering and Willamette University, both NCAA Div. III schools.
"Congratulations to Coach Clair Oleen, his staff and the Bethany College Basketball Team on their tremendous season as they made it all the way to the NAIA National hampionship game. The team practiced here at our Los Angeles Laker practice facility on a road trip to the Los Angeles area and I was impressed with their fundamental practice habits of the triangle offense. These young men did a tremendous job of helping me produce four teaching tapes on the triangle offense in Hahn Gymnasium on the Bethany College campus. Coach Oleen and I get together often to discuss the triangle offense to keep ahead of defensive adjustments teams try to make. I am very proud of Bethany's outstanding execution of the triangle offense and the success that they have had with it."
Fred "Tex" Winter, Assistant Coach, Los Angeles Lakers