Sundance - Merwin

Sundance Wicks came to Missouri Western and challenged his players to "Bring the juice". Many believe he brought swagger back to Griffon basketball. 

With Missouri Western's men’s basketball team making it to the MIAA Championship Tournament and finishing strong with an 18-14 record this 2019-20 season, senior players and others will be missed, including head coach Sundance Wicks, as well. 

Sundance Wicks coming from Wyoming to the state of Missouri to coach the Missouri Western State men’s basketball team was truly a dream and one of the best things to happen to Wicks in his overall career of coaching. Wick's began coaching at Missouri Western in 2018. Before coming to Missouri Western, Wicks started his profession at Northeastern University located in Boston, Massachusetts, as the associate coach during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. 

After being the associate coach at Northeastern, Wicks received and took the opportunity to be the new head coach at Missouri Western for the 2018-19 season. After taking this position, Wicks created and gained a lot of relationships from his own players and own staff members of the basketball organization. 

Through the 2018-19 season, Wicks has made decisions for the team that has made a huge difference to where the program is today. In the middle of the 2018-19 season — November 19th — Wicks signed two students-athletes who are now playing for the team: freshman Reese Glover and freshman Alex John. Wicks signed both freshmans because he saw that both of them would be able to make such an impact on the organization in the year of 2019 and many years to come. 

Throughout the 2018-19 season, Wicks and the Griffons ended off the season with a 12-18 record. Though the season was over and the record wasn’t what the team wanted, Wicks wanted to continue his journey at Missouri Western.

The year of 2019, Wicks came back with the addition of previous and new players for the team and Wicks to have a brand new start and mindset for this season. 

In the beginning of the season, the Wicks and the team had a rough start to the season, but as the home and away games and countless practice days continued on and on, both the team and Wicks were able to catch on to each other’s and their own personal mistakes. 

The season took multiple turns game after game to players hanging heads to ringing the bell at home or chanting their fight song away from home, Wicks and his team made it to the tournament.

The Griffons made it to the second game of the MIAA Championship but lost against their rival, Northwest Missouri State, ending their season with an 18-14 final record. 

After the end of the season, senior student-athletes such as Tyus Millhollin, Beau Baker and Jason Jones have said their farewells, but Sundance Wicks was also one of the fellow Griffons to address his goodbye as well. 

On March 25, 2020, Sundance Wicks announced his resignation to join the men’s basketball coaching staff at the University of Wyoming, 

From his decision Wicks has felt the reality and emotion the moment he announced his departure. 

“This is bittersweet because you’re leaving a place you love dearly for a replace that you were raised and call home,” Wicks said. “It’s honestly the hardest decision I’ve ever been faced with my entire life when it comes to my profession.” 

Though Wicks is excited to go back to his home state, he will miss the team and family that he built the most.

“The hardest part is knowing that I’m not going to be able to work with those guys again,” Wicks said. “The guys that shared and suffered and built culture together.” 

Missing his players and family that he has built over the two years of coaching at Missouri Western, he sees that the players and the community that surrounds the university truly make the program and has done a phenomenal job. 

From the decision that Wicks has made, he’s positive that Missouri Western has made and will make the right decision.

“The type of people around here are going to make sure this doesn’t fail,” Wicks said. “The players and the program are going to make sure that this culture thrives and doesn’t fail, it’s an one upper trajectory.” 

The decision for Wicks to go and coach at his home state was made, but it wasn’t an easy decision for him. 

Though he is sad to leave Missouri Western, he is excited for what the future holds for his team as well. 

“For us moving forward as a program it’s exciting,” Wicks said. “It’s exciting because of what we built and where we’re going and the trajectory of it with the players that played the majority of the minutes and 75% of your scoring want to be with each other and win for each other and for this community. They don’t need to win for Sundance Wicks.” 

After the decision of Wicks transitioning to Wyoming, Missouri Western has made the decision to make assistant coach Will Martin the head coach for the men’s basketball program. 

From the decision Missouri Western has made in regards to Martin, Wicks is pleased with the decision himself. 

“Will’s more than capable of doing this, he’s been around high-level guys, Wicks said. “He knows what he’s doing and he knows the guys that he’s around. He’s no stranger to this position.” 

The decision for Wicks wasn’t easy, but from it he sees how much Missouri Western as a whole cares for their programs and university. 

“It’s the most unique profession in the world that we get the chance to interact with so many people on a daily basis that care at such a high level,” Wicks said. “Missouri Western cares, this community cares.” 

At the end of the day for Wicks, Missouri Western will always be special to him and dear to his heart from those that he’s interacted with and believed in him to his team that has stayed with him through thick and thin and have gained and learned so much from him from day one. Sundance Wicks will forever and alway be a Griffon. 

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