Coach Sykes has won 360 games at Morningside and recently he was awarded the Don Meyer Award as the NAIA Coach of the Year. It might seem bittersweet timing due to the National Tournament cancellation, especially after Morningside won big (44 point margin) in the opening round, however it is a well deserved honor for a man who has coached in more than 30 matchups with Briar Cliff. Here is a portion of River City Rivals dealing with Sykes’ thoughts on the series between the two Sioux City schools.
Is there a game or a moment that Sykes recalls most in the Briar Cliff-Morningside series? “The 2007–08 season, we started out 23-0, had seven seniors, and played a lot of guys. I don’t know if our starting five was that much better than everyone else, but we wore teams down. For five or six weeks we were ranked number one. January 12, 2008. We’re up at half, 39-33. BCU comes back to take the lead. We needed a three; we’re getting beat. Matt Johnson gets the ball on the corner, goes up for a three, but it’s knocked out of his hands, but he gets it back, and he’s going backward, into the student section, and he shoots it up and makes the three at the buzzer to go into OT. We beat them in the OT [93-81], but I’ll remember that shot for the rest of my life. Throw the records out the window, it’s just that kind of series! The key in this series, game after game, is experience and more experience. If you have young guys, you can tell them, but until they experience the crowds and intensity, ‘do they really know?’”