Nothing has gone right for the 3-20 squad, a team just two seasons removed from a 20-7 finish.
Last year, Andrist’s Blue Devils slipped below .500 (12-14), but had some memorable moments including a win over eventual national champions Wisconsin-Whitewater.
It wasn’t the season he had hoped for, but nothing could have prepared the long-time head coach for a season that will probably go down as the worst finish in his career. This is a coach who has won three national college titles at Mount Senario College, two international basketball championships and nine national tournament appearances. He’s in his 40th year of coaching overall and 15th as head coach for UW-Stout. He’s never seen a season like this.
“It’s been a tough season,” Andrist said. “We’ve lost a lot of close games. We have eight freshmen in our top 10. In our league, you don’t win with freshmen unless they were high school All-Americans. We’ve done great. We’ve been pretty much in every game. Quite a few games have come down to a final possession. I’m really proud of our guys.”
Andrist isn’t going to make excuses, but the injury factor has been a tough one for the Blue Devils to overcome.
“One starting point guard we lost early in the season,” Andrist said. “The other two we lost halfway through. All were juniors. For the others, one broke his wrist in a game and another blew out his ankle. It’s been one of those seasons. Last year, we had eight seniors play for us and had a pretty good year. We knew it would be tough sledding. We had to have everything go right.”
Stout has lost both Reggie and Hank Kujak to injuries, plus Cory Speer and a player currently not on the roster.
Andrist has 2015-16 to look forward to, a squad with infinitely more experience and hopefully, fewer injuries. Their luck has to turn around eventually.