PEORIA — The 50th 300 for Tony Wysinger took place on the basketball court instead of on the bowling lanes.
The head coach of the Illinois Central College men's basketball team won his 300th career game when the Cougars beat the Robert Morris JV, 96-65, on Jan. 13.
Wysinger is no stranger to the number 300, having bowled 49 career perfect games over the years as one of the city's top bowlers.
But the 300th coaching victory was something special.
"With bowling, you've got to have the equipment and you, and have longevity," Wysinger said. "With basketball, it's having good players and good coaches, and motivating those players.
"I've been fortunate to have good players and good coaches, and guys who have listened to what we're trying to get done. Doing it over a long period of time is what I'm proud of."
Wysinger is in his 19th season at ICC, and said that at the beginning of his tenure, he wasn't sure he would be at the school for that long.
"I've had probably four different D-Is that have asked me about assistant coaching," he said. "I think early on, it was a job, and if an opportunity came along, I said I would look at it and see.
"But the more I looked at it, I like being in charge. So I said that I was going to stay and do whatever I can here."
Wysinger played his high school ball for coach Chuck Buescher at Peoria High, leading the Lions to a runner-up finish in the Class AA state tournament in 1983.
During a stellar basketball career at Illinois under coach Lou Henson, Wysinger was named to the five-man little All-American team as a senior.
At ICC, Wysinger has led the Cougars to the Mid-West Athletic Conference title three times in the past nine years. The team also has set school records for wins in a season (29), consecutive wins in a season (15) and four straight 20-win seasons under his coaching.
For his efforts, Wysinger has been named Conference Coach of the Year three times, Region Coach of the Year twice, and District 8 Coach of the year.
He said he knew he was five wins away from reaching the milestone when the season started. But things didn't start off so well for the Cougars.
"Three kids got kicked off the team, and we had four post kids that were hurt," Wysinger said. "So we were down to eight guys for the first eight games.
"So I'm going, 'I don't know if I'm going to get there!' But we've been healthy our last three games, and we've won three in a row."
Wysinger had to take most of the 2016-17 bowling season off because of health issues involving his kidneys and high blood pressure. That also caused him to miss some games on the sidelines last season.
But his health is fine now, and he is back to coaching and bowling.
The Cougars played again on Thursday night, when they hosted the St. Ambrose junior varsity.
That's when Wysinger continued trying to move up in the all-time NJCAA coaching wins list. He also is continuing trying to roll his 50th 300 game on the bowling lanes.
Johnny Campos can be reached at 686-3214 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.