(7-15-17) Ron Niekamp, just one of many in his family who would coach high school basketball, in the 1960’s was an All State player at St. Henry, later he would move on to Miami University to play for the Redskins. Niekamp would go on to coach high school and college basketball and win at every stop. Niekamp is one of only two basketball alumni coaches who have been inducted into Miami’s ‘Cradle of Coaches’.
His coaching career after his career at Miami started right back home in Mercer County at Parkway. Niekamp would lead the Panthers for two years.
Years W L Pct RON NIEKAMP 1972-74 26 14 .650 STANLEY BUEHRER 1962-64 22 15 .594
Since Rockford and Willshire merged only two coaches have left with a winning record, Niekamp has the highest percentage with an overall 26-14 record.
His 1974 team went 16-4, the first year of the Midwest Athletic Conference, led by Senior Co-Captains Greg Morrison and Keith Stallter. Morrison would go on to play DI basketball at The Citadel. This team is thought by many to be the best team to ever hit the hardwood since Parkway became a school.
After his stay at Parkway, Niekamp moved on to WBL powerhouse Ottawa-Glandorf. In 1977, Niekamp was named the Ohio High School Class AA Coach of the Year after taking the Titans to the Ohio State High School Final Four twice (1977, 1978).
His final high school coaching job, after leaving O-G, would be at Lima Senior, Niekamp would have more success taking the Spartans to the Final Four in 1982.
Niekamp would decide to end his high school coaching career with a 208-86 record.
The next step for the St. Henry native was to become the head coach at Findlay (College), at the time a member of the NAIA. The Oilers would play in the NAIA National Tournament six times, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1996, 1997 and 1999. Niekamp won two District 22 championships, two Mid Ohio Conference (MOC) titles and two NAIA Division I Great Lakes Sectional titles with the Oilers.
The University of Findlay would move forward when they joined the NCAA as a D II member.
Under Niekamp’s leadership Findlay would join the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) where he would have a record of 197-57, which includes ten GLIAC South Division regular season championships (1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and five GLIAC Tournament titles (2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010).
Niekamp, never had a losing season at Findlay and guided the Oilers to 20, 20-win campaigns during his career. His teams were 353-46 (.885) at home and averaged 23 wins per season. He concluded his career with a 22-6 record in the GLIAC Tournament and a 15-8 record in the NCAA Division II Tournament, which includes an Elite Eight berth in 2005 and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2008.
His efforts on the sideline netted him GLIAC Coach of the Year honors five times (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009) and NCAA Division II Midwest Coach of the Year honors three times (2005, 2007, 2009).
In 2009, Niekamp led the Oilers to a perfect 36-0 record and a NCAA Division II National Championship. The 36-0 season is the best mark in the history of DII men’s basketball. Niekamp was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Coach of the Year.