Pointing to his ring finger, University of Indianapolis Football Head Coach Chris Keevers said he was ready for the celebration when the UIndy football team defeated Truman State University 28-14 for the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship, according to UIndy Athletics. The Greyhounds defeated the Bulldogs on their home-turf, lifting up the trophy at Key Stadium.
“I’m all about the celebration-you fight and you dig and claw and you do what we did make[ing] such a commitment…85 guys here all summer long,” Keevers said. “We made a commitment to win the championship and to be able to do that banged-up and not at full-strength says a lot about the character of this football team.”
At halftime, the Greyhounds were trailing 14-0 before UIndy rattled-off 28 unanswered points against Truman, according to UIndy Athletics. Graduate student linebacker Ben Hunnius said the team was focused on going back out after halftime and winning the game.
“[The locker room] was the same kind of atmosphere going in at halftime of the GLVC championship-looking around the room seeing everyone. There wasn’t much talking between the players, it was [a lot of] looking at each other being like, ‘Okay, we got this, everyone’s mood was up, they weren’t scared of what was gonna come,” Hunnius said. “Everyone was just understanding that, ‘Hey, it’s time to win a championship and we got to go out [the] second half winning [the game.]’”
Hunnius said that he could feel that the trophy was coming their way when the Greyhounds sealed the victory with an interception. Hunnius said he did not know how to describe the feeling of lifting the trophy.
“I don’t know how else to put it; [holding the trophy] just felt amazing,” Hunnius said. “… [The championship was] good to have it with [the] group of people to be able to have some young kids that made a great effort towards it [and] got to have it for the first time, some of them for the older guys [too]… It felt like something that we were supposed to do… it finally came to fruition, and we had it done.”
Before the Conference Championship, the Greyhounds suffered a defeat to Saginaw Valley State University around mid-season, according to UIndy Athletics. However, senior running back Toriano Clinton said it was an opportunity for the team to learn from the loss, but to not dwell on it.
“When you go from [the] winning streak that we were on, to a team like Saganaw, they were a great team…” Clinton said. “We were definitely humbled in that situation, and it made us realize that we were not where we needed to be… And that’s not the route that we needed, [so we] decided to keep climbing, keep going. The main important thing was just not focus so much on that loss.”
One common theme the team shared with each other was the feeling of family, which came naturally, Clinton said. Additionally, Keevers said he could not have been more proud of the football team this year. Many players Keevers said told him that the team felt like a true family and that it was nice to get back to winning.
“The family component this year… didn’t feel forced, it was natural,” Clinton said. “And that’s what makes it stronger because it was so natural, we want it to be that way, not because we have to be [that way].”
Throughout the season, the team could not have felt any closer, according to Hunnius. Having booked their ticket to the NCAA National Tournament, the Greyhounds traveled to Pittsburgh State University where their season came to an end, according to UIndy Athletics. Keevers said that in those situations, the team just needed to be better. Even though the team lost in their first game of the tournament, many players received accolades presented by the GLVC, according to UIndy Athletics. The Greyhounds had 25 All-GLVC players, while 11 surfaced on the All-GLVC first team.
“[The accolades] show the talent [of the team] a great deal; I think it also shows the dedication that everyone had…,” Hunnius said. “You see what they put in to get there. There’s some kids that got [All-GLVC] for the first time. There were some kids that returned and got it again, but it all comes down to their dedication. It feels nice to see what they’ve accomplished, [what] the whole team has accomplished.”
With these accomplishments, the UIndy team had more players on the All-GLVC teams than any other program in the conference. After the season was over, Keevers said he told his team, that for next year that it all is going to start over again.
“I told the 2023 team… we haven’t won a doggone thing; time to get to work,” Keevers said. “Our whole work wins, everything’s based on [that]-we outwork people.”
Even after the 2022 team’s season, Clinton said he is thankful for all that UIndy football has given him and that the players know that they all have each other, even if it is not football-related. The family aspect is something that is prominent-once again-with this group, according to Clinton
“It’s [the team] more than football; it’s always been more than football,” Clinton said. “Football is what brought us here; that’s our common goal, and that’s our similarity. But it’s so much more than football.”