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McKendree coach Harry Statham ties record with 1,098th career win

LEBANON, Ill. -- McKendree University men's basketball coach Harry Statham posted his 1,098th career victory Thursday night, matching Pat Summitt's mark for the most at a four-year school.

Statham is in his 50th season at the Division II college. He guided the Bearcats past Wisconsin-Parkside 92-85 on the court named in his honor.

Statham, 78, has a career record of 1,098-474. He can top Summitt's record Saturday when McKendree hosts Lewis.

Tying the record "was the last of my thoughts," he said. "I'm not worried about it. If I don't get it today, I get it tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Those things happen. I'm not into that."

Summitt went 1,098-208 while guiding the Tennessee women's team to eight NCAA championships. Statham said he met her several times.

"I've seen her at coaching clinics around the country, Las Vegas and all," Statham said. "We've talked a little bit. She's a classy lady."

"She sent me a personal letter after I got 1,000 wins (in November 2009). That was pretty nice of her," he said.

The Bearcats are 10-8 this season, and 3-7 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Statham said he was concerned about a lot more than his victory total.

"It doesn't mean a thing to me right now," he said. "We're in this conference race and we need conference wins real badly. We're trying to get into postseason play, so every one you win, it's what it is."