In the 1980-1981 season, Florida Southern College Athletics won three NCAA Division II Championships in Men’s Basketball, Men’s Golf, and Baseball for the first and only time in college history. At the time, a triple crown had been accomplished only four other times before by other schools. Head coaches Hal Wissel, Charley Matlock, Joe Arnold, and Athletic Director Hal Smeltzly helped lead the teams to this historic feat.
Joe Arnold (standing, left) was the head coach of Baseball from 1977 to 1983. By the time he had left, Arnold had accumulated a 316-69 (.821) record, 4 Sunshine State Titles, 6 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division II College World Series, and 2 NCAA Division II Championship wins in 1978 and 1981. He also won the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year award in 1978 and 1981 as well. Arnold was inducted into the FSC Hall of Fame in 2003 and the College Baseball Hall of Fame as a player in 2015. His uniform number, #11, has been retired.
Hal Wissel (standing, center) coached the Florida Southern Men’s Basketball team from 1977-1982. During his time here at Florida Southern, Wissel had a 105-49 winning record and won 4 Sunshine State Conference titles. He was named National Coach of the Year in 1981, inducted into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame in 1997, and inducted into the FSC Hall of Fame in 2003.
Charley Matlock (standing, right) coached the Florida Southern Men’s Golf Team from 1972 until 1995. In his 23 seasons here, the golf team won 7 NCAA Division II Championship titles and three of his players would win NCAA Individual Championship titles as well. Multiple players of Matlock’s also went on to become successful players themselves and playing on the PGA Tour. Matlock was inducted into multiple Halls of Fame: the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame in 1992, the FSC Hall of Fame in 2002, and the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. Charley Matlock passed away in 2016 at the age of 86.
Hal Smeltzly (seated) was Florida Southern’s Athletic Director, a role he began in 1978 and would hold until his retirement in 2000. Prior to that, he had been the Baseball head coach, starting right after his graduation from Florida Southern in 1957. He won three NCAA Division II Championships during his time as head coach, and he also served as manager for two Team USA teams (1972 and 1975). During Smeltzly’s tenure as Athletic Director, the Mocs won over 20 NCAA Division II Championships, including the Triple Crown. Smeltzly is a member of multiple Halls of Fame, including, but not limited to, the FSC Hall of Fame, the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, and the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame. His uniform number, #7, has also been retired. Hal Smeltzly passed away in 2018 at the age of 86.