Steve Sefner reminisces on 20th anniversary of Kent State men’s basketball Elite Eight run in his new book

Steve Sefner reminisces on 20th anniversary of Kent State mens basketball Elite Eight run in his new book

Jimmy Oswald, Sports Editor

In this season’s March Madness, the No. 15 Saint Peter’s Peacocks were the Cinderella story of the tournament after upsetting No. 2 Kentucky in the first round of the tournament and advancing all the way to the Elite Eight before falling to North Carolina.

But exactly 20 years earlier, the Kent State men’s basketball team was that Cinderella story.

The 2001-02 Flashes were the 10th seed in the 2002 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and they advanced all the way to the Elite Eight on a run that many consider one of the best in all of Mid-American Conference sports.

And Steve Sefner, the play-by-play announcer for Kent State radio, was there every step of the way. A journey he archives in his book “The Golden Dream.”

“I always had this ‘The Golden Dream’ in the back of my mind, I wanted to write this book,” Sefner said. “So, here we are 20 years later. And I said, ‘If I’m ever going to write this book, now is the time. It’s the 20th anniversary of that great run.’”

Sefner reached out to several people involved with that dream team, including athletic director Laing Kennedy, coach Stan Heath, and players Antonio Gates and Trevor Huffman.

Huffman was especially excited to look back on the season and helped Sefner so much he became a contributor on the book.

Sefner said getting a hold of Gates was the most difficult part of the process.

“He did spend 16 years in the NFL,” Sefner said. “He lives out in California, so he really wasn’t in touch with a lot of the other players. So I had called the Los Angeles Chargers at the time and they have an alumni group and got in touch with them. It just was dragging. One thing led to another that wasn’t happening.”

“And then finally, maybe they got tired of me calling them, they put me in touch with his agent, and then I finally got a hold of him. And man, what a sharp mind he has, the things that he remembered and the stories that he told.”

Sefner had the idea to write this book in his mind for a long time despite his inexperience as an author.

“I was really walking into unknown territory,” he said. “I’ve never written a book, so I’m a first time author. As soon as we lost to Indiana in the Elite Eight game, it was just something that I just thought of. I thought it would be neat to write about the season and everything.”

Sefner looked forward to coming home every day after work to pour his time into the book.

“It was a lot of fun and it was special and it always will be special,” he said. “You know, that was a big deal. That’s a part of Kent State men’s basketball history. Kent State was one of the first Cinderellas to accomplish something like this. It was a lot of fun  talking with those guys going down memory lane.”

Sefner encourages anyone who likes college sports or is involved with Kent State to pick up the book.

“A lot of people out there didn’t think that they could accomplish all the great things that they did, and they did,” he said. “And the only reason why they did is because they were a family and they believed in one another. It’s a true underdog story.”

“The Golden Dream” can be purchased on Amazon at

Jimmy Oswald is a sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].