Le Mans Sarthe Basket marks its fourth straight Eurocup appearance and ninth season in a row in one of Europe’s top two competitions this year. Those are fitting numbers for a club that has become one of the very best in France. Le Mans was at it again last season with a good season, though it ultimately came up short on several fronts. The team was one basket away from a spot in the Eurocup Last 16, reached the Semaine des As semifinals for the second year in a row and was back in the French League playoffs. Le Mans is one of the oldest teams in France and its history is one of a kind. In 1939, when men were drafted to battle in World War II, their women went to an existing sports club – Goulou Club – and created its basketball section. By 1952 Le Mans had won the French League women's title and decided to open a men's basketball team, too. Le Mans made it to the top French League in 1963 and won the French Cup in 1964. Le Mans needed more time before it won its first French League title in 1978. Then the team successfully defended the crown in 1979, made it to three more finals and won again in 1982. Players like Floyd Allen, Hevre Dubuisson, Greg and Eric Beugnot, Olivier Veyrat and Bob Purkhinser helped Le Mans reach that success. Le Mans made its debut in European competitions in the 1974-75 Saporta Cup and played the Euroleague's first group stage in 1978-79 and 1979-80. The club faced tough times after that and even fell to the second division, but managed to bounce back. Le Mans returned to the headlines in 2003-04, when it won the French Cup. The team did even better in 2005-06 by winning both the French League and Semaine des As titles with local legend Vincent Collet as head coach. That success led to the first of three consecutive Euroleague appearances in 2006-07. Le Mans did not reach the Top 16 on any of those occasions and its French League playoff runs came to an end in the semifinals. Le Mans, however, had a successful 2008-09 season by lifting the French Cup and the Semaine des As trophies. In 2009-10, led by JP Batista, Dee Spencer and Marc Salyers, Le Mans returned to the Eurocup and made it to the Last 16. It also reached the following year’s Euroleague Qualifying Round and then flirted with the Eurocup Quarterfinals, but Alex Acker and Ben Dewar could not get the team past the Last 16. Two years ago Le Mans reached the French League finals too. Now coming off another strong campaign, Le Mans looks to grow its legend at home and abroad.
French National League: 1977-78, 1978-79, 1981-82, 2005-06
French National Cup: 1964, 2004, 2009
Semaine des As Cups: 2006, 2009