The St. Thomas community will celebrate the NCAA Division III national championship won by the men’s basketball team with a party on Tuesday in Schoenecker Arena.
The party – a combination pep fest and rally with speeches and videos – will begin at 11:45 a.m. and will feature remarks by coach Steve Fritz and several players. Jane Canney, vice president for student affairs, will serve as the emcee.
“We want to pack Schoenecker Arena with as many Tommies as who attended our MIAC and NCAA playoff games earlier this month,” Canney said. “National championships are difficult to win and this first one in men’s basketball is so very special. Come out and celebrate with us!”
Video footage from the NCAA Final Four in Salem, Va., will be shown. National championship apparel – short- and long-sleeved T-shirts and sweatshirts – will be sold in the first-floor atrium between the arena and the cardio workout room before and after the event, and subsequently in the Bookstore on the St. Paul campus. Caps will be available soon in the Bookstore.
There also will be cake! Championship cake will be served in the atrium at the conclusion of the event.
The Tommies have a lot to celebrate. They finished the 2010-2011 season with a 30-3 record, tying the 2008-2009 team (30-1) for most wins in school history. This year’s squad shared the regular-season MIAC title, won the MIAC playoff title and finished the season with 12 consecutive wins after a 6-0 run through the NCAA playoffs.
In the Final Four, the Tommies defeated Middlebury 59-57 and Wooster 78-54, tying an NCAA Division III record for largest winning margin in a title game. The NCAA named senior guard Tyler Nicolai as the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player and junior center Tommy Hannon joined him on the all-tournament team.
Fritz won national coach of the year honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches, d3hoops.com and DIII News, and Nicolai is on the d3hoops.com All-America second team, and the d3hoops.com and NABC West Region first teams.