Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

Wash. U. celebrates men’s basketball championship

Scott Bressler

The banner bearing “Washington University, 2008 Division III Men’s Basketball National Championship team” fluttered down to join 13 other banners.

The men’s basketball banner is the first to represent a men’s national championship.

“[Being the] first male sport [to have a banner] makes me so proud,” senior Danny O’Boyle said.

The Bears earned the program’s first national title with a 90-68 triumph over defending champion Amherst College.

The celebration on Wednesday kicked off with free pizza for the hundreds of fans who filled the Field House. Chancellor Mark Wrighton, Athletics Director John Schael and Head Coach Mark Edwards gave speeches thanking those involved for supporting the team and for helping Wash. U. continue a winning tradition. Edwards, who is in his 27th season as head coach, received a standing ovation as he approached the podium.

Edwards asked the men’s basketball team to stand up and applaud everyone in the gym.

“We’re proud to be part of this University,” Edwards said. “We’re also humbled by the people who supported us.”

A short highlight reel was also played to show the road to the national title including ESPN’s No. 6 play of the day where senior Troy Ruths finished his collegiate career with a dunk.

Clayton City Mayor Linda Goldstein then proclaimed April 16, 2008 Washington University Bears Basketball Day in the city of Clayton.

Senior Troy Ruths, who won the Jostens Trophy, delivered a speech to thank the community for showing up and supporting the team throughout the season. According to Ruths, the Field House is one of the hardest places for other teams to play basketball because of the atmosphere.

Once all the speeches were finished and the team was welcomed, seniors O’Boyle, Ruths and Moss Schermerhorn walked up the stairs and unfurled the banner.

“Definitely the send off,” sophomore Aaron Thompson said when asked about the best part of the night. “When the banner dropped, that’s when it hit home.”

“The greatest thing is what it represents,” Edwards said. “It represents a community coming together. It’s a great lesson. The opportunity to achieve is available to any student at this school.”

“It needs a buddy,” senior Troy Ruths said. Next year, the men’s basketball team will be working hard to bring another championship to the Field House.

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