Posts with the tag: CUA basketball

The Archivist’s Nook: Harlem Globetrotters at CatholicU

“Game of the Week
Men’s Basketball
Harlem Globetrotters at CUA
November 19, 7 p.m.
DuFour Center – Tickets $10”
The Tower, November 16, 2001

Harlem Globetrotters at Catholic University, November 19, 2001.

So exclaimed the student newspaper just days away from the 2001 matchup between the Harlem Globetrotters and the Cardinals men basketball team. But what does this mean? Why were the Globetrotters playing in Brookland? In what may come as one of the more surprising matchups in basketball history, the legendary exhibition team came to the campus 20 years ago this week to challenge the reigning Division III National Champions, the Cardinal men. 

The year 2001 marked the 90th anniversary of the men’s basketball team formally existing on campus. That same year, the team secured its first-ever national championship. While numerous Cardinal teams of all sports had performed well in the past – ranging from football triumphs to boxing achievements – this marked the first team national championship in the University’s history.

While sports were played around campus beginning as early as the 1890s, the first organized basketball games at CatholicU occurred in 1909-10 as a club sport. This was barely twenty years after the sport was first developed in Massachusetts by Dr. James Naismith in 1891. While initially only a club sport played amongst nearby DC universities, with Catholic’s first game being against Gallaudet – it would not be long until the sport achieved official status on campus. During the 1911-12 season, Catholic University would formally organize its first official team.

Original Cardinal lineup, 1911-12 season.

The coach was Fred Rice, a graduate student and CatholicU player with additional experience from his time as a law student at Georgetown, where he played basketball with the Hoyas from 1907-1910, before coming to CatholicU. The team ended their first season under Rice’s management with a 10-7 game record. Rice would go on to coach the Cardinals for the next 19 years, until the 1930 season. 

In the subsequent decades, as the nation and NCAA changed, the team would see itself going to Division I and Division II tournaments in 1944 and 1964, respectively, although they would fail to make the mark for championships both times. By the 1980s, women’s basketball would join the roster of official campus sports. And beginning in the 1981-82 seasons, the Cardinals would enter Division III.

Throughout the late 1990s, the Cardinals would soar high each season, only to fall short at the last moment. But that all changed in the 2000-2001 season. On March 17, 2001, the Cardinals would face off against William Paterson University in Salem, Virginia, fighting for the title of NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Champions. Under the direction of Coach Mike Lonergan, the Cardinals would emerge triumphant with a score of 76-62.

Mere seconds after the unveiling of the championship banner before the Globetrotters game.

Having earned the first team national championship in the University’s history, and finishing the season 28-5, the men’s basketball team was rightly feted! But even as the victory was being  celebrated, a new challenger was emerging. At the time, the Globetrotters would often challenge college teams to exhibition games, particularly championship teams. Catholic University, as defending champions of the 2001 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship was fair game for playing,  although this game would mark the first time that the Globetrotters had played a Division III team. Despite this, Catholic remained undaunted by the competition. The Tower claimed, “Although the Globetrotters will be the toughest game in Cardinal History, CUA basketball has faced tough competition in the past.”

In the leadup to the game, Catholic University unveiled its 2001 championship banner. And the game began! The Tower reports how the “‘Trotters Dazzle DuFour Crowds” with “reverse layups and fancy slam dunks” ending in a hard-fought victory over the Cardinal men. As the evening faded, the Cardinals and Globetrotters shook hands. The final score was 90-46, Globetrotters. 

Post-game teams shot, 2001.

CUA handled their loss gracefully however. “It was great to have a huge crowd out to watch us,” said head coach Mike Lonergan. “I hate losing though, even if we’re playing the Lakers,” he added with a grin. – The Tower, November 30, 2001

Footage of the game and photographs are held in the Athletic records in the University Archives. 

Learn more about the rich history, as well as detailed account of the 2001 championship game, in Chris McManes’s centennial history of CUA men’s basketball – Flight of the Cardinals: A 100-year History of CUA Men’s Basketball

The Archivist’s Nook: Theological College – First 100 Years

Two Postcards of Theological College. (L) The original Gothic plan for the College, ca. 1920s. (R) The completed College, ca. 1970s

Heading south from the Catholic University campus, right across Michigan Avenue and facing the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, sits Theological College (TC). TC serves as the official seminary of the Catholic University of America, and has stood as a fixture of the Brookland neighborhood for the past century.

Founded in 1917 as an annex of St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, from its foundation, the seminary has been associated with the Society of Saint Sulpice, also known as the Sulpicians. Known until 1940 as the Sulpician Seminary, the motivation behind it was to serve as a seminary at the heart of the nation’s capital and as partnership between the Sulpicians and the Catholic University of America. This official partnership, however, would take several decades to solidify, as it was not until 1937 that an agreement was made between the two institutions to associate. This partnership has been reviewed and renewed ever since, throughout the changes in theological programs and American and Church culture.

Sulpician Seminary, ca. 1920s.

Renamed Theological College in 1940, the building that houses the seminary is a landmark bordering the south of the CUA campus. With groundbreaking occurring in 1917, the Sulpician seminarians resided on the Catholic University campus until the site was completed in 1919. Seminarians and theologians moved in on September 20, 1919.

Originally envisioned as a collegiate Gothic structure with larger wings for student housing, funding was unavailable to complete the original vision. By the early 1960s, a boom in seminarians led to overcrowding at the College. To address these issues, construction on a new wing and the tower began in 1963 until 1965. This construction added a larger library, kitchen and refectory, gym, and an enclosed courtyard. These features thrilled the student population, as well as the Sisters of the Divine Providence of Kentucky. The Sisters, having a small convent close by, provided domestic care for the College from 1918-1986.

Construction on the TC tower, ca. 1964

As TC enters its second century, alumni and current students are reflecting on its storied history and connection with the Catholic University community. Among its storied alumni are CUA Sociology professor Msgr. Paul Furfey, Archbishop Phil Hannan of New Orleans, CUA Philosophy professor Msgr. John Wippel, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington. While the TC community has provided a rich experience to campus life – participating in classes and even papal visits – the personal and social connections are ones that many alumni share. For example, among the many favorite memories from TC alumni are the tales of their legendary intramural basketball and football teams. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the seminarians dominated the court against the CUA fraternities. As the March 15, 1968 Tower reports: “The fraternity league team was different this year, but the result was the same as last year, as the Theological College again won the intramural basketball tournament.” From theological classrooms to basketball courts, TC students and the building they call home has been an integral part of the CUA story the past 100 years.

Theological College vs. Alpha Delta Gamma, 1968.

More information can be found in Michael Russo’s Ecce Quam Bonum: A History of Theological College. Mr. Russo is a current student at Theological College.

The Archivist’s Nook: Monsignor Furfey’s “Reindeer” Games

1927-28 CUA basketball team
1927-28 CUA basketball team

When I was hired as audiovisual technician at ACUA in February (after serving as a graduate assistant for two years), I was greeted by John Shepherd (his eyes twinkling with a devilish glee) with my first assignment: processing the athletics department collection. Do you remember being asked by your parents to clean your room as a kid, and you had no idea where to begin? Well, this request was akin to that, only with box scores and rosters instead of GI Joes. However, it has given me the chance to discover some hidden treasures among the papers. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Monsignor Furfey’s “Reindeer” Games”