Mike Hartman (front) and Pat Maloney celebrate their victory, surrounded by their teammates.

'We are the Champions!'

On March 17, 2001, the Cardinals men's basketball team became the first athletes in CUA's history to win a national title. After taking the NCAA Division III championship, the players came home to a grand reception from local media and the campus community. The Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., President, welcomed the team and Head Coach Michael Lonergan back with these words at a campus celebration held on the steps of McMahon Hall March 20.

Andy Rice drives the ball home to the basket.

"Every once in a while, in the history of an institution, things happen to bring us all closer together. At times, these events may be occasions of sorrow as in the death of some member of the community; at other times, these events may be occasions of great joy as in the success of some member of the community. Last Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day, was one of those joyful moments. Not only did something happen in the history of this institution. This institution made history. Coach Lonergan and members of the CUA Men’s Basketball Team ... you are the national champions, the first athletic team in our history to achieve such distinction and The Catholic University of America is so proud of you!

Yours is but the latest victory in a series of championships that we have enjoyed. Three of our law school students became national champions in a [securities law] moot court competition recently held in New York City. Two sophomore students on our university debate team, under the coaching of Ron Bratt and Glen Johnson, brought home a national varsity championship debate title and several other members of the team advanced to the quarter and semifinals in their divisions while three students captured individual honors. The national basketball championship certainly was a jewel in our crown. CUA, we are the champions!

Father O'Connell shows off his championship apparel.

I hope you have had the opportunity to read some of the press coverage in The Washington Post and The Wasington Times. Today, The Tower has published a beautiful tribute to the basketball team which everyone should read with pride.

We are not a large university but we are distinctive in so many ways. We are a place/community of faith in God and his goodness; we are also a place/community of faith in one another and the realization of dreams. To be champions is such a dream come true … in the name of the entire CUA community here and throughout the world, I want to say to Coach Lonergan, Assistant Coaches Kissal, Moyers and Wagner and to our national champions, the members of the team, especially our graduating seniors, you are the best. We thank you for giving your all!"

The Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M.

Pat Maloney, a senior guard who was voted the NCAA Division III Most Valuable Player, hugs assistant coach Bob Wagner while his teammates look on.

Coach Mike Lonergan, flanked by his players and assistant coaches, holds up the Cardinals' first-ever NCAA Division III championship trophy.

 

The 2001 NCAA Division III National Championship Team:

10 Andy Rice *

11 Tim Judge *

20 Adam Dickman

21 Pat Maloney *

22 Kevin Wise

23 Craig Avallone

24 Ben Gibson

25 Kyle Hyland

32 Mike Hartman *

33 Matt Hilleary

34 Chris Altenburger

42 Kurt Zeisler *

43 Blair Mills

44 Brian Meyer

52 Will Morley

Head Coach: Michael Lonergan

Assistant Coaches: G.J. Kissal, Marty Moyers, Bob Wagners

Managers: Robert Hay, Joseph Olickan Jr.

* Indicates graduating seniors

 

To read more about the underdog Cardinals' "almost unbelievable run to the championship," see http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23517-2001Mar18.html and http://washtimes.com/sports/default-2001319225135.htm. For more details on the basketball team, go to http://athletics.cua.edu/ and http://www.mikelonergan.com/.