Keene State To Honor 2003-04 Elite-Eight Men's Basketball Team
KEENE, N.H., 10/11/07 - Taking a page from the famed tradition of the Boston Celtics, Keene State College will honor its 2003-04 Elite-Eight men’s basketball team with a banner ceremony on Saturday, December 1, at Spaulding Gym. That afternoon, between men’s and women’s basketball games against Southern Maine, members from that memorable team will gather at center court and raise a banner to the Spaulding Gym rafters commemorating their special season.
“I was hoping for a Little East championship and the opportunity to go to the NCAA tournament, but this team kept going,” said KSC Head Coach Rob Colbert. “They exceeded everyone’s expectations and raised the bar and set a new standard for the program.”
A team comprised of talented veterans and complementary role players, Keene State played like a team on a mission throughout the 2003-04 season. Bridesmaids in three prior LEC championship games, the Owls wouldn’t be denied their place in KSC history. Setting a program record for wins (25), Keene State put an exclamation on their season with a come-from-behind victory over rival Plymouth State (79-67) in the LEC tournament finals. By the time they received a first-round bye and hosted a second-round NCAA game against Babson College, the Owls were the talk of the town.
“The team captivated the whole community,” said Colbert. “Wherever you went, people were talking Keene State basketball.”
Playing in front of a capacity crowd, garnished in red and white, Keene State didn’t disappoint the partisans rolling to a 79-55 win over Babson. Traveling down to Williams College for the New England Regional Tournament, the Owls silenced the skeptics by stunning third-ranked University of Rochester 82-79 before having their season come to an end the following night against the host Ephs (79-64).
Four years later, Keene State players, coaches, and fans will have an opportunity to relive that season not just for that day, but for years to come. “Every time people enter the gym they will be reminded of that special season,” said Bennett Pawlusiak, who along with Alphonse Michalski, served as senior co-captain. “I can’t wait to be back on the Spaulding Gym floor and see my former teammates.”
According to Colbert, who also works as an assistant athletic director, Keene State has set up a committee to identify and honor other deserving Owl teams. “This will be the first time we’ve done a ceremony like this,” he said. “But I envision us honoring other teams in the future. Keene State has a rich athletic history, and we want to recognize their success.”