Probably best for you to first watch the embedded video retrospective below. It’s pretty killer on the vintage and nostalgia levels, and keep your eyes peeled for the pre-YouDee logo and mascot costume! Then scroll down, we’ll talk about it…
While the UD Men’s Basketball team has gone to the NCAA tournament five times -- twice under Steve Steinwedel, twice under Mike Brey, and once under Monté Ross -- it was the '91 - '92 run and first trip to March Madness that really stands out. Coincidentally, my first year at Delaware. It was a great time to be on campus.
Delaware of course had a historically strong Football program, but no one had paid much attention to Men’s Basketball. So, the success of the '91 - '92 season just kind of snuck up on everybody. It was the strongest season Delaware Men's Basketball ever had. Steinwedel’s team won 27 games, only lost 4, and went 14-0 in the then North Atlantic Conference. Captains were Rob Jackson, Alex Coles, Denard Montgomery, Steve Lubas, and Mark Murray...
…also making huge contributions were Brian Pearl, Robbie Johnson, Ricky Deadwyler, Anthony “Sweet” Wright, and 6’10” British import “Sir” Spencer Dunkley. (Perhaps the greatest hoops name for a guy that never became a star in the NBA…he was drafted by the Pacers, but opted to do very well for himself overseas.)
How they got to the big dance: Delaware crushed Drexel in the NAC Championship game, on March 11th, 1992 -- final score was 92 to 68 -- UD wins, and everybody rushed the floor! I should note that one of the ESPN broadcasters for the game was the late Tom Mees. A Delaware alum, Mees tried to maintain professional impartiality during the game, but his contained excitement was obvious. When the last seconds burned off the clock, he finally shouted, “…and Delaware IS IN!”
Adding to the significance, was that this was the last game played in the old Field House…as The Bob opened up the following fall. The Field House only sat 3000 or so, so me and my Dickinson C crew didn't make it into the game -- we all watched it on the big screen in the Scrounge, where kids were hanging from the rafters. It was amazing to simply see UD on TV!
“This is one of my favorite Delaware memories. One of my fraternity brothers was the mascot, and got us seats right behind the north basket for the Drexel game. I had made a huge banner that was held between two five-foot tall posts. Two of us ran around the arena before the game about thirty times to get the crowd going. At halftime, Larry (the Blue Hen) pulled us out to center court to hold up the banner, while three other guys that were there with us took half-court shots. None of them even came close, so in my drunken stupor, I put the banner down and picked up a basketball at center court. I saw three baskets, so I aimed for the middle one. As soon as I let it go I could feel it...yep...SWISH! It was f'ing awesome! All 3000 people went crazy.
After the game, I was standing at the urinal in the Men’s room and some old alumni guy was next to me. He looked up and said, ‘Nice shot.’ I'll never forget that night!”
- Erik, UD '94
“I really never paid much attention to the UD Men’s Basketball team until they went on that incredible hot streak and The Review started doing features on them. I instantly became a fan. Seemed like most of the school was in the Scrounge to watch our team beat Drexel, and go to the NCAA tournament for the very first time. That team probably could have beaten many teams in the tournament that year, but we ended up playing Cincinnati in the first round, who were an eventual Final Four team. They beat us 85-47, but it didn’t matter. We were in the tournament and the buzz around campus was special. I am glad, to this day, that I got to experience that.”
- Chubbs, UD '96
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