Centennial Moments: Athletics Hall of Fame Welcomes National Champions

Centennial Moments: Athletics Hall of Fame Welcomes National Champions



BABSON PARK, Mass.—The Babson College athletics department held a historic celebration on Friday night honoring all five of its national championship squads by making them the first teams inducted into the Babson Athletics Hall of Fame.

Held inside the brand new Babson Recreation and Athletics Complex (BRAC) as part of Babson's Centennial Celebration, the evening brought together the 1975, 1979 and 1980 men's soccer teams, the 1984 men's ice hockey squad, and the 2017 men's basketball team as part of the Hall of Fame's 17th induction class. The five squads joined 71 individuals that have been inducted since the inception of the department's Hall of Fame in 1991.

The men's soccer program at Babson, which dates back to 1955, claimed the College's first national championship after going 17-0-1 to complete its only unbeaten season in 1975. After suffering a loss at home in the 1977 national semifinals and falling in the NCAA quarterfinals a year later, the Beavers returned to the top of the Division III world by capturing its second national title in 1979.

"It was special because of what we had gone through," commented Mark Gelinas '80. "We knew how hard it was to get there and we also knew you had to be good at a lot of things. Additionally, we knew the Babson tradition the guys in '75 started, and it was passed down to us from the previous players and also from our coaches, so that's what made it special. We brought the Walnut trophy back to Babson where it belonged."

With much of its team returning in 1980, Babson recorded four overtime victories in five NCAA Tournament contests to repeat as national champions. The victory in the title game over Scranton gave the Beavers three championships in six years and helped them become the first program to hoist the Walnut and Bronze on its home field.

Men's ice hockey became the second Babson program to capture a national championship with a magical 1983-84 campaign. After reaching the national semifinals in 1983, the Beavers set school records that still stand for wins and goals a year later that culminated in an 8-0 victory over Union in the national title game.

"In life as we all get older, you start to figure out there are certain things in life that appreciate in value over time," said Paul Donato '84. "So the bond for all of us, for our team, that bond of being a national champion, that allure of being a national champion, that prestige of being a national champion, we didn't understand it at the time and as we've all gotten older it's that bond that each of us shares as a national champion. That bond we have with our coaches and teammates that's really the special value of athletics."

With a history dating back all the way to 1930, men's basketball became Babson's third program to win a national championship in 2017. The nation's top-ranked team for much of the season, the Beavers made their second NCAA Final Four appearance in three seasons and overcame late-season injuries to win its title with a one-point victory over Augustana (Ill.).

"We were extremely tight knit and above all we were all about the greater good," stated Matthew Droney '17. "We had a bunch of guys that were really committed to winning, and in this day and age it's really hard to get 10-15 guys that are about that and willing to leave their ego at the door."

For all five teams, the evening created a chance to not only celebrate the accomplishments of their teammates and peers but also to reflect on the tradition of success that Babson has created.

"All these teams who have won the title, they know what it takes and what that special bond is that you have," commented two-time men's soccer national champion James Stento '80, P'13. "You'll never forget those days and the love that you have for each other. It's very special and great to have in your life."