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Holy Cross to Host 2005 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship at Worcester Centrum

By Frank Mastrandrea ’88

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee has announced that Worcester has been selected to host the Division I Men’s Basketball Championships—First & Second Rounds on March 18 and 20, 2005. The bid to host the event was submitted by SMG, the management company for Worcester’s Centrum Centre, and Holy Cross.

“This is great for college basketball, it is great for Holy Cross, and it is great for Worcester,” says Holy Cross Athletic Director Richard M. Regan Jr. ’76. Aside from his duties at Holy Cross, Regan also serves on the NCAA Division I Management Council, the body responsible for adopting operating bylaws and rules to govern Division I athletics. “The NCAA had a very good experience here in the early 1990s,” he says. “Obviously we’ve made basketball a priority at Holy Cross, and we were able to convince them that this market makes sense, and that Holy Cross would be more than capable to host such a high-profile national event.”

Sandy L. Dunn, general manager of the Centrum Centre, summed up the dedication, confidence and enthusiasm for hosting the event. “We are confident that we will be able to provide the ultimate basketball experience for players, students, coaches, media, tournament personnel and fans. The Centrum Centre and Holy Cross bestow a sense of pride in hosting this event.”

The road to receiving the Championships has been a six-month process that began in early June 2000, when SMG and Holy Cross initially submitted their bid. In August, both parties received word that Worcester had been “short-listed,” and that an NCAA representative would visit the city in early September to tour the city, the facility and local hotel properties.

Among the NCAA’s criteria for venue consideration are overall event management, set-up and functionality, seating capacity, media accommodations (including television broadcasting), team and personnel hospitality space, food and beverage services and telecommunication capabilities.

The NCAA representative on-site acknowledged that Worcester is a city on the move and is succeeding, due to improvements made to the Worcester Regional Airport which was recently taken over by Massport. In the bid to host the tournament, hotel space, transportation and city services were also strongly considered.

No sporting or entertainment event in the building’s 19-year history has received the level of national attention and local enthusiasm that the 1992 NCAA Basketball Tournament received. The 1992 field of teams was indicative of the kind of excitement an NCAA basketball tournament generates. The field featured national powers Kentucky and Syracuse as well as regional favorites Massachusetts and Princeton. UMass defeated Syracuse in overtime in the second-round game, while Kentucky held off Iowa State in the other second round thriller.

Ticket purchasing information will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit the NCAA Web site at www.ncaa.org.



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