The St. Thomas Aquinas Men's Basketball team hosted its 4th Annual Tip-off Dinner at the beautiful Rockland Country Club in Sparkill, NY. The evening was a tremendous success, drawing well over 200 guests, including alumni, local coaches, college administrators, officials, parents, families and friends of the program.
The Spartans began the night by honoring Coordinator of Officials, Tim McAleer and Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School Head Coach, Don Kent with Spartan Lifetime Achievement Awards. McAleer, a former high school and collegiate official, now serves as the officiating coordinator for the East Coast Conference and the Central Athletic Collegiate Conference (CACC). Tim also served as Assistant Golf Coach STAC over a number of years at the college. Kent, the longtime coach of the Crusaders, became the winningest coach in McClancy history, was a five time CHSAA Coach of the Year and has sent numerous players onto to play Division I basketball, and five athletes to St. Thomas Aquinas College (4 Men's Basketball & 1 Baseball).
Head Coach Tobin Anderson introduced the 2017-2018 squad, which sees 7 members of the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Team return from last season. New faces Malik Parker, Chris Atkinson, Kameron Murrell, Irwayne Connell, Jr., Joshua Leak, Zachary Rzwenicki, Kevin Lynch and Jamar Sudan round out a veteran club.
Guest Keynote Speaker Pete Gillen closed out the evening with a very special address to the current Spartan Basketball players and the many guests in attendance. Gillen, the former Virginia, Xavier and Providence Head Coach, and current CBS Sports Network College Basketball Analyst, spoke about the key principles of success, in whatever you do in life. 1. Dream Big, 2. Work Really Hard, 3. Be Disciplined, 4. Handle Success, 5. Handle Failure, 6. Communicate, 7. Be Unselfish, 8. Have Confidence, 9. Be Enthusiastic, 10. Be Persistant, 11. Be Determined, 12. Be Creative & 13. Have Fun.
The Spartans are coming off of a 28-6 season and are the reigning, defending NCAA Division II East Region, ECC Regular Season and Tournament Champions. The team will look to recapture those titles and a return trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, starting November 3rd and 4th, when St. Thomas Aquinas College travels to Evansville, Indiana to face Ferris State and Findlay in the 2017 Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic.
St. Thomas Aquinas will open up the home portion of their schedule the following weekend, November 11th & 12th when they take on University of New Haven and Saint Michael's College in the ECC/NE-10 Challenge Tournament at Aquinas Hall.
Athletic Director Gerry Oswald Presenting Tim McAleer with the Spartan Lifetime Achievement Award
Head Coach Tobin Anderson Presenting Don Kent with the Spartan Lifetime Achievement Award
Head Coach Tobin Anderson Introducing the 2017-2018 Spartan Men's Basketball Team