By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
It’s been a few days since Babson College captured its fist-ever NCAA Division III men’s basketball championship and coach Stephen Brennan’s phone is still buzzing with text messages, phone calls and emails.
“I think that night after the game I had about 120 text messages,” said Brennan, who guided the Beavers to an exciting 79-78 victory over Augustana (Ill.) last Saturday in Salem, Virginia.
Everyone wanted to congratulate Brennan and the team, including past and current Babson presidents, friends from Bates College and current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
Learn more about the connection between Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens and the Babson College Beavers, via MassLive.com.
Even the New England Patriots expressed their excitement, tweeting out a congratulatory tweet to both Babson and Amherst College, which captured the women’s national title game last Saturday, too.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) March 19, 2017
“When the Patriots sent a congratulator tweet, I was like ‘what’s that?’” said Brennan. “You don’t really expect that.”
The Beavers were also congratulated by Massachusetts Mayor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey.
— Charlie Baker (@CharlieBakerMA) March 20, 2017
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) March 19, 2017
Babson’s win provided a great deal of excitement to both Massachusetts and New England college basketball fans. They all feel touched by this particular victory, according to Brennan, including Babson’s conference foes and regional opponents.
“(This win) has touched multiple members of our community from alums to our opponents (in the northeast),” said Brennan, “so it’s certainly nice to touch so many people and share it with our friends and friends of our program.”
The win also touched a quartet of Babson alums – David Mack, Travis Sheldon, Eric Dean and John Wickey – that positioned the Beavers over the past few years for a potential national title-run. And despite coming-up short two years ago in the national semifinals, Babson was able to avenge its disappointing setback with a dramatic one-point victory.
“The key for success is you have to pay the rent,” said Brennan, “and this team (especially the seniors) put in the time.”
The senior class certainly put in the time, they will depart Babson Park with 103 victories, which is the most wins in program history.
Joey Flannery, who was certainly a catalyst behind the Beavers’ run toward the program’s initial national crown, concluded his career with 2,620 points, which positions him eighth all-time in Division III history. Additionally – and as noted in the game’s release – he also scored 167 points in six NCAA Tournament games this season.
Brennan and the Beavers will continue to enjoy this special accomplishment, but know a new season will be here soon. And in order to continue their current success, the tenured coach knows his team will need to ‘pay the rent’ every day.
“Everyone will have to grow,” said Brennan. “We’ll need to continue our current work ethic and culture (moving forward, while continuing) our toughness and work ethic, too.”