In the heart of Fairfield lies the Fairfield Stags men’s basketball team. A sports squad from Fairfield University, Connecticut. Fairfield Stags men’s basketball has played in the NCAA Division I’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The team divided its home games between Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, a 9,500 capacity seat hall in Connecticut as well as inside the Alumni Hall back of Fairfield University.
Every team has its own genesis, and Stags is not an exception. In 1948, Rev. Victor Leeber, S.J became the brain behind the men’s basketball at Fairfield University. No looking back ever since as the team marched forward against its opponents in several tournaments.
The first opponent was Brooklyn College from New York. In this contest, they suffered a 78-46 defeat. They compensated for the loss by defeating, Hillyer College (known as the University of Hartford today) with a 47-37 score.
When a new season arrived, from 1950 to 1951, now led by James Hanrahan (a new head coach), success stories began to trail the basketball warlords as they recorded a stunning 16-11 scoreline, and were decorated with the maiden berth for the school during the post-season. This happened in 1951 at the NAIA National Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament.
Moving on, the team continued to prove its worth well into the late 1950 seasons. Especially after George Bisacca started heading the Stags. They accomplished more feats, rising above their past glory as they only lost a season in one decade. From 1960 to 1962, three berths for the post-season program at the NCAA Men’s Division II Basketball Championship Tournament were given to them.
Thereafter, the Stags progressed to the next leg of the games from 1960 to 1961. While the post-season jubilation was still fresh, the program was advanced to NCAA Division I by the management of Fairfield. The 1964-65 season became the maiden edition of the new phase, and the team clinched a win of 19-5 record. They earned a place in a national poll, being the first-ever Fairfield team to achieve such a success.
21st Century Stags
Ed Cooley who previously assisted in coaching Boston College Eagles, took over the Stags as its 11th head coach. When the initial round of CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) in 2010 started, the Stags conquered a deficit of 27 points – left with only 16:08 to win the games against George Mason for an overtime chance of 101-98. It’s important for their career because the 27-point rematch is regarded as the best record in the post-season history of Division I. Mike Evanovich was in charge of the Stags at that time, before Anthony Johnson, a fellow senior, later took over.
With Johnson’s help, the Stags went into overtime and scored 9 points, ending with an impressive 25-pointer. At the end of the 2010 season , Cooley got the inaugural 2010 Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year Award. This is a yearly event that appreciates the best men’s basketball coaches in the minority category. The objective was to honor his coaching work and resilience. This was a season laden injuries and when they recorded an almost unprecedented school victory of a 24-win season.
In 2010, the Stags won the regular season during the MAAC games. They received a berth the following year after defeating the Rams from Colorado in a 62-60 at the first leg.
Anthony’s Era with the Stags
Ed Cooley was replaced by Anthony Johnson in 2011. Through his efforts, the Stags reached the semifinals at the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament in 2012. They conquered Robert Morris, Manhattan, and Yale, but were beaten by Mercer. At the end of the games, they ended with a 22-15 record. However, Mercer became the champion of the competition.
Still at the helms of affairs, Johnson led the 2012-13 team to begin a season with a 10-10 point. They won 5 in a row, and lost 1 game out of 8 at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament.
They were defeated at their last 2 games, landing at a 9-9 and ending with a 19-15 record.
The Fairfield’s Stag Women’s Team
The women’s side slipped off the MAAC semi-finals Thursday, October 4, 2021.
“The 2021 Fairfield University Women’s Soccer season came to a close with the Monmouth Hawks defeating the Stags a 4-0. The Stags ended their season with a 9-7-4 record. They equaly had their second appearance in the MAAC Semifinals in the last three seasons,” a reliable source disclosed.
Winning awards is synonymous with the Stags. In 1979, Joe DeSantis won the All-American award. Nine years later, the Pre-Season award went to Troy Bradford in 1988 & 2010. Whereas, the Freshman Award was won by Derek Needham.
Ed Cooley is a holder of the 2010 Ben Jobe Award at the National Coach of the Year. He equally holds the MAAC award during the League Coach of the Year awards. The winning tradition was passed down from Mitch Buonaguro (1986) to Paul Cornier (1996), and Tim O’Toole in 2004.
See more: https://olaedobookends.com/endsars/