Thursday, June 8, 2017
In December 1977, Hartwick College stunned the collegiate soccer world by defeating the defending champion and heavily favored San Francisco Dons, 2-1, at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, CA.
The victory capped an undefeated season for the then-Warriors, and earned the College its only NCAA Division 1 national championship in Hartwick history. For its modern day David and Goliath feat, the entire team was inducted into the Hartwick Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.
On Saturday, September 9, 2017, the College will celebrate their achievement with a special 40th anniversary event at Lambros Arena, Binder Physical Education Center, on the College campus.
Details are still being formulated, but members and coaches of the 1977 squad are expected to attend. Footage of the final match against San Francisco may also be shown.
Athletics Giving Officer Duncan Macdonald ’78 was a defender on the national championship team.
“After winning the Mr. Pibb Super 8 Tournament in the spring of 1977 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX for the second time, we believed we would have a successful season the following fall,” Macdonald reflected. “We had finished the ’76 season with a record of 16-1-1, earning a trip to the Final Four in Philadelphia, beating Clemson in the consolation game, so there was a real belief by our team we would be strong in 1977.”
Their confidence was well-founded. The team completed its season with a record of 16-0-2, earning its third Final Four tourney in four years, and winning the national title.
The trip home was almost as memorable as the final game itself, Macdonald said.
“We flew back into Syracuse Airport during a terrible blizzard,” he added. “The drive back to Oneonta took forever. There was no I-88 back then. When we drove into the west end of town, we switched to a school bus with chains on the tires. A snow plow was in front, and police cars following behind with lights flashing. All the local businesses had banners and signs hanging outside proclaiming, ‘The Warriors are #1.’
“We arrived at Binder gymnasium to a packed house of rabid fans from both the campus and city communities. Kids were even let out of school to attend this fantastic welcome home rally.”
Also during the 40th Anniversary Celebration weekend, the current men’s soccer squad will host Fairfield University, Robert Morris University, and Niagara University in the annual Mayor’s Cup Soccer Tournament, a long-standing Hartwick – and Oneonta – tradition. Both Fairfield and Niagara are coached by former Hartwick players Carl Rees ’87 and Bill Boyle ’98, respectively.
Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,200 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick’s expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.
Contact: David Lubell