Run Baby Run: St. Peter’s basketball arena’s unique name steeped in decades of lore
Many who are following the Cinderella story of the St. Peter’s men’s basketball team may have noticed the unique name of the team’s home arena – the Run Baby Run Arena.
The story behind the name is one that dates back decades.
The arena was recently rebuilt and renamed at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this past September. Run Baby Run is stepped in St. Peter’s University lore. But even most students do not know where the name comes from.
The phrase “run baby run” was the motto of what had been – until now - the most successful basketball team in school history – the 1968 team that defeated fifth-ranked Duke in the semifinals of the NIT tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Facing off a Duke team with more size, the ’68 St. Peter’s team scrawled the “run baby run” game plan on a locker room chalkboard before the game. It worked and the team became known as the “Run Baby Run” team.
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Flash forward to 2021 and a member of that team, Tom MacMahon donated $5 million for a new arena. He is a former CEO of LabCorp. He was offered to name the arena whatever he liked.
MacMahon chose to name it in honor of his old teammates. The name captures the spirit of the ’68 team, but also the tight-knit community at St. Peter’s. It may also be a nod to the hustle shown by many students at a school whose main mission is largely to educate working-class kids and first-generation college students.
The name sure seems to work when it comes to basketball, as 54 years later another St. Peter’s team is making waves in the sports world.
The Run Baby Run Arena is located inside the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center, which still has the name it's had for years.