St. Peter’s Peacocks incredible NCAA run comes to an end. What’s next?
The St. Peter’s men’s basketball team is back in Jersey City following an incredible NCAA college basketball tournament run. The team made it to the Elite Eight, but lost to North Carolina on Sunday.
But despite the loss, many of the players may not be done with the NCAA tournament. The team only has one senior – KC Ndefo. The rest could potentially come back to the team next year.
There will be some changes. Head coach Shaheen Holloway is expected to move on to Seton Hall. This could open the door for players to transfer.
A No. 15 seed team has never made it to the Elite Eight until the Peacocks’ run, which meant that the tiny commuter school in Jersey City became a name known across the nation.
Fans flocked to Philadelphia to be a part of the history – students, alumni and former players who now live across the country. It was a cultural ride that many could have never predicted.
“They didn’t even charge admission to their games,” says Bud Focht.
Focht worked in Rider University athletics for 35 years. Rider routinely played at St. Peter’s. Focht says he has seen dozens of games at the Run Baby Run Arena. He says he remembers the days when the gym would open its doors to the homeless on game nights.
“It was a really cold night. It was five degrees outside and all of a sudden, I see these people wandering in…and they weren’t coming to watch the basketball game. They were just coming in to get in out of the gold. That’s the type of atmosphere it was back then,” he says.
Focht says he is happy to see how things changed.
The St. Peter’s program is set to benefit financially. By making it to the Elite Eight, the program earned about $1 million per year for the next six years for its league – the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. School officials will then decide how to spend the money.
Out of state applications for the school have also increased 40%. The university is now hoping to capitalize on all of the hype.