Saturday, October 17, 2009
The dedication ceremony for the new Hagan Arena was full of Hawk legends past and present. Comcast Sportsnet's Neil Hartman was the MC for the evening, at times sharing the spotlight with SJU's own Joe Lunardi.
The dedication ceremony began just after 5 o'clock with a video commemorating 100 years of Hawk hoops. The video paid tribute to individual and team accomplishments of both players and coaches. From the Mighty Mites to Dr. Jack to Jameer, the video highlighted the accomplishments of the basketball programs, both men's and women's, over their time here on Hawk Hill.
Next, Hawk fans were treated to a singing/dancing spectacle courtesy of a group of local students (I believe high school). I do not foresee it replacing "The Hawk Will Never Die" any time soon.
Among the people to speak during the course of the evening were Mike Bantom, Don DiJulio, Governor Ed Rendell, and of course, Michael Hagan. Mike Bantom spoke about how Saint Joe's recruits a special type of player, and over their time here, they are molded into something even greater. Ed Rendell spoke about how he knew about the Hawks even from a young age, despite being a New York kid. He told the story about how he saw the Hawks play at Madison Square as a child and was amazed at the passion of the Hawk faithful. And something involving a mackerel. And finally Michael Hagan's speech was one of heart-felt thanks to all the others who made the new arena possible.
A number of ex Hawks were in the house for the evening, including Chet Stachitas and Tyrone Barley from the Elite Eight team of 2003-2004. Chet was introduced as the player who taught a student section how to spell.
Also in attendace were 2010 verbal commitments Langston Galloway and CJ Aiken, along with 2010 recruit Ronald Roberts. All 3 players sat together during the ceremony.
Following the festivities, attendees were given free roam of the facilities, including the Hall of Fame room, the coaches offices, the locker rooms, the players lounge, and more.
With the home opener against Drexel just under four weeks away, Hawk fans were given a glimpse of the new arena. Players past, present, and future got to look back at how far this program has come in a hundred years and also look forward to a future that is just as bright.