Sacred Heart University will honor the 1986 Pioneers who won the NCAA Division II National Championship at this Saturday's regular season finale with Monmouth. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Pioneers run to the National Title. Please visit the Sacred Heart Alumni Association website for more information and to register for the reception.
Saturday's basketball doubleheader with Monmouth will be Alumni Day for both the women's and men's programs. The women tip-off against the Hawks at 1 pm and the men follow at 3:30 pm. During halftime of the women's game, SHU will recognize all the Pioneer women's team alums.
At halftime of the SHU men's game, the members of the 1986 National Championship team will be recognized and honored during a ceramony. Head Coach Dave Bike led his 1985-86 Pioneers to a 30-4 record in earning the National Coach of the Year award. Bike's Pioneers became the first New England school to claim a NCAA Division II basketball title.
SHU's title run began with a double overtime thriller, beating Springfield 76-74 in the NCAA New England Regional. The Pioneers advanced into the Elite Eight with an 83-67 win over New Hampshire College and then took down Norfolk State, 84-74, in Norfolk to earn a spot in the NCAA Final Four in Springfield, MA. Sacred Heart beat Florida Southern in the National Semifinal, 86-80, and before 5,863 fans at the Springfield Civic Center on March 22, 1986, made history. The Pioneers defeated Southeast Missouri State 93-87 to cap off an amazing run and win the 1986 title.
Five players averaged double figures for the 1985-86 squad led by senior co-captain and first team All-American Roger Younger. Named the MVP of the NCAA Tournament, Younger led the team averaging 18.9 points per game. Keith Johnson was the team's top-rebounder at 8.2 per game and was second in scoring at 15.8 points per night. Travis Smith was an all-around star for the Pioneers, averaing 14.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists per game and led the team with 81 steals. He posted an impressive triple double, 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, in the national semifinal win over Florida Southern.
Kevin Stevens average 14.5 points and 7.8 rebounds and was the team's top-shooter at 58.9% from the field. Stevens battled his way back from a dislocated ankle that cost him eight games to return to the starting line-up in the national semifinal and championship game. He led all scorers with 19 points in the title game win.
Tony Judkins avearged 10.3 points per game starting as a freshman on the 1985-86 team. Judkins would go on to captain the Pioneers as a junior and senior and would earn All-American honors later in his career. The Pioneers other co-captain, Joe Jackson, was the team's "sixth man", averaging 7.7 points and 4.5 rebouonds off the bench.
1985-86 Sacred Heart Pioneers - 30-4 Record
Senior Co-Captains - #40 Joe Jackson, #24 Roger Younger
Juniors - #10 Howard White, #22 Travis Smith, #34 Keith Johnson, #42 Kevin Stevens
Sophomores - #32 Keith Rado, #44 Jim Regis, #52 Ed Jurin
Freshmen - #20 Tony Judkins, #50 Keith Gatling
Coaches - Dave Bike, Bob Jenkins, Adolph Ellis
Manager - Fred Ulbrick