SC Awarded NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championships
Blake Arena is the home of the 2006 and '07 D-III women's basketball championships.SPRINGFIELD, Mass.
, Feb. 16, 2005 -- The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) has awarded Springfield College, the Birthplace of Basketball, the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball National Championships.
The national semifinal and championship games will be held in Springfield College’s Blake Arena (capacity: 2,000) on Friday-Saturday, March 17-18, 2006, and Friday-Saturday, March 16-17, 2007. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will be heavily involved in the championship. The Hall of Fame has agreed to display a special NCAA Division III Championship exhibit and to serve as host to several proposed events, such as the championship banquet.
This year’s championship was held at Virginia Wesleyan University in Norfolk, Va.
Springfield College President Richard B. Flynn
cited the role of the Basketball Hall of Fame as crucial in bringing the event to Springfield.
“We are honored that the NCAA has chosen Springfield College to host the national championships, especially in light of our proud basketball heritage,” said President Flynn, who serves on the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees. “This is another great example of a joint effort between two long-standing traditions in the city, Springfield College and the Basketball Hall of Fame.”
Director of athletics Cathie Schweitzer
said, “It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase Springfield College as well as the city and all it has to offer. It’s also significant that the NCAA is celebrating its 100-year anniversary and the silver anniversary of the Division III women’s basketball championship in 2006.”
Schweitzer, who also serves as the chairperson of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Committee, acknowledged that the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau were important in getting the championships.
“The staffs at both organizations were incredibly supportive,” Schweitzer said. “The NCAA championships site selection committee saw the relationship between Springfield College and the Hall of Fame as a major factor. This is going to be an exciting experience for the student-athletes and fans.”
“I can’t imagine a more appropriate host for an NCAA Basketball Championship than Springfield College, where the game was born,” stated John L. Doleva
, Hall of Fame President and CEO. “It is the Hall of Fame’s mission to celebrate the very best in the sport, and we are thrilled the best in Division III women’s basketball will be crowned on the campus of Springfield College.”
The economic impact on Springfield should be beneficial. Thousands of fans, along with national media, will converge on the city for a championship weekend.
"We're excited to be working with the NCAA and Springfield College on an event of this size," said Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau President Mary Kay Wydra
. "More than 5,000 fans, athletes and officials will be coming to the Pioneer Valley for the championships. Springfield and the Pioneer Valley can expect to benefit with an estimated $400,000 in direct economic impact generated by this event. We also hope that visitors coming to the region for the event will return home and share their positive experience in the Pioneer Valley with others who may visit in the future."
While this is the first time that a national champion in women’s basketball will be crowned at Springfield College, the NCAA has held several championships both at SC and in the city of Springfield. From 1980 to 1994, Springfield College served as co-host with American International College for the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship. Springfield College also played host to four national field hockey championships (1984, ’89, 2001 and 2002).
Three NCAA basketball championships will be held in Massachusetts in 2006. In August, the NCAA announced that the 2006 and 2007 Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship would be played the Mass Mutual Center in downtown Springfield. The 2006 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Final Four will be held in Boston.
Head Coach Naomi Graves
Entering her 23rd season as head coach in 2013-14, Naomi Graves has directed her squads to an impressive 323-260 record (.554 winning percentage) since joining the Division III ranks in 1995. Graves has led the Pride to 12 post-season bids in the past 17 years, including five berths in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Contact Head Coach Naomi Graves
| Phone: 413.748.3415