Centennial Moments: Titletown

Centennial Moments: Titletown

BABSON PARK, Mass.—Following limited regional success in its early years, Babson College athletics became a major player in Division III by winning four national championships in two different sports over a nine-year stretch between 1975-84.

The men's soccer program put together just three winning seasons between 1955-70, but participated in the NCAA Division II Tournament in 1973 and 1974, and then posted the only unbeaten season in program history (17-0-1) on the way to capturing the College's first Division III national title in 1975. One of the most decorated squads in Babson history, the Beavers were coached by the legendary Bob Hartwell and featured six individuals that would later join him in the Babson Hall of Fame – Jon Anderson '75, Franz Grueter '76, Shane Kennedy '76, Francis Pantuosco '79, Mark Paylor '78 and Jim Powers '76. The Green and White posted 13 shutouts while outscoring its opponents by a 61-5 margin, including defeating Brockport, 1-0, in the national championship game.

Following trips to the national semifinals in 1977 and the national quarterfinals in 1978, the Babson men's soccer program won the first of back-to-back national championships in 1979 under the guidance of Bill Rogers '73. Led by future Hall of Famers Jim Fisher '83, George Salvitti '81 and James Stento '80, the 1979 Beavers went 13-2-4, recorded 12 shutouts and did not allow a goal in the NCAA Tournament until the final, where it defeated Glassboro State (now Rowan), 2-1.

The 1980 squad conceded just three goals over its first nine matches, but was forced to overcome three losses in its final six games to become one of just four schools in Division III history to repeat as national champions. First-year players and future Hall of Fame inductees Mark McNabb '85 and Rodolphe von Berg '83 joined the trio of Fisher, Salvitti and Stento, as the Green and White won five consecutive one-goal games in the NCAA Tournament, four of which went to overtime, before defeating Scranton, 1-0, on the future Hartwell-Rogers Field to once against hoist the Walnut and Bronze with an overall record of 16-3-1.

The Beavers' 1980 victory came in front of 3,000 fans, which remains the third largest championship game crowd in Division III history.

Much like men's soccer, the men's ice hockey program struggled in its infancy before beginning a stretch of regional and national success in the late 1970s. The Green and White made back-to-back Division II NCAA Tournament appearances in 1982 and 1983, which set the stage for the greatest season in team history just one year later.

Led by first-year head coach Rob Riley, men's ice hockey became the second Babson program to capture a national championship with a historic 1983-84 campaign. Paul Donato '84, who finished with a single-season record 76 points, and Keith Houghton '85 both earned All-America honors, and the duo would later be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Fran Murray '85. The Beavers set a school record for wins, captured its first Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament championship, and finished the year at 27-5-1 overall after overwhelming Union, 8-0, in the national title game.

Men's ice hockey followed up its national championship with nine consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, and reached the Frozen Four in four straight seasons from 1988-91.

//