From the Office of DA – University of Richmond Athletics
Greetings spider fans!
I just couldn’t wait to share some of my thoughts on one of the most exciting 10-day stretches in Richmond Athletics history. In the space of a week and a half, our men’s basketball team defeated four Atlantic 10 rivals to claim the seventh conference championship in program history, then upset Iowa, champions of the Big Ten, in the first round of the NCAA tournament!
For more than 35 years, the Richmond men’s basketball program has earned a reputation as “The Giant Killers,” a small school that knocked a string of the sport’s hottest programs into the NCAA tournament. Once again, the Spiders have shown that – albeit small in stature – Richmond will not back down from any opponent on the game’s biggest stage.
Traveling with the team to the A-10 Championship in Washington, DC and the NCAA Tournament in Buffalo, I got to see firsthand how much this championship run meant to our players, coaches and staff. But you didn’t have to be behind the scenes to understand just how much it meant to Spiders everywhere.
I’ve seen Richmond fans from all over the country in Washington, DC, Buffalo and at our Robins Center watch parties. I’ve heard from countless past, present and future Spiders about what this team means to them. And I felt the stands shake as the Spiders faithful rose to their feet at KeyBank Center and Capital One Arena in the decisive moments of the game. Thank you to everyone who has supported the Spiders near and far over the past few weeks.
I want to thank all the players on our roster, from one to 20, for their hard work and dedication this season. This includes a special group of six student-athletes – Nathan Cayo, Jordan Gaitley, Jacob Gilyard, Gold grant, Sullivan Kuljuand Nick Sherod – who have decided to postpone the start of their professional careers and return to Richmond to use their extra year of COVID eligibility. Thank you, your loyalty to Richmond will never be forgotten!
Throughout the season, our “super-seniors” mentioned that having the chance to play under Chris Mooney for one more season was a major factor in their choosing to stay with the Spiders. Thanks to Coach Mooney and his team for creating a culture where student-athletes know their best interests are at the heart of every decision, and congratulations on winning the A-10 Conference Championship in spectacular fashion and won another trip to the NCAA Tournament!
And thank you to two of our most vocal supporters over the past two weeks, President Kevin Hallock and his wife Tina. In addition to adding their voices to the crowd of Spider fans at the A-10 and NCAA tournaments, they constantly reminded us that the entire University was behind our team during this remarkable run.
Richmond Athletics are delighted to count the Hallocks among those attending a special event at Robins Center on the night of April 12and at 7:00 p.m. as we recognize our team and their accomplishments this season. Black Bucket Hat, Chris Mooney, and some of our Spiders stars will give a final word on the 2021-22 campaign, and fans will have the chance to meet the team, take photos and get autographs. I hope to see you there.
The past two weeks have provided ample evidence that nothing has the potential to unite a campus and a college community quite like intercollegiate athletics. That’s why Spider Athletics is particularly focused on developing championship-level student-athletes who represent our university both in the community and in the classroom as well as on the fields and courts of competition. It’s a huge undertaking, and it’s only possible with the commitment of our Spider community.
In this regard, remember, UR Here Giving Day, is set for April 6and and 7and and it just so happens to start on National Student-Athlete Day! Please consider making a donation to support all of our student-athletes as we continue to develop champion leaders! We are ready got off to a great start with men’s basketball raising over $80,000 to support their A-10 championship. Be sure to check in to see the many challenge giveaways for your favorite programs.
Thank you for your support!
Take care and… Go spiders!
All my wishes,
John P. Hardt
Vice President and Sports Director