Amid all the excitement of the winter state tournaments and getting ready for the spring season at Andover High, athletic director Don Doucette snuck over to nearby Lowell to celebrate an anniversary.
It’s been 25 years since the 1987-88 UMass Lowell men’s basketball team won the Div. 2 national title.
And Doucette, who was a lot louder back then, was the head coach.
Considering that no other Div. 2 school in Massachusetts has won a men’s basketball title before or since makes the anniversary a little more special.
“This team is so close that they get everyone together every five years since 1988, but the night of the 25th was very special,” Doucette said. “Being around these guys, I can’t believe the feeling I get. It’s a very special group of guys who gave me the sense that they wanted to lace them up and go out that night and play. A very confident and cocky group, but they have earned that right.”
While UMass Lowell was always known as a hockey school with its blue-collar theme, a perfect representation of the city of Lowell, Doucette’s basketball minions fit the bill, too.
“Our team personified the blue-collar, hard-working city of Lowell as much as any ULowell hockey team ever has,” Doucette said. “We had more stitches and broken noses from hard work than I have ever seen in one season. They truly represented the community of Lowell to a T. These guys simply went out and competed no matter what the cost.”
The improbable run started with UMass Lowell being ranked 20th in the country when the NCAA tourney started. Doucette’s team beat No. 5-ranked University of New Haven, which had beat them twice during the regular season, before besting No. 3 Alabama A&M.