Nova Nation Living in the Past

Villanova University Basketball

By Caroline Renzulli

By Caroline Renzulli
Unigo Campus Rep at Villanova

In 1985 Villanova pulled of one of the greatest upsets in sports history.  Beating Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown 66-64, the Wildcats stunned the nation with their victory as the No. 8 Wildcats were and still is the lowest ranked team to ever win the NCAA Championship in men’s basketball.  Villanovans young and old, Villanovans who were not even born when the game took place remember the game as the single greatest moment in the University’s history.

But that was approximately 23 years ago.

Though the 1985 basketball still sits proudly for all to see in the window of the President’s office, Villanova has yet to regain the glory of the 1985 Wildcats.

The Villanova book store is filled with shirts proudly boasting the 1985 Championship logo, the old beloved Villanova coach, Rolly Massimino, still gets a standing ovation at every Villanova appearance, and the basketball team’s rivalry with Georgetown has never been stronger. In fact, many would argue that Villanova basketball fans are still living in 1985 and hoping that day will come again.

“We came out of nowhere; pulled off the greatest underdog run in the history of the NCAA tournament, and knocked off the goliath which was Georgetown, which no one thought could ever happen. It's something to be proud of” said Dan Yurus, a Villanova Senior and huge Wildcat’s fan.

“It’s the history of professional and collegiate sports that give them so much meaning and power, and create such great rivalries like the one between Nova and Georgetown” Yurus said.

In that way, reliving the past is honoring a great tradition, and keeping the history alive.
But where does honoring a tradition end and where does being stuck in the past begin? For Villanova fans, that seems to be a fine line. Proud of their status on ESPN’s list of the greatest sports upsets of all times, Villanova fans don’t seem to be moving on any time soon.

“Until Villanova wins again, 1985 will always be the single greatest moment in Villanova history. And who knows if they’ll ever be able to top that. But I’ll keep watching them try” said Jeff Burke, a Nova graduate and season ticket holder.

Burke, who like Yurus was not even born in 1985, learned early about the Championship’s importance.

“My uncle was always telling me about it. And then he convinced me to come here, so I’ve heard plenty about that game” Burke said.

So it seems that until this generation of Villanova fans have something new to marvel over, something other than consolation in continually losing to the future NCAA champions, 1985 will have to do. With numerous tournament appearances including trips the Elite Eight and The Sweet Sixteen, in recent seasons, the Wildcats have had their fair share of chances at redemption. So until then, here’s to waiting, wishing, and living in 1985.