On November 1st, the NCAA officially announced that the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point will host the 2014 Division III Women’s Basketball Final Four.
According to a press release by the NCAA, UWSP was one of several cites looked at to potentially host the pinnacle of Division III women’s basketball.
“It’s quite an honor,” said head women’s basketball coach Shirley Egner. “To be selected by the NCAA to host a championship and be put on that national stage is really humbling.”
For those planning ahead, the days of the Final Four and championship game are set for March 21st-22nd, 2014 in the Quandt Fieldhouse.
Athletic Director, Daron Montgomery, had a key part in bringing the games here and has a lot of experience in helping host big events for the NCAA.
Montgomery was a higher-up in the athletic department at the University of Detroit Mercy when the school hosted the NCAA Men’s Division I Final Four.
Montgomery was the tournament manager for both the 2008 men’s regional hosted by UDM and also the 2009 Final Four.
Even after helping host an event as grand as the Division I Men’s Final Four, Montgomery is still very excited to host the 2014 women’s finals.
“It’s going to be an event that the entire university, our athletic department and the entire community can rally around and be really excited about,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery explained that the process for getting the Final Four at UWSP started back when he first took the athletic director job here in July 2011.
According to Montgomery, there were four key factors that he thought helped Stevens Point seal the deal: facilities; the school’s fan base; UWSP’s ability to host big athletic events; and the rich history that Pointers’ basketball possesses.
“With access to the Quandt gym, the Berg gym and the MAC leading up to the event, we knew we had some of the best facilities in Division III,” Montgomery said.
Fan support was another main factor, Montgomery stressed. “Just to know about how supportive fans have been over the years about college basketball in Stevens Point was a factor. Knowing that the fans are going to come here to be part of the event, whether the Pointers will be part of it or not, really helps us get the bid.”
“I think when you put all of those elements and bundle it up with a bow on top, we really made it hard for them to say no, and that was our goal, and they ended up saying yes,” Montgomery said.
Even though the tournament won’t be here until the end of next season, the excitement and electricity around the basketball program, and the whole athletic department, is noticeable.
“I know that the athletic department, the women’s basketball program and the community will work really hard to put on a great championship,” Egner said.
“This town is passionate about college basketball, and this championship is going to bring a level of energy and excitement that hasn’t been seen for a long time,” Montgomery said.