Northeastern alumnus Steve Bender remembers well the last time the Huskies were in the NCAA tournament. That’s because he attended the game.
Bender, who was an eighth-grader in 1991, drove up from Long Island, New York, with his father and brother to Syracuse to watch Northeastern take on the University of North Carolina in the Carrier Dome. Attending Northeastern hadn’t crossed his mind at the time, but that’s where he ultimately enrolled and graduated from earning a bachelor’s degree in athletic training in 2000.
Bender now lives in Coral Gables, Florida, with his wife Ali and two children. He flew in to Pittsburgh late Wednesday night with his father-in-law Jim Shipley, both of whom were among the Northeastern alumni and fans showing Husky pride at a pre-game breakfast Thursday morning at the team hotel.
“I always said if Northeastern made the tournament, I’d come to see them play,” Bender said.
Among the many others joining Bender and Shipley at the breakfast were five current Northeastern engineering students who arrived in Pittsburgh at 9:15 a.m. Thursday morning. Frank Marino, Ryan Pembroke, Conor Kilcullen, Jack McCullough, and Sean Holmes, all E’16, piled into Marino’s Jeep Grand Cherokee at midnight to make the drive to see their Huskies in NCAA Tournament action. They stopped every two hours to rotate seats in the tightly packed car, and turned to Red Bull to help them power through the long car ride.
All five students were donning red and black Northeastern attire—and in a short while they’ll be cheering on their Huskies at the Consol Energy Center.
“I’m so excited,” McCullough said. “I’m ready for the upset of the century.”
More scenes from the event: Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University