MAAC Tournament Run Energizes Marist Community

Anthony Proia, Director of Media Relations

March 20, 2023 – While more than a week has passed, the excitement created by Marist’s Men’s Basketball team storming to the MAAC Tournament Championship Game can still be felt.

On the night of March 11, it was all on the table. For a few moments, Marist’s first Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament berth since the days of Rik Smits was in sight. The Red Foxes had pulled even with top-seeded Iona in the title game with nine minutes to go. Those wearing red in historic Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City were in delirium.

“I thought it was a great crowd today,” Marist Head Coach John Dunne said after the game. “I want to thank everybody who showed up. It was great to see a lot of red in the stands. I just thought it made for a great atmosphere.”

While Iona pulled away in the final minutes to win 76-55, there’s no doubt the Red Foxes’ improbable run galvanized the entire Marist community. Students and alumni flocked to Atlantic City to watch the MAAC Championship Finals in person. Those that couldn’t, were watching at home or on their phones.




Photos by Kira Crutcher/Marist College Athletics

Among the Red Foxes who made the trip to the Boardwalk was alumnus Alex Marinelli '19, whose family ties to Marist run deep. He made the trip up from his home in South Carolina to attend with his mother, Angela.

“I knew that if Marist College Men’s Basketball was ever in a position to win a MAAC Tournament Championship, I would buy a flight, buy a ticket, and be there,” said Marinelli. “No matter where I was, or what I had going on, I would make it work.”

Marinelli’s late father Glenn was a legend in the Marist Athletics department, serving as the long-time Coordinator of Sports Medicine.

“Many days, weeks, and months of my childhood hinged on the result of whatever the most recent Marist Men’s Basketball game was at the time – at least emotionally,” he reflected. “Be it on the end of the bench with Dad, via Dean Darling over the radio waves, or the once-in-a-blue-moon game on ESPNU, I was attached. To miss a Championship Game was unfathomable.”



For current Marist students, the Atlantic City run was just as exciting.

“This team played amazing the whole tournament and I am happy they are getting recognition for it. Everyone counted us out the whole season and never thought that we would make it that far,” said Daniel Destler '24, a Center Field contributor who attended the championship game as a fan. “Watching the first three games on television was exciting, but seeing the last game in person was a whole new level of excitement. Seeing a sea of red opposite the Marist bench must have been awesome for these players.”

“Each night with their improbable victories I found myself happily extending my stay in Atlantic City and looking forward to the next matchup,” said Kira Crutcher '25, who followed the team closely all season while working in Athletics and as a Center Field contributor. “They wanted to show the world what Marist could do, and that is exactly what they did.”

All that support from Marist fans who flooded to Atlantic City was certainly felt on the court.

“We've never been in this position before,” said Marist Junior Guard Kam Farris who had 12 points in the championship game. “The energy of the crowd made it special to be a part of.”

“Thank you to all the fans who supported us for this week,” said Marist Senior Center Patrick Gardner, who led the team with 23 points in the championship game. “They showed up and we're grateful for their support, we all are.”

Despite the result, Marist’s run as an 11-seed, beating Manhattan, Quinnipiac, and Saint Peter’s on their way to the final won’t be forgotten anytime soon. There was even some national attention as ESPN’s legendary commentator Dick Vitale called Marist’s run his “shock of the week”.

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