Greatest Moments in Lions Sports History
From Dean to Danica, these are the milestone moments that current and former coaches, players, and fans picked as the greatest in Lions’ sports history.
Dean tells players, ’Act like a lion’
During halftime of a basketball game in which his squad was trailing, Coach Earl Dean instructed his troops to “Get out there, act like a lion, and win the game!” They did, and when the next day’s Trenton Sunday Times Advertiser dubbed the College’s team “Lions,” the nickname stuck—and a mascot was born.
Football’s first win in over a decade
November 10, 1949
The Lions’ 7-6 victory over Montclair was national news, ending what was then the longest winless streak in collegiate football history: a 0-40-3 run that included a stretch of 28 consecutive losses.
Men’s soccer nets State’s first national title
November 28, 1964
The Lions’ 3-0 win over Lincoln University in the NAIA championship wasn’t just TSC’s first national championship—it was also the first time a New Jersey state college won a national title in any sport.
Van Ness takes the reigns as AD
No individual had more of an impact on Lions sports than Roy Van Ness ’43. The eight-time letter-winner and coach was named full-time athletic director in 1964 and, and over the next 23 years, he transformed the school into the Division III powerhouse that it remains to this day. Lions teams won 13 national titles and had 10 runner-up finishes during his tenure, and it was largely because of his vision and efforts that the College constructed the state-of-the-art athletics facilities (Lions’ Stadium and the Aquatic Center, to name just two) that became the envy of other D-III schools.
Martucci wins D-I title
March 14, 1981
Two weeks after winning wrestling’s D-III national title at 190 pounds, Tom Martucci ’81 defeated Temple’s Tony Mantella, 4-3, becoming just the second D-III wrestler in history to win the D-I and D-III crowns in the same year.
Grant drops 52 on Wilmington
January 18, 1988
When future NBAer Greg Grant ’89 scored 52 points against Wilmington College, he broke his own record of 51, set the previous year against Montclair State. Those efforts remain numbers one and two for single-game scoring in the Lions’ record books.
Women’s soccer’s sudden-death thriller
November 13, 1994
After scoring with 9:24 left in regulation to tie the match, Kerri Schembari ’96 again found the back of the net at the 124-minute mark to give the women’s soccer team its second straight NCAA championship, a 4-3 triple-overtime win against UC–San Diego.
Lacrosse’s come-from-behind title win
May 21, 1995
Trailing William Smith College by three with seven minutes to play in the 1995 NCAA title game, the Lions got back-to-back-to-back goals from Jennifer Hart ’96 to tie it up. Then with just 1:59 remaining, Melanie Vasofski ’97 found the back of the net to give the program its fifth straight national championship.
‘Sports Illustrated for Women’ names TCNJ top college for D-III female athletes
The magazine’s editors based their picks not just on championships won (although with 27 women’s team titles at the time, the College was tops in that respect) but also graduation rates, financial aid opportunities, fan support, facilities, and athletic traditions.
Clark’s three national titles in one day
May 28, 2005
On the final day of the 2005 NCAA Track and Field Championships, Tiffany Clark ’06 was a part of two national team championships (in 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay) and won the individual title in the 400-meter dash.
Haran’s walk-off grand slam
May 7, 2006
With one out and his team trailing Montclair 9-7 in the bottom of the ninth of the NJAC championship game, catcher Gerard Haran ’07 knocked the first pitch he saw over the centerfield fence for a walk-off grand slam that gave the Lions the conference title and a spot in the NCAA tournament.
March 22, 2013
Posted on September 9, 2013