Saint Mary's Gaels

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Saint Mary's Gaels
Saint Mary's College Gaels logo.svg
University Saint Mary's College of California
Conference West Coast Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic directorMike Matoso
Location Moraga, California
Varsity teams14
Football stadiumSaint Mary's Stadium
Basketball arena McKeon Pavilion
Baseball stadium Louis Guisto Field
MascotGideon
NicknameGaels
Fight song"On To Victory"
ColorsNavy, Red, and Silver [1]
              
Website www.smcgaels.com

The Saint Mary's Gaels are the athletic teams that compete at Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga, California. [2] The nickname applies to the college's intercollegiate NCAA Division I teams and to the school's club sports teams. Most varsity teams compete in the West Coast Conference. [3]

Contents

The Gaels name

From the Gaels website:

"The Gaels are an ethno-linguistic group which spread from Ireland to Scotland and the Isle of Man. Their language is of the Gaelic (Goidelic) family, a division of Insular Celtic languages. The word in English was adopted in 1810 from Scottish Gaelic Gaidheal (compare Irish Gaedhealg and Old Irish Goídeleg) to designate a Highlander (OED). Gael or Goídeleg was first used as a collective term to describe people from Ireland; it is thought to have come from Welsh Gwyddel (Old Welsh Goídel), originally "raider", now "Irish person". Many people who do not speak Gaelic consider themselves to be 'Gaels' in a broader sense because of their ancestry and heritage."

The nickname was given to the school's football team (now discontinued) in 1926 by Pat Frayne, a writer for the now defunct San Francisco Call-Bulletin . [4] The school's previous nickname was the Saints, although the baseball team was known as the Phoenix until the 1940s.

Sports sponsored

Men's sportsWomen's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Beach volleyball
Cross countryCross country
GolfRowing
Soccer Soccer
TennisSoftball
Track and fieldTennis
Track and field
Volleyball
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor

Men's basketball

The men's basketball team has become recognized nationally as one of the top mid-major programs in the country, appearing in five NCAA tournaments since 2005 and making appearances in both the Associated Press and ESPN Top 25 polls. The team received at-large bids to the NCAA tournament in 2005 and 2008 but lost in the first round. In 2008-2009, the team got off to a strong start and at one time had the longest active winning streak in the nation before an injury to star guard Patty Mills, who was their leading scorer at the time. Mills came back in time for the West Coast Conference Tournament, but after a loss to Gonzaga in the WCC tournament finals, the team was not selected for the NCAA tournament.

The Saint Mary's men's basketball team playing in McKeon Pavilion in 2009. McKeon Pavilion during basketball game.jpg
The Saint Mary's men's basketball team playing in McKeon Pavilion in 2009.

In March 2010, the Gaels received an automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, after defeating Gonzaga in the championship game of the WCC Tournament, the Gaels' second WCC tournament title since 1987. [5] They then won their first NCAA Tournament game since 1959, defeating the Richmond Spiders. On March 20, 2010, the Gaels, led by Omar Samhan's 32 points, defeated #2 seed Villanova 75-68 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, where they would fall to three seed and AP #19 Baylor to end their season 28–6.

The Gaels shared the regular season WCC title with Gonzaga in 2011, but lost to Gonzaga in the WCC tournament and were not invited to the NCAA Tournament. In 2012, Saint Mary's claimed both the regular season WCC title and the tournament title and received a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament but lost to #10 seed Purdue in the first round. The Gaels finished second in the WCC in the 2012-13 season and received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, defeating Middle Tennessee in a "First Four" matchup before losing in the second round to Memphis.

During the 2012-13 season, the NCAA sanctioned the men's basketball program for recruiting violations stemming primarily from a former assistant coach and his attempts to recruit players from France. Penalties included a reduction in scholarships, four years probation and a five-game suspension for head coach Randy Bennett. [6]

Past alumni from Saint Mary's who current play in the NBA include Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova.

A Gaels basketball alumnus who became more notable outside the sport is two-time Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali, who played under his original name of Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore.

Women's basketball

Football

The Saint Mary's Gaels football team competed in the NCAA as a Division II Independent football program. The school's first football team was fielded in 1892, finishing in 2004.

Club sports

SMC also sponsors more than a dozen club sports. [7]

Men's rugby

The men's rugby team, the oldest athletic club at the school, plays college rugby in Division 1-A in the California conference. The team has enjoyed a rise in the past few years, revitalized with a new coaching staff and increasing alumni support. The Gaels finished the season ranked among the top ten college rugby teams in the country for three consecutive years. Head coach Tim O'Brien was named coach of the year by American Rugby News following the 2006-07 season. [8]

The Gaels had a strong season in 2007-08, reaching the semifinals of the USA Rugby National Championship losing to Cal 41-31, [9] and finished the 2007-08 season ranked #2 in the nation for Division 1. [10] The Gaels were led that season by Kevin Swiryn, who went on enjoy a rugby career with the U.S. national team. [11] The Gaels finished the 2010-11 season ranked fifth in the nation following a trip to the national semifinals. [12] The 2011-12 season saw St. Mary's achieve a perfect record en route to winning the Pacific Coast Conference championship, a non-conference 20-18 victory over defending national champion Cal, [13] and defeating Utah 24-15 in the national quarterfinals to advance to the national semifinals before losing to Arkansas State.

The Gaels were successful in the 2012-13 season, again posting an undefeated conference record to win the California Conference. [14] In the 2013 spring playoffs, St. Mary's defeated Colorado in the quarterfinals and Cal Poly in the semifinals, before losing 16-14 in the national championship match to Life University. In 2014, St. Mary's defeated powerhouses BYU and Cal during the regular season. [15] In the 2014 D1A final, the Gaels defeated Life University 21-6 to win the Division 1-A college rugby championship, led by finals MVP Cooper Maloney, for the first national title in the program's history, and finished the season ranked as the #1 team in college rugby. [12] In 2015, St. Mary's repeated as Division 1-A champion, again defeating Life University in the final 30-24 behind the efforts of MVP center Dylan Audesley. [16]

The Gaels have also been successful in rugby sevens. The Gaels reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships. St. Mary's won the 2012 West Coast 7s tournament, with a semifinal 17-12 win over favored Cal, and a win in the final over Cal Poly 35-19. [17] The Gaels finished third at the 2012 California 7s. [18] The Gaels participated at the 2012 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, defeating Texas A&M and Navy to reach the semifinals. The Gaels also participated at the 2013 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, finishing second.

Related Research Articles

The West Coast Conference Men's Basketball Tournament is the annual concluding tournament for the NCAA college basketball in the West Coast Conference (WCC). The winner of the tournament each year is guaranteed a place in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament for that season. Through 2008, the tournament was played on a rotating basis at the home courts of member teams. The 2009 edition was the first played at a neutral site, namely Orleans Arena in Paradise, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas. The semifinals are broadcast nationally on ESPN2 and the championship is broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Randy Bennett American basketball player and basketball coach

Randall William Bennett is an American college basketball coach and the current head men's basketball coach at Saint Mary's College of California. Despite the longtime dominance of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the West Coast Conference, Bennett has led Saint Mary's to many titles. He led the team to several second-place finishes and seven NCAA tournament appearances, culminating in regular season conference championships in 2011, 2012 and 2016 as well as WCC tournament championships in 2010, 2012 and 2019.

Kelly Graves

Kelly Lee Graves is the current head women's basketball coach at the University of Oregon. Previously, Graves was the head women's basketball coach at St. Mary's from 1997 to 2000, as well as Gonzaga University from 2000 to 2014. He was formerly an assistant coach for the Portland Pilots (1994–1997) and St. Mary Gaels, where he later got his first head coaching stint with the Gaels from 1997 to 2000. From the 2004–2005 season to the 2013–2014 season, he guided Gonzaga to ten consecutive West Coast Conference regular season titles. The 2007 team went 13–1 in conference play, and later won the WCC conference tournament. The school also received its first ever NCAA tournament appearance. He was named WCC co-coach of the year for his accomplishments. In 2005, 2010, and 2011, Gonzaga went undefeated in WCC regular season play.

Saint Marys Gaels mens basketball

The Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball team represents Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California, competing in the West Coast Conference of the NCAA. The team plays home games in the University Credit Union Pavilion, capacity 3,500; it is one of the smaller gyms in the WCC. The current head coach is Randy Bennett, who is the school's all-time wins leader. The Gaels have appeared in ten NCAA Tournaments—1959, 1989, 1997, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017, and 2019.

Richard Barton "Mickey" McConnell is an American former professional basketball player and current assistant coach for the Saint Mary's Gaels of the West Coast Conference. He played college basketball at Saint Mary's College of California. In 2011, he was named West Coast Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year. McConnell was drafted in 31st round of the 2011 MLB First Year Player Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 2011–12 West Coast Conference men's basketball season begins with practices in October 2011 and ends with the 2012 West Coast Conference Men's Basketball Tournament from February 29- March 5, 2012 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The regular season begins on the weekend of November 11, with the conference schedule starting on December 29.

Lisa Mispley Fortier is an American basketball coach, currently the head coach of the women's basketball team at Gonzaga University.

Paul Thomas (basketball)

Paul Bernard Thomas is the women's basketball head coach at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California. He has also served as head coach at Cal Poly Pomona and Hamline University.

2014–15 Saint Marys Gaels mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2014–15 Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball team represented Saint Mary's College of California during the 2014–15 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. This was head coach Randy Bennett's fourteenth season at Saint Mary's. The Gaels competed in the West Coast Conference and played their home games at the McKeon Pavilion. They finished the season 21–10, 13–5 in WCC play to finish in a tie for second place. They lost in the quarterfinals of the WCC Tournament to Portland. They were invited to the National Invitation Tournament where they lost in the first round to Vanderbilt.

2015–16 Saint Marys Gaels mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2015–16 Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball team represented Saint Mary's College of California during the 2015–16 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. This was head coach Randy Bennett's fifteenth season at Saint Mary's. The Gaels competed in the West Coast Conference and played their home games at the McKeon Pavilion. They finished the season 29–6, 15–3 in WCC play to win a share of the WCC regular season conference championship. They defeated Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine to advance to the championship game of the WCC Tournament where they lost to Gonzaga. As a regular season conference champion, and #1 seed in their conference tournament, who failed to win their conference tournament, they received an automatic bid to the National Invitation Tournament. As a #2 seed, they defeated New Mexico State and Georgia to advance to the quarterfinals where they lost to before losing to Valparaiso.

2016–17 Gonzaga Bulldogs mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2016–17 Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball team represented Gonzaga University in the 2016–17 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The team was led by head coach Mark Few, who was in his 18th season as head coach. The team played its home games at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Washington. The Bulldogs played in their 37th season as a member of the West Coast Conference.

2016–17 West Coast Conference mens basketball season Sports season

The 2016–17 West Coast Conference men's basketball season began with practices on September 30, 2016 and ended with the 2017 West Coast Conference Men's Basketball Tournament March 2–7, 2017. The regular season began on November 11, 2016, with the conference schedule starting December 29, 2016. This was the 66th season for WCC men's basketball, and the 28th under its current name of "West Coast Conference". The conference was founded in 1952 as the California Basketball Association, became the West Coast Athletic Conference in 1956, and dropped the word "Athletic" in 1989.

2016–17 Saint Marys Gaels womens basketball team Intercollegiate basketball season

The 2016–17 Saint Mary's Gaels women's basketball team represented Saint Mary's College of California in the 2016–17 NCAA Division I women's basketball season. The Gales, led by eleventh year head coach Paul Thomas, played their home games at the McKeon Pavilion and were members of the West Coast Conference. They finished the season 20–13, 13–5 in WCC play to finish in a tie for second place. They advanced to the championship game of the WCC Women's Tournament where they lost to Gonzaga. They received an at-large bid to the WNIT where they lost to Colorado State in the first round.

2016–17 Saint Marys Gaels mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2016–17 Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball team represented Saint Mary's College of California during the 2016–17 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. This was head coach Randy Bennett's 16th season at Saint Mary's. The Gaels competed in the West Coast Conference and played their home games at the McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, California. They finished the season 29–5, 16–2 in WCC play to finish in second place. In the WCC Tournament, they defeated Portland and BYU before losing to Gonzaga in the championship game. They received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. As the No. 7 seed in the West region, they beat VCU in the First Round before losing to No. 2-seeded Arizona in the Second Round.

2017–18 Saint Marys Gaels mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2017–18 Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball team represented Saint Mary's College of California during the 2017–18 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The team was led by head coach Randy Bennett in his 17th season at Saint Mary's. The Gaels played their home games at the McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, California as members of the West Coast Conference. They finished the season 30–6, 16–2 in West Coast Conference play to finish in second place. As the No. 2 seed in the WCC Tournament, they defeated Pepperdine in the quarterfinals before losing to BYU in the semifinals. They were one of the last four teams not selected for the NCAA Tournament and as a result earned a No. 1 seed in the National Invitation Tournament where they defeated Southeastern Louisiana in the first round and Washington in the second round before losing to Utah in the quarterfinals.

2018–19 Saint Marys Gaels mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2018–19 Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball team represents Saint Mary's College of California during the 2018–19 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The team is led by head coach Randy Bennett in his 18th season at Saint Mary's. The Gaels play their home games at the McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, California as members of the West Coast Conference.

2018–19 Saint Marys Gaels womens basketball team Intercollegiate basketball season

The 2018–19 Saint Mary's Gaels women's basketball team represents Saint Mary's College of California in the 2018–19 NCAA Division I women's basketball season. The Gales, led by thirteenth year head coach Paul Thomas, play their home games at the McKeon Pavilion and were members of the West Coast Conference. They finished the season 21–12, 12–6 in WCC play to finish in fourth place. They advanced to the semifinals of the WCC Women's Tournament where they lost to Gonzaga. They received an at-large bid to the Women's National Invitation Tournament where defeated Hawaii in the first round before losing to WCC member Pepperdine in the second round.

2019–20 Saint Marys Gaels mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2019–20 Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball team represented Saint Mary's College of California during the 2019–20 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The team was led by head coach Randy Bennett in his 19th season at Saint Mary's. The Gaels played their home games at the University Credit Union Pavilion in Moraga, California as members of the West Coast Conference. They finished the season 26–8, 11–5 in WCC play to finish in a tie for third place. They defeated Pepperdine and BYU to advance to the championship game of the WCC Tournament where they lost to Gonzaga. Despite being a virtual lock to receive an at-large bid to NCAA Tournament, all postseason play was cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jordan Ford American basketball player

Jordan Ford is an American basketball player. He played college basketball for the Saint Mary's Gaels.

2020–21 Saint Marys Gaels mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2020–21 Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball team represents Saint Mary's College of California during the 2020–21 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The team is led by head coach Randy Bennett in his 20th season at Saint Mary's. The Gaels play their home games at the University Credit Union Pavilion in Moraga, California as members of the West Coast Conference.

References

  1. Gaels Color Guide (PDF). Saint Mary’s College of California Style Guide. January 10, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  2. "Saint Mary's College". Stmarys-ca.edu. September 26, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  3. West Coast Conference. "West Coast Conference | Official Athletics Site". Wccsports.com. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  4. "Mascots explained". Archived from the original on August 17, 2009. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  5. "McConnell, Allen hot from outside as Gaels upset Bulldogs". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  6. Kroner, Steve (March 2, 2013). "NCAA sanctions St. Mary's hoops team". SFGate. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  7. "Club Sports | Saint Mary's College". Stmarys-ca.edu. January 8, 2014. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  8. "Head Men's Rugby Coach Tim O'Brien Named "College Coach of the Year"", American Rugby News, May 14, 2007.
  9. College Premier Division
  10. "American Rugby News Ranks Gaels as #2 in Final Standings", Saint Mary's College, May 6, 2008.
  11. United States national rugby sevens team
  12. 1 2 "A Tradition of Excellence", Lamorinda Weekly, Michael Sakoda, June 18, 2014.
  13. "Saint Mary's is Victorious Over Cal 20-18", Saint Mary's College, April 16, 2012.
  14. "St. Mary's Wins California Conference", D1A Rugby, March 18, 2013.
  15. "No. 4 Saint Mary's topples top-ranked Cal in rugby", Contra Costa Times, April 5, 2014.
  16. "Time Runs Out on Life as Gaels Repeat", Rugby Today, Evan Lappen, May 9, 2015.
  17. "St. Mary's Wins West Coast 7s", Rugby Mag, October 7, 2012.
  18. "San Diego State Wins California 7s", Rugby Mag, November 11, 2012.