Local paper celebrates team’s run in NCAA

A celebration for the men’s basketball team was held Tuesday evening at The Moon nightclub.

The festivity, which was sponsored by the Capital Outlook, was in honor of the team’s accomplishments this season. FAMU men’s basketball team went from having a losing record, to winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament and advancing to play in the NCAA qualifying game against Lehigh University.

The Rattlers were victorious and moved on to play in the first round of NCAA tournament against the University of Kentucky.

Mike Gillespie Sr., FAMU’s head basketball coach, said the team definitely deserved the opportunity.

“It was a year of sorrow and a year of joy,” Gillespie said. He said the team experienced a tremendous mid-season turnaround.

“We were one of three Florida schools that qualified for the tournament. The team across the street didn’t.”

However, Gillespie was surprised at fan support. “It is unbelievable,” he said. “The more we won, the more support we had. We feed off of that.”

President Fred Gainous and Tallahassee Mayor John Marks III were in attendance to offer words of praise. He thanked Gillespie and the coaching staff for their hard work with the team, and gave a special thank you to the members of the men’s team for choosing FAMU.

He also reminded the audience that even though Kentucky’s team may not have known about the Rattlers before the game, they certainly will not forget FAMU any time soon.

DeLane Adams, who works with the County Commission, was on hand to deliver a special message on behalf of the Commission. He carried a resolution to the team signed by the commissioners.

“This basketball team has made Rattlers, the county and the state proud,” Adams said.

Rattler guard Terrence Woods said this new attention feels like royal treatment.

“It’s like no other feeling,” said the senior from Memphis, Tenn.

Woods said this was an awesome way to end the season and his college career.

“All the hard work paid off,” he said. “Now I have a ring on my finger.”

After the event, the team and the coaches were able to sign autographs and take pictures.Fans that were in attendance sang the Rattlers praises.

“It is good that we honor the team,” said LaToya Grant, 21, a political science student from Jacksonville.

“We should reward the organizations that put FAMU on the map.”

Contact Lindsay Pollard at lensay383@hotmail.com