Man versus Ball: Vermont should dedicate court to Tom Brennan

Former Vermont head coach Tom Brennan celebrates the Catamounts' upset over four-seed Syracuse in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
Former Vermont head coach Tom Brennan celebrates the Catamounts' upset over four-seed Syracuse in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
Former Vermont head coach Tom Brennan celebrates the Catamounts’ upset over four-seed Syracuse in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

I shouldn’t have to write this. It seems so obvious. Plain and simple: The basketball court at the University of Vermont should be dedicated to former men’s basketball coach Tom Brennan, who helmed the team for 19 years.

Most memorably, 10 years ago this March, his team upset a heavily favored Syracuse team in the first round of the NCAA tournament. In short, TB won the big one, the near impossible one.

When TB took over the UVM reigns, it was inconceivable that the Cats could achieve such a feat. At at least one point, TB’s team was ranked dead last in Division I. UVM was considered a hockey haven and basketball graveyard. But TB gave the hoops program at UVM life. He did it with fewer scholarships than his competitors. He did it with less than stellar facilities. He did it without a recruiting gold mine on his doorstep.

He did it with passion, persistence and humor – lots of humor. And even if TB didn’t win that first round NCAA game, I’d still be writing this, asking that he get his due.

TB has been much more than a basketball coach. He has been a pillar in the community. He has been beyond generous with his time, from everything from high school graduations to charitable causes to stuff I don’t know about. Coach K has his court. TB should have his. In my mind, he’s bigger than any other. He’s ours – and he let everyone enjoy his team’s success. So give TB his court. Ten years after his team shocked the world, it’s time.

Jon Hart is the author of Man versus Ball: One Ordinary Guy and His Extraordinary Sports Adventures, www.manversusball.com.