A familiar song filled Patrick Gym once more Monday night.
"My heart was beating right out of my shirt.", said former UVM men's basketball coach Tom Brennen when he heard the opening beats of his signature walk out song, 'Jackie Wilson Says', by Van Morrison. "When you see that and you see the place full and know that we started that. We started that. I looked at my wife and said, 'look at this, look at what we've done.'"
UVM and Catamount Country rolling out the Green and Gold carpet for Brennan, holding a ceremony before Monday's men's basketball game with Siena to dedicate center court at Patrick Gym as Tom Brennan Court.
"It was amazing, the whole thing was amazing.", said Brennan. "And the community has always been so good to me. The community has always backed us."
The evening brought generations of former UVM Hoopcats back to Patrick, including stars from Brennan's beloved 3-time America East championship teams...Taylor Coppenrath, David Hehn and T-J Sorrentine to honor the coach that launched Vermont men's basketball onto the national stage.
"We had those guys at the end and they were so good and so loveable and easy to root for.", said Brennan. "So to be a part of that. Tomorrow, I've got to take the dog out, I've got to take the garbage out. But for tonight, and for the five days leading up to tonight, it couldn't have been much better really. There isn't much better."
And after all that excitement and emotion...there was a game to be played. The UVM men looking to snap a three game losing streak against Siena and captain Trae Bell-Haynes was back after missing Saturday's loss at Northeastern in the concussion protocol.
The Cats put together a total team effort. Bell-Haynes, Ernie Duncan and Anthony Lamb hit for ten, ten and eleven points.
Everett Duncan hit four of four three point tries for a new career high 12 points.
Freshman guard Stef Smith dropped in 12 and matched Ernie Duncan for a team best five assists and senior Drew Urquhart continued his strong play this season with a team high 13 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots as the Cats led by 16 at the half and rolled to an 81-57 win, improving to 7-4 on a night everyone on hand will remember for a long time.
"This one was for TB.", said UVM head coach John Becker. "No doubt about it. Everything he's done for me, for us, for everybody in this community and this state, this one was for TB for sure. We wanted to make sure we finished off this night with a win."
"Not to put any pressure on, but you never want to lose when it's someone's court dedication or somebody is being awarded with something.", add Urquhart. "We did it for TB, and we also did it because we lost three in a row and we needed to get out of that. But to win on the first night on this court meant a lot to us and I hope it meant a lot to him."