35th Anniversary - Feature 6
Click to Play: Feature on Massachusetts' Ron Villone
Through its first 15 years, the Atlantic 10 Conference had established itself as a national contender. Men's and women's basketball teams were garnering their share of the spotlight and individual student-athletes were being acknowledged for their achievements with a plethora of national awards, including All-America honors and National Player of the Year citations. That momentum carried on into the early 1990's as well.
The recognition, however, was not limited to just the basketball programs. The A-10's Olympic sports were exploding onto the national scene as well. In 1990 Rutgers' men's soccer, led by phenom Alexi Lalas, advanced to the NCAA College Cup, basketball's version of the Final Four, for the second consecutive year. The Knights fell in the championship game to UCLA, as the two teams were forced to penalty kicks after a scoreless tie and four overtime periods.
During his four seasons at Rutgers, Lalas earned All-American honors on three occasions, including first-team recognition in 1991. That same year, the Bloomfield Hills, Mich., native received the Hermann Trophy, awarded annually by the Missouri Athletic Club to the top male college soccer player in the country. In 1992, Lalas was selected to compete on the first of his two U.S. Olympic teams ('92, `96).
|Rutgers' Alexi Lalas|
Following Lalas' stellar fall campaign, West Virginia's Rosemary Kosiorek received national acclaim for the Atlantic 10 Conference during the winter of 1992. A 5-5 guard for the Mountaineers, Kosiorek remains one of the most decorated women's basketball players in school history. After leading WVU to a 26-4 record, a No. 11 national ranking and a 22-game winning streak during her senior year, Kosiorek received the 1992 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame as the nation's best player under 5-5. A four-year contributor, she was a Kodak All-American (1992) and a finalist for the Margaret Wade Trophy (given to the college player of the year), a three-time All-Atlantic 10 pick (1990-92), and she was the 1992 Atlantic 10 player of the year. A first team Academic All-American, Kosiorek graduated with honors from WVU in 1992.
That spring, Saint Joseph's Donna Crumety also brought national attention to the Atlantic 10 Conference, as she captured the NCAA Championship in the triple jump. During her tenure with the Hawks, Crumety set 11 school records - seven of which she still owns today - while remaining the only SJU student-athlete to win an NCAA Championship.
Massachusetts gymnast Tammy Marshall earned the vault title at the 1992 NCAA Gymnastics Championship and Minutemen pitcher Ron Villone was honored with a spot on the 1992 United States Olympics team. Villone, who was named third-team All-America (1992) after recording 89 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings of work, was chosen as the number one draft choice - 14th overall pick - of the Seattle Mariners in the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft.
Also during the 1991-92 academic year, West Virginia tennis standouts Mark Booras and Rodrigo Gonzalez earned a trip to the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship, Booras in singles play and the pair as a doubles tandem. In 1992, the Massachusetts softball team became the first Atlantic 10 school to reach the Women's College World Series, and the league sent a pair of representatives to the 1992 NCAA Field Hockey Championship as both Temple and Massachusetts earned at-large berths. Rhode Island also earned a trip to the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship in 1991.
|West Virginia's Rosemary Kosiorek|
1992 Kodak All American
The Atlantic 10 Conference was basking in the limelight in the early 1990s. Behind the efforts of impressive student-athletes such as Lalas, Crumety and Kosiorek, A-10 schools were being propelled even further onto the national scene - a trend that would continue throughout the 1990's.
A-10 fans have spoken. Fans selected Temple earning the number-one ranking and John Chaney claiming consensus National Coach of the Year honors as their favorite moment of the 1987-88 season.
Scroll through and click the icons below for the membership history of each institution.