35th Anniversary - Feature 7
Stronger than ever, the Atlantic 10 Conference continued to gain stature in the mid-1990s, while maintaining its commitment to enhancing the academic and athletic integrity of the league as a whole. During the 1995-96 school year, the A-10 expanded its national footprint and broadened its competitive scope, extending membership to five schools that exemplified A-10 institutions on and off the field of play - Dayton, Fordham, La Salle, Virginia Tech and Xavier. In addition, Massachusetts and Saint Joseph's men's basketball programs reveled in the national spotlight, while Marcus Camby of UMass received the John Wooden Award and George Washington volleyball standout Svetlana Vtyurina graduated with an NCAA record that still stands today.
Fans, once again the power is in your hand. Tell us your favorite moment of 1995-96 by choosing from one of the five highlights listed below. We will reveal your choice on Jan. 17 in conjunction with the eighth highlight in the 35th anniversary series.
The Atlantic 10 Becomes a 12-Member League
The Atlantic 10 undergoes an evolution with the additions of Dayton, Fordham, La Salle, Virginia Tech and Xavier for the start of the 1995-96 season, transforming the league into a 12-school entity. That year, the A-10 increased its championship slate to 21 sports and placed 20 teams and 11 individuals in postseason competition.
1996 National Coach of the Year
Massachusetts' Men's Basketball
In 1996, Massachusetts capped off an incredible run by becoming the first men's basketball team in A-10 history to capture five straight regular season and tournament titles, while advancing deep into the NCAA Tournament. The Minutemen were ranked No. 1 for 10 weeks during the season and finished the year with a record of 35-2, breaking the A-10 single-season record for victories, a mark previously held by Temple (32-4, 1987; 32-2, 1988). UMass entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed and knocked off Central Florida, Stanford, Arkansas and Georgetown to advance to the Final Four, before falling to eventual national champion Kentucky, 81-74, in the semifinals.
Head Coach John Calipari was named the Naismith, NABC, Basketball Times and Sporting News National Coach of the Year in 1996 and was also selected as the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year for the third time in four seasons.
|Phil Martelli is in his 16th season|
as Saint Joseph's Head Coach
Saint Joseph's Men's Basketball
Veteran head coach Phil Martelli made an immediate impact on the basketball world during his first year at Saint Joseph's, guiding the Hawks to the NIT finals in 1996. That year, SJU went 19-13 overall and 9-7 in the A-10, including a victory over No. 24 George Washington and pair of narrow overtime losses (L, 94-89; L, 68-66) to Massachusetts (ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively).
Saint Joseph's cruised through the NIT, picking up wins over Iona (82-78), Providence (82-62), Rhode Island (76-59) and Alabama (74-69), before falling to Nebraska, 60-56, in the finals at Madison Square Garden in front of nearly 12,500 fans.
|Marcus Camby, selected second overall|
in 1996 NBA Draft
Marcus Camby Selected National Player of the Year
Junior Marcus Camby received the John Wooden Award and was selected as the Naismith National Player of the Year as well as the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year in 1996. He also was voted Player of the Year by the Associated Press, United Press International, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, Basketball Times, The Sporting News and CBS/Chevrolet.
Camby led the A-10 in both scoring (20.5 ppg) and blocks (3.9 bpg) and ranked sixth in rebounds (8.1 rpg) as he helped lead the Minutemen to their best record in program history. He held the league season single-game record in points (38), blocks (9) and was second in field goals made (14).
Camby left Massachusetts as the school's all-time leading career and single-season shot blocker with 336 and 128, respectively. Camby scored 1,387 points in his career to rank in the Minutemen's top 10 all-time scorers. He was selected second overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors - the highest pick in league history.
|George Washington's Svetlana Vtyurina|
Click to see pictures
George Washington's Svetlana Vtyurina
George Washington captured the 1995 Atlantic 10 Conference Volleyball Championship and earned the league's automatic bid to compete in the NCAA Tournament. The Colonials advanced to second round play behind the efforts of All-American Svetlana Vtyurina. A four-time standout volleyball letterwinner from 1992-95, Vtyurina, the Colonials' only volleyball All-American (in 1994 by the AVCA), owns both the NCAA record for kills in a match (56) and in a career (3,043).
Her name appears in the GW volleyball record book nearly 30 times and she is the only GW student-athlete to hold all-time NCAA records in two statistical categories (career kills and single match kills.). A 6-foot-4 outside hitter, she is the only student-athlete in Atlantic 10 history to be named Player of the Year as a freshman, an award she also garnered as a senior. While she earned A-10 All-Tournament honors as a freshman (1992), she was named the A-10 Tournament's MVP three straight years (1993-95). Teams on which she played had a spectacular overall record of 118-28 and participated in three NCAA Tournaments, advancing to the second round in each of those seasons, and one National Invitational Volleyball Classic.
Academically, Vtyurina's 3.67 GPA in finance three times earned her GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors three times (1993-95). As a senior, she was named the 1996 Lynn George Outstanding Senior Woman Athlete Award winner for academic and athletic excellence. Two years later, she earned her MBA at GW and was a prestigious Presidential Administrative Fellow postgraduate student.
Scroll through and click the icons below for the membership history of each institution.