Anthony Ashnault and Nick Suriano are the most recent champions to ring the bell perched above Old Queens, here is a reflection of the top 5 victories that deserved a ring of the sacred bell in Rutgers history.
Anthony Ashnault and Nick Suriano
It was a historic day for Rutgers wrestling and the University’s athletic department at large.
Junior 133-pounder Nick Suriano and graduate student 149-pounder Anthony Ashnault brought the first-ever individual national titles to the Banks.
Both wrestlers conquered the brackets of their individual weight classes and finished off the gauntlets against familiar opponents.
Ashnault met Micah Jordan in three title bouts in the 2019 season, winning all three and Suriano got revenge over longtime high school rival Daton Fix.
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer led the Rutgers women’s basketball team to three road victories in the final three rounds of the 2014 Women's National Invitational Tournament, capping off a remarkable underdog run to a WNIT title.
The Knights’ first three victories of the tournament were played at home where they bested Delaware, Harvard and finally in-state rival Seton Hall in a double-overtime thriller.
Then on the road, they upset Bowling Green, University of South Florida and the University of Texas at El Paso to claim the program’s first WNIT title down in the Longhorn State.
More than three decades before Stringer’s squad claimed a national title, the 1982 Rutgers women’s basketball team went on a similar run to the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women’s championship under the leadership of head coach Theresa Grentz, and it would also finish against a Texas based program.
Spearheaded by MVP Patty Coyle’s career-high 30 points, the Knights grinded out an 83-77 victory over national powerhouse Texas in the final round at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Those early-80s Rutgers teams were led by a core of veterans that included June Olkowski, Terry Dorner and Patty Delehanty.
Final Four Qualifiers
Famously, the Rutger’s men’s basketball team’s undefeated season in 1976 was actually predicted by The Daily Targum.
According to an article from The New York Times, former Targum sports editor Alan Venook published a statement prior to the start of the season that that year’s team “could go undefeated.”
Venook’s prediction came to fruition, as the 1976 team under the leadership of head coach Tom Young, went a perfect 25-0 in the regular season, and went on a run that led to the defeat of Virginia Military Institute 91-75 to punch its ticket to the final four.
Times have certainly changed since 1976, a year that saw Rutgers claim undefeated seasons in each of the two biggest college sports.
Eight months after the men’s basketball team wrapped up an undefeated season, the Rutgers football team defeated Colgate in the final game of the regular season by a score of 17-9 to finish the season a perfect 11-0.
They finished the season with the nation's top-ranked defense, an AP ranking of 17 and even had an opportunity to play in the first-ever Independence Bowl, but legendary head coach Frank Burns declined.