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City welcomes MAAC Conference for 2012-14

Date: 1/24/2011

Jan. 26, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — While 2011 will be the last year the city will host the NCAA Division II Men's Championship, another conference announced Jan. 19 will make the city its new home for three years.

Officials from the Basketball Hall of Fame and The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) announced the conference will have its 2012, 2013 and 2014 men's and women's championships at the MassMutual Center at a press conference at the Hall of Fame.

The conference consists of Canisius College (Buffalo, N.Y.), Fairfield University (Fairfield, Conn.), Iona College (New Rochelle, N.Y.), Loyola University Maryland (Baltimore, Md.), Manhattan College (Riverdale, N.Y.), Marist College (Pough-keepsie, N.Y.), Niagara University (Niagara University, N.Y.), Rider University (Lawrenceville, N.J.), Saint Peter's College (Jersey City, N.J.) and Siena College (Albany, N.Y.).

Hall of Fame President and CEO John Doleva said the two-week championship should have twice the $1.2 million in economic impact that the NCAA Division II Men's Championship has brought to the area.

This fall, the Hall of Fame will be installing a new exhibit on MAAC, its history and its schools. Part of the exhibit will be dedicated to portraying the life of a college student-athlete.

The MAAC is represented by two alumni in the Hall of Fame, former National Basketball Association (NBA) great Calvin Murphy and NBA coach Hubie Brown, both graduates of Niagara University.

Ed McLaughlin, the director of athletics at Niagara University said the MAAC has a "deep and rich basketball tradition." The championship will "show off how deep that tradition is."

Richard Ensor, the MAAC commissioner, said the championship is being conducted this year at Bridgeport, Conn. with previous tournaments presented in Albany.

What appealed to the members of the MAAC was the chance to work with the MassMutual Center and the Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as host the championship at a "neutral site."

He said the championships draw between 25,000 to 40,000 fans and he believes Springfield is in a good location for the MAAC audience.

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