Albany Great Danes men's basketball

The UAlbany Great Danes basketball team is the basketball team that represent the University at Albany, State University of New York in Albany, New York. The school's team currently competes in the America East Conference and plays its home games at SEFCU Arena. The team played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2006, 2007, 2013, and 2014, 2015. They also made the CIT in 2016 and 2017, and are currently coached by Will Brown.

Albany Great Danes
2019–20 Albany Great Danes men's basketball team
UniversityUniversity at Albany, State University of New York
Head coachWill Brown (17th season)
ConferenceAmerica East
LocationAlbany, New York
ArenaSEFCU Arena
(Capacity: 4,553)
NicknameGreat Danes
ColorsPurple and Gold[1]
NCAA Tournament Appearances
2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015
Conference Tournament Champions
2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015
Conference Regular Season Champions
2006, 2015

Team history

The Early Years: "Doc" Sauers

Richard “Doc” Sauers served as Great Danes men's basketball coach from 1955 to 1997, with a short break in the 1987-88 season. He led the program to eleven NCAA College Division/Division III and four NAIA post-season tournament appearances in his tenure. Sauers finished his career with a 702–330 record in 41 seasons. Sauers achieved the 700-win mark on February 8, 1997, in an 89–71 victory over the University of Bridgeport. He would retire one month later and be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2004. A banner is flown in the rafters of the SEFCU Arena honoring Sauers accomplishment of 702 wins.

The 2005–06 Season: "Why Not Us?"

The process to become a Division I program was slow. From the 1999–2000 season, the first year in Division I, to the end of the 2004–05 season, UAlbany recorded a 48–118 record. The team finished with over 10 victories in only two seasons. However, in the 2005–06 campaign, the Great Danes compiled a 21–11 season. In that season, the Great Danes would take on both the Florida Gators and UCLA Bruins, who would play each other for the national championship. On March 11, 2006, the men's basketball team won the America East conference tournament, earning the school (and the SUNY system) its first ever berth to the NCAA Tournament, defeating the University of Vermont 80–67 in a sold out RACC. The Great Danes were seeded #16 in the Washington, D.C., region and were matched up against top-seeded UConn. Despite the #16 seed being 0–87 before UAlbany took the floor, Head Coach Will Brown believed that his team had a chance to beat UConn in the tournament. With that, the team took the motto, "Why Not Us?".

On March 17, 2006, the Danes nearly became the first #16 seed to defeat a #1 seed in the Division I tournament. The Danes, down only 1 at the half, went on a 13–0 run early in the second half to take a double-digit lead over the Huskies. With the game televised on CBS, the Danes led 50–38 with just over 11 minutes left in the game. However, a 34-9 run by the Huskies' and stifling defense stopped the Danes' offense, the Huskies averted the upset, winning 72–59. The game against UConn gave the program instant notoriety.

The 2006–07 Season: "Lucky 13"

In the 2006–07 season, the Great Danes faced a much stronger America East conference. The Great Danes would accomplish a 20–9 regular season, but be the #2 seed in the conference tournament. This forced the Great Danes to travel to Vermont, who was the #1 seed for the conference championship, and were previously 0–7. On March 10, 2007, the Danes' won their second consecutive America East title beating Vermont 60–59 in the conference final on a last second steal by Carl Ross and Brent Wilson.

The Great Danes would be seeded 13th in the South Division of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Creating a new motto "Lucky 13" which was worn on T-shirts sold on campus. On March 16, 2007, two busses carrying approximately 80 students would drive a total of 11 hours to see their Danes at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, to see the #13 seed lose to the #4 seed Virginia Cavaliers 84–57 in the first round of the Tournament.

Prior to the conclusion of the season, the program would retire the number 31 of player Jamar Wilson. Wilson finished his career as the school's all-time scorer with 2,164 points, plus ranked second in assists with 488. Wilson also became the first player in school history to score 500 points or more in three different seasons. He would also win two America East Player of the Year Awards, something only three other people in conference history had achieved. No athlete in the program's history has had their number retired prior.

The 2008–09 Season: UAlbany Hosts the Tourney

With only two of their remaining pieces from the "Why Not Us?" team still intact, Brian Connelly and Jimmie Covington, the Danes would look to rebuild with eight newcomers to the team. They would start the season 0–2 after matchups with Big East opponents Villanova and DePaul in "homecoming" games for their seniors. A 5–0 run after the slow start would put the Danes' in prime position to upset their crosstown rival Siena Saints, who had just endured 3 loses over 4 days at the 2008 Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Florida. However the Danes' would fall short by seven points. The Great Danes would win three of their next four games including a game postponed for snow and difficult travel conditions in Fairfield, Connecticut, against Sacred Heart before closing out the calendar year against the defending national champions Kansas Jayhawks. The purple-and-gold squad would fall behind early and not show any signs of life against the Jayhawks, in a 79–43 loss on nationally televised ESPNU.

Entering conference play the Danes had an 8–5 record before falling to 8–6 and 0–1 in the conference with a loss to Hartford Hawks, after heading home the team would rebound with a last second win against conference favorite Boston U. Terriers 62–61 and also giving coach Will Brown his 100th career victory as head coach of the team. Following Brown's 100th win, the team would win for the third consecutive time in Burlington, Vermont, beating the heavily favored Catamounts by a score of 82–77, the team would then return home to beat I-88 rival Binghamton by a score of 72–66. However the team would struggle down the remainder of the conference schedule, winning only 3 of their final 12 conference games.

With the America East Conference Tournament at SEFCU Arena for the first time in Albany's 9-year history as a member of the conference; the Great Danes would head into the tournament as the #7 seed with a 6–10 conference record, and face the #2 seeded Catamounts yet again. Prior to the 2009 season the #7 seed had gone 0–23 in games against the #2 overall seed, however Albany would prevail and upset the higher seeded Catamounts 56–52, but would lose to UMBC in the semi-finals. Other tournament games included the #8–9 matchup in which the Hartford Hawks would beat Maine on Friday, March 6 to advance to a matchup against top-seeded Binghamton. The Bearcats would then beat the Hawks, and other semi-final games included UMBC upsetting the 3rd seeded Boston U. Terriers, and the UNH Wildcats would beat Stony Brook in the #4–5 matchup. The other Sunday semi-final matchup had #1 Binghamton beat #4 New Hampshire. Binghamton hosted UMBC on Saturday March 14 on ESPN2 for the 2009 Championship.

The 2012–13 and 2013-14 Seasons: The Year of the Upsets

In 2012–13, the Great Danes would go 21–10 in the regular season. The season was highlighted by games against Top 10 ranked Ohio State and a 63–62 victory against the University of Washington in Seattle on November 13, 2012. Despite 21 wins, UAlbany had lost twice to regular season champions Stony Brook, regular season runner-up Vermont and third place Boston University, giving many fans limited faith in making a run for a conference title. However, the Great Danes would knock off Maine 50–49 and upset Stony Brook 61–59 in the 2013 Conference Tournament, played at SEFCU Arena. On March 16, 2013, the Great Danes traveled to Vermont for a chance to win the AE Championship. Despite a 10–0 run by Vermont to start the game and being out-rebounded 34–20, the Great Danes pulled off the upset 53–49 to win the AE Championship and receive the conference automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. It was the third straight victory for the Danes in the AE Championship game and the third time beating Vermont for the title. UAlbany became the first #4 seed to win the conference tournament.

The Three-peat and "The Shot"

The 2013-14 season had many ups and downs for the Great Danes. The Great Danes played near .500 basketball for the entire season. They would finish 15-14 on the regular season, 9-7 in conference play, ranked #4 going into the conference tournament. With the tournament being hosted on their home court, UAlbany cruised to a first round win over UMBC. In the semifinals, the Great Danes pulled off the upset vs. #1 seed Vermont 67-58. The Great Danes were then forced to travel to Stony Brook for the Championship Game. On March 15, 2014, the Great Danes would defeat Stony Brook 69-60 to win their second straight AE Title and fourth title in nine years. On March 18, Albany won its first ever NCAA tournament victory, 71-64 over Mount St. Mary’s in the First Four Round of the tournament. They would go on to lose to Florida in the 2nd Round

Despite winning back-to-back championships, the Great Danes were selected fourth in preseason polls. The Great Danes opened the season 2-6, but finished the regular season 19-2 (15-1 in America East play). The Great Danes went into the America East Tournament as the #1 seed. UAlbany defeated Maine and squeaked by New Hampshire. They played Stony Brook at SEFCU Arena in a rematch of the previous year's championship. Stony Brook was the only conference team to beat the Danes during the regular season.

On March 14, 2015, in front of a sold out SEFCU Arena, the Great Danes defeated Stony Brook 51-50 to win their third straight conference title. The Great Danes won the game on a three-point shot by Peter Hooley with 1.6 seconds to go. "The Shot" gained national attention because of Hooley. Hooley, a native of Australia, left the team for nearly an entire month to be with his mother, who would sadly pass from colon cancer. Hooley stated after the game, "When you've got angels watching, you can do anything." Because of the game winning shot, Hooley and the Great Danes received national attention, as Hooley appeared on Sports Center and CBS' Road to March Madness Show. On March 20, 2015, The Great Danes fell to Oklahoma 69-60 in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament.


Current Coaching staff

All-Time Head Coaches

YearsCoachWinLossWin %Conference
NCAA Tournament
NCAA Titles
1913–1916Arch B. Swaim2610.722---
1916–1917Edward Wachter311.214---
1917–1919Arthur Maroney1011.476---
1919–1920Wilfred Clarke48.333---
1920–1924Francis Snavely731.184---
1924–1935Rutherford Baker7037.654---
1935–1936Paul Westhead79.438---
1936–1943G. Elliot Hatfield3157.352---
1945–1955Merlin Hathaway67107.385---
Doc Sauers702330.6802 (ECAC)24 (10 Division III / 9 ECAC /
4 NAIA /1 College Division)
1987–1988Barry Cavanaugh1610.615---
1997–2000Scott Hicks4439.530---
2000–2001Scott Beeten729.194---
2001–presentWill Brown261244.5175 (America East)5 (5 NCAA Tournament)-

Retired numbers

Albany Great Danes retired numbers
No. Player Year retired
31Jamar Wilson
702Doc Sauers

All-Time Records, Standings and Statistics

Coaching Records and Standings

YearCoachRegular SeasonConferencePost Season
WonLostWin %WonLostWin %Standing
Division III (Independent) (1909–1958)
1909–10 44.500--
1910–11 33.500--
1911–12 14.200--
1912–13Arch B. Swaim 73.700--
1913–14Arch B. Swaim 103.769--
1914–15Arch B. Swaim 51.833--
1915–16Arch B. Swaim 43.571--
1916–17Edward Wachter 311.214--
1917–18Arthur Maroney 48.333--
1918–19Arthur Maroney 63.667--
1919–20Wilfred Clarke 48.333--
1920–21Francis Snavely 66.500--
1921–22Francis Snavely 05.000--
1922–23Francis Snavely 19.100--
1923–24Francis Snavely 011.000--
1924–25Rutherford Baker 55.500--
1925–26Rutherford Baker 85.615--
1926–27Rutherford Baker 101.909--
1927–28Rutherford Baker 72.778--
1928–29Rutherford Baker 82.800--
1929–30Rutherford Baker 46.400--
1930–31Rutherford Baker 37.300--
1931–32Rutherford Baker 62.750--
1932–33Rutherford Baker 73.700--
1933–34Rutherford Baker 43.571--
1934–35Rutherford Baker 81.889--
1935–36Rutherford Baker 79.438--
1936–37G. Elliot Hatfield 610.375--
1937–38G. Elliot Hatfield 95.643--
1938–39G. Elliot Hatfield 66.500--
1939–40G. Elliot Hatfield 47.364--
1940–41G. Elliot Hatfield 210.167--
1941–42G. Elliot Hatfield 38.273--
1942–43G. Elliot Hatfield 111.083--
1945–46Merlin Hathaway 45.444--
1946–47Merlin Hathaway 214.125--
1947–48Merlin Hathaway 68.429--
1948–49Merlin Hathaway 714.333--
1949–50Merlin Hathaway 415.211--
1950–51Merlin Hathaway 613.316--
1951–52Merlin Hathaway 126.667--
1952–53Merlin Hathaway 119.550--
1953–54Merlin Hathaway 137.650--
1954–55Merlin Hathaway 216.111--
1955–56Richard Sauers 119.550--
1956–57Richard Sauers 175.723--
1957–58Richard Sauers 175.723--NAIA District 31 Tournament
(Loss to Rider 52–42)
Division III (SUNYAC) (1958–1995)
1958–59Richard Sauers 178.692--NAIA District 31 Tournament
(Win over Pratt 68–60)
(Loss to Fairleigh Dickinson 56–53)
1959–60Richard Sauers 1610.615--NAIA District 31 Tournament
(Loss to Maryland State 73–55)
(Loss to Pratt 61–55)
1960–61Richard Sauers 226.786--NAIA District 31 Tournament
(Win over Jersey City 64–63)
(Loss to Maryland State 69–53)
1961–62Richard Sauers 196.760--
1962–63Richard Sauers 1412.538--
1963–64Richard Sauers 1111.500--
1964–65Richard Sauers 166.727--
1965–66Richard Sauers 139.591--
1966–67Richard Sauers 157.682--
1967–68Richard Sauers 184.818--
1968–69Richard Sauers 186.750--NCAA College Division East Regionals
(Loss to Wagner 109–64)
(Win over Le Moyne 71–70)
1969–70Richard Sauers 139.591--
1970–71Richard Sauers 175.773--
1971–72Richard Sauers 176.739--
1972–73Richard Sauers 178.680--ECAC Upstate New York Tournament
(Win over St. Lawrence 69–55)
(Loss to Union 69–64)
1973–74Richard Sauers 178.680--ECAC Upstate New York Tournament
(Loss to Brockport 81–64)
(Win over Geneseo 94–73)
1974–75Richard Sauers 1510.600--NCAA Division III East Regionals
(Loss to St. Lawrence 82–63)
(Loss to Rensselaer 72–55)
1975–76Richard Sauers 1211.521--
1976–77Richard Sauers 197.731--NCAA Division III East Regionals
(Win over Ithaca 75–58)
(Loss to Oneonta 47–46)
1977–78Richard Sauers 159.625--ECAC Upstate New York Tournament
(Win over Oneonta 59–49)
(Win over Hamilton 101–95 in OT)
1978–79Richard Sauers 207.741--NCAA Diviosion III South Regionals
(Loss to Savannah State 82–81 in OT)
(Win over Lane 83–82 in OT)
1979–80Richard Sauers 216.778--NCAA Division III East Regionals
(Win over St. Lawrence 75–66)
(Loss to Potsdam 87–72)
1980–81Richard Sauers 235.821--NCAA Division III East Regionals
(Win over St. Lawrence 45–44)
(Loss to Potsdam 68–63)
1981–82Richard Sauers 1810.643--ECAC Upstate New York Tournament
(Win over Oswego 70–66)
(Loss to Hamilton 64–54)
1982–83Richard Sauers 1710.630--ECAC Upstate New York Tournament
(Loss to Rochester 90–76)
1983–84Richard Sauers 1411.560--ECAC Upstate New York Tournament
(Loss to Binghamton 46–44)
1984–85Richard Sauers 226.786--NCAA Division III East Regionals
(Loss to Worcester Polyechnic 58–57)
(Win over Westfield State 78–70)
1985–86Richard Sauers 189.667--ECAC Upstate New York Tournament
(Win over Utica 98–58)
(Loss to Binghamton 62–61)
1986–87Barry Cavanaugh 217.750--ECAC Upstate New York Tournament
(Win over Hartwick 72–60)
(Win over Plattsburgh 73–72)
(Loss to Hamilton 65–62)
1987–88Richard Sauers 1610.615--
1988–89Richard Sauers 208.714--ECAC Upstate New York Tournament
(Win over Union 74–60)
(Win over St. John Fisher 85–75)
(Win over Geneseo 83–76)
1989–90Richard Sauers 209.690--NCAA Division III East Regionals
(Win over Potsdam 85–75)
(Loss to North Adams 69–66)
(Loss to Southeastern Massachusetts 92–91)
1990–91Richard Sauers 1412.538--
1991–92Richard Sauers 217.750--NCAA Division III East Regionals
(Win over New York University 72–66)
(Loss to Rochester 75–49)
1992–93Richard Sauers 1510.600--
1993–94Richard Sauers 253.893--NCAA Division III East Regionals
(Win over St. John Fisher 84–72)
(Win over Richard Stockton 60–54)
(Loss to New York University 67–65)
1994–95Richard Sauers 188.692--NCAA Division III East Regionals
(Win over St. John Fisher 92–84)
(Loss to Geneseo 71–70)
Division III (New England Collegiate Conference) (1995–1997)
1995–96Richard Sauers 1215.444--New England Collegiate Conference Tournament
(Loss to Le Moyne 76–73 in OT)
1996–97Richard Sauers 1710.630--New England Collegiate Conference Tournament
(Loss to Massachusetts-Lowell 61–50)
Division II (Independent) (1997–1999)
1997–98Scott Hicks 198.704--ECAC Division II Tournament
(Loss to Merrimack 92–82)
1998–99Scott Hicks 1414.500--ECAC Division II Tournament
(Loss to Merrimack 76–62)
Division I (Independent) (1999–2001)
1999–2000Scott Hicks 1117.393--
2000–01Scott Beeten 622.214--
Division I (America East Conference) (2001–present)
2001–02Scott Beeten

Will Brown

820.286511.313T-8thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Loss to Hartford 65–49)
2002–03Will Brown 721.250313.188T-9thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Loss to Vermont 81–62)
2003–04Will Brown 523.179313.16710thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(First round Loss New Hampshire 43–38)
2004–05Will Brown 1315.46499.5004thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final loss to Binghamton 76–70)
2005–06Will Brown 2111.656133.8131stAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Win over UMBC 79–65)
(Semi-final Win over New Hampshire 67–54)
(Championship Win over Vermont 80–67)
NCAA First Round (Loss to UConn 72–59)
2006–07Will Brown 2310.697133.8132ndAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Win over New Hampshire 64–47)
(Semi-final Win over Boston U. 59–49)
(Championship Win over Vermont 60–59)
NCAA First Round (Loss to Virginia 84–57)
2007–08Will Brown 1515.500106.6253rdAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Loss to Boston U. 68–64 in OT)
2008–09Will Brown 1516.484610.3757thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Win vs. Vermont 56–52 in OT)
(Semi-final Loss vs. UMBC 64–58)
2009–10Will Brown 725.219214.1439thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Loss to Stony Brook 68–59)
2010–11Will Brown 1616.50097.5634thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Loss to Stony Brook 67–61)
2011–12Will Brown 1915.55997.5634thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Win vs. New Hampshire 63–45)
(Semi-final Loss to Stony Brook 57–55) Postseason Tournament
(First round Loss to Manhattan 89–79)
2012–13Will Brown 2410.70697.5634thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Win vs. Maine 50–49)
(Semi-final Win vs. Stony Brook 61–59)
(Championship Win vs. Vermont 53–49)
NCAA Second Round
(Loss to Duke 73–61)
2013–14Will Brown 1915.55997.5634thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Win vs. UMBC 86–56)
(Semi-final Win vs. Vermont 67–58)
(Championship Win vs. Stony Brook 69–60)
NCAA Second Round
(First Four Win vs. Mount St. Mary's 71–64)
(Second round Loss to Florida 55–67)
2014–15Will Brown 249.727151.9381stAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final Win vs. Maine 83–66)
(Semi-final Win vs. New Hampshire 60–58)
(Championship Win vs. Stony Brook 51–50)
NCAA Second Round
(Loss to Oklahoma 69–60)
2015-16Will Brown 249.727133.8132ndAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final loss vs. Hartford 68-59)
College Basketball Invitational First Round
(Loss to Ohio 90-94OT)
2016-17Will Brown 2114.600106.6254thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final win vs. Hartford 100-71)
(Semi-final Win vs. Stony Brook 63-56)
(Championship loss vs. Vermont 56-53) Postseason Tournament First Round
(Loss to Saint Peter's 59-55)
2017-18Will Brown 2210.688106.6254thAmerica East Conference Tournament
(Quarter-final loss vs. Stony Brook 69-60)
UAlbany Totals:1284948.575148126.540


NCAA Division I tournament results

The Great Danes have appeared in the NCAA Division I Tournament five times. Their combined record is 1–5.

Year Seed Round Opponent Result
2006#16First Round#1 ConnecticutL 59–72
2007#13First Round#4 VirginiaL 57–84
2013#15Second Round#2 DukeL 61–73
2014#16First Four
Second Round
#16 Mount St. Mary's
#1 Florida
W 71–64
L 55–67
2015#14Second Round#3 OklahomaL 60–69

NCAA Division II tournament results

The Great Danes have appeared in the NCAA Division II Tournament one time. Their record is 1–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
1969Regional Semi-finals
Regional 3rd Place Game
Le Moyne
L 109–64
W 71–70

NCAA Division III tournament results

The Great Danes have appeared in the NCAA Division III Tournament ten times. Their combined record is 9–13.

Year Round Opponent Result
1975Regional Semi-finals
Regional 3rd Place Game
Saint Lawrence
L 63–82
L 55–72
1977Regional Semi-finals
Regional Finals
Oneonta State
W 75–58
L 46–47
1979Regional Semi-finals
Regional 3rd Place Game
Savannah State
L 81–82OT
W 85–83OT
1980Regional Semi-finals
Regional Finals
Saint Lawrence
W 75–66
L 72–87
1981Regional Semi-finals
Regional Finals
Saint Lawrence
W 45–44
L 68–63OT
1985Regional Semi-finals
Regional 3rd Place Game
Worcester Tech
Westfield State
L 57–58OT
L 70–78
1990Regional Quarterfinals
Regional Semi-finals
Regional 3rd Place Game
North Adams State
Southeastern Massachusetts
W 87–75
L 66–69
L 91–92
1992Regional First Round
Regional Quarterfinals
W 72–66
L 49–75
1994Regional Quarterfinals
Regional Semi-finals
Regional Finals
Saint John Fisher
Richard Stockton
W 84–72
W 60–54
L 65–67
1995Regional First Round
Regional Quarterfinals
Saint John Fisher
Geneseo State
W 92–84
L 70–71

CIT results

The Great Danes have appeared in the Postseason Tournament (CIT) two times. Their combined record is 0–2.

Year Round Opponent Result
2012First RoundManhattanL 79–89
2017First RoundSaint Peter'sL 55–59

CBI results

The Great Danes have appeared in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) one time. Their record is 0–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
2016First RoundOhioL 90–94OT


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