Mighty Macs Have Always Been Hall of Famers
The story of the Mighty Macs of Immaculata University, the tiny Catholic college with no gym, no scholarships, and an enrollment of less than 800 – nestled in the rolling hills of Chester County, PA, became a Hollywood movie. BUT, do you really know the story of these Hall of Famers?
With or without induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, these players have always been Hall of Famers in everything that they do. Back in 1971-1972, the year the Mighty Macs won the first AIAW national championship (the first of three consecutive national titles), the campus motto was “We Try Harder.” In a Philadelphia Daily News story from March 21, 1972, sports editor Stan Hochman, stated “there isn’t a phys ed major on the squad. Win a national title with French and economics majors, that’s like Tufts winning the NCAA basketball crown.”
With nine Mighty Macs in her French classes during the championship years, Sister Marie Lorraine Bruno, IHM, associate professor emerita of Global Languages and Cultures, stated that “they were a special group of student-athletes who excelled in the sport.”
“We Try Harder” was indeed true. Most of the Mighty Macs commuted to school; worked several jobs, both on and off-campus; attended to home obligations; and never missed a game or practice. This dedication paid off with three national titles.
In a 1974 commentary published in the Daily Local News after the team arrived home from their third national championship, the Mighty Macs were lauded for their positive, inspirational contributions to society by “plunging headlong into life, fighting hard in the face of challenge after challenge, giving it everything there is to give – and coming out on top.” The writer stated that “to a lot of weary folks benumbed by today’s tuned-out naysayers, the young ladies from Immaculata have been a welcome source of inspiration.”
On Friday, August 8, the championship teams will be recognized by their peers for their hard work and dedication as members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
“The Immaculata Mighty Macs paved the way for women’s college basketball and, as a player and coach, I am forever grateful for their influence, dedication and legacy. I am thrilled they are being recognized by their peers,” commented Patricia Canterino, director of Athletics and Recreation and head women’s basketball coach at Immaculata University.
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Immaculata University is a Catholic, comprehensive, coeducational institution of higher education, located on the Main Line between Malvern and Exton, 20 miles west of Philadelphia.