By: Katie Vulich
12-13-14. Three sequential numbers. A date. And the last time the men’s basketball team lost in Knights Hall.
The date was the last of its kind until 1-2-34. But it wasn’t a lucky one for BU.
Knights Hall was packed with 1,879 people present. Florida Southern was ranked No. 3 in the nation and Bellarmine was ranked No. 2.
“I was watching from the stage at the media table. It had an NCAA game-type atmosphere even though it was December,” sports information director John Spugnardi said.
The atmosphere in Knights Hall is regarded as one of the best in Division II, and Bellarmine fans will be the first to tell you.
“I was standing on the left side of the basket and the student section was packed,” said Jean-Luc Veillon a 2017 Bellarmine graduate, current MBA student and campus visit coordinator. “I remember that we lost by four in double overtime, and it was right before I went home for winter break.”
Ron Love and his wife have attended nearly all men’s and women’s home games for longer than they can remember. While they don’t recall much about the game, one thing stood out.
“It was exciting like always with Bellarmine. I remember Jake [Thelen] making a reverse layup he shouldn’t have been able to make,” Love said.
Brent Bach and Jarek Coles are the only current players who have lost in Knights Hall, and it was when Thelen, now an assistant coach, was in his final season.
When the clock hit 0:00 after two overtimes, the intensity in Knights Hall deflated. After investing hours into the game, the players and the crowd left in shock.
“It was a sad day,” communications department chair Winnie Spitza said. “I hope to never experience that again.”
Long-time Bellarmine faculty member Robert Pfaadt said:
“Anytime we lose I feel bad, but at this particular time I didn’t think it was unusual. I didn’t expect it to go on to win 50-plus games. Hopefully we can keep on going and see what happens.”
While casinos, lotteries and racetracks continued to roar late into the night, Knights Hall was silent. Little did Knights fans know, the loss was the start of something extraordinary, the longest home win streak in all of college basketball.
As the wins stacked up, the university has made strides off the court. Since the last home loss, Bellarmine has:
Broken ground and completed Centro and McGowan Hall, which is 47,300 square feet of new offices, classrooms and computer labs and houses the admissions, business and campus ministry departments.
Named its fourth president, Dr. Susan Donovan.
Absorbed St. Catharine’s College, which included a wrestling team. The team was one of the inaugural GLVC wrestling teams that started competition during the 2017-2018 season. However, the team also competed during the 2016-2017 season.
Repurposed a church into a quasi-functioning athletic facility. The facility will be used mainly by the wrestling and dance teams with the goal of freeing up the SuRF for students.
Added the following programs to its catalog:
Exercise Science Minor
Marketing Communication Minor
Master of Science in Digital Media
Master of Science in medical Lab Sciences
Master of Health Science in Respiratory Therapy
Master of Science in Athletic Training
Bachelor of Arts in Sports Administration
Bachelor of Health Science in Radiation Therapy
Bachelor of Arts in Health Services
Bachelor of Science in Health Services Executive Leadership
Bachelor of Science in Health Services Senior Living Leadership
Doctorate in Higher Education
Doctorate of Education
While this condensed list does not include all of Bellarmine’s improvements and accomplishments since 12-13-14, these notable changes emphasize the length of the streak.