Supporters of Fordham Basketball gathered at the Empire Steakhouse and Lounge on Monday night for the programs’ annual Tip-Off Reception, bringing together generations of Rams in support of Fordham Men’s and Women’s Basketball.
In addition to selected upperclassmen from both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, several coaches and administrators were in attendance, including Fordham President Tania Tetlow, Athletic Director Ed Kull, Men’s Basketball Head Coach Keith Urgo and Women’s Basketball Interim Head Coach Candice Green.
“I want to sincerely thank you all for being here,” said Kull as he welcomed the attendees. “You all play such a pivotal role in what we’re trying to do and build. Whether you’re a former player, season ticket holder, fan, or Maroon Club member, it takes an entire village in terms of building our programs. “
After Kull, President Tetlow took the microphone and delivered his vision for Fordham Athletics in his administration. Tetlow, who came to Fordham from Loyola New Orleans, detailed how the men’s basketball team winning the NAIA National Championship last season and the women’s basketball team making a deep run in the tournament bettered the university as a whole.
“It was an extraordinary example to me of everything that college athletics does, of instilling in the students an incredible amount of training, and leadership, and teamwork, and discipline, and so much more that leads to our student-athletes doing so well in school and in life,” said Tetlow. “It engages and energizes the alumni and the student body and brings spirit to the institution.”
The presentation of the Johnny Bach Award highlighted the evening’s program, as Fordham honored former men’s basketball head coach Tom Penders with the accolade. The award was established by Fordham to honor an individual who has had a substantial and lasting impact on the sport of basketball and who best emulates Bach’s drive and passion for excellence.
In eight years leading the Rams from 1978-86, Penders guided Fordham to 125 wins and five appearances in the NIT. The 1981 Metropolitan Coach of the Year, Bach went on to coach at Rhode Island, Texas, George Washington and Houston after Fordham. In 38 years as a head coach, Penders compiled 649 career wins.
After remarks from Penders about his time at Rose Hill, Fordham alumnus and Brooklyn Nets play-by-play voice Chris Carrino moderated a panel discussion featuring Penders, Urgo, Green and Kathleen Reidy, a former Fordham women’s basketball standout who has spent the past three decades as a broadcasting executive at the NBA. The quartet discussed the constant evolution of the game and put forth a vision for why they believe Fordham can be successful in a new age of college basketball focused on Name, Image and Likeness opportunities for student-athletes.
The Fordham men’s basketball team returns to action tonight when it hosts New Hampshire in the Rose Hill Gym. Tip-off is set for 7 pm on SNY and ESPN+. Fresh off a seven-point loss to No. 17 Maryland on Sunday in College Park, the women’s basketball team will hit the road for its second straight nationally ranked game on Wednesday when it travels to Princeton. That contest will begin at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.