Lehigh men’s basketball honored at IronPigs’ home opener
Posted: 04/06/2012 | Last updated: April 10, 2012 at 04:35 PM
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Lehigh men’s basketball was recognized by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs’ minor league baseball team (AAA Affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies) on Thursday following its second Patriot League Championship in three years and its historic win over Duke. The Mountain Hawks were honored approximately 30 minutes prior to first pitch between the IronPigs’ and Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. The team was recognized on the field before heading to the concourse to sign autographs for eager fans.
“To hear over and over again, congratulations on a great year, what a great job and how you’ve made us all proud, it really hits close to home,” said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. “It’s something to be proud of. What an enjoyable experience.”
The Mountain Hawks were among the many attractions for the IronPigs’ home opener Thursday night at Coca-Cola Park. Lehigh players and coaches had the opportunity to meet former heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes, who threw out the first pitch just minutes after the Mountain Hawks were recognized.
The IronPigs have led the minor leagues in attendance in each of the last two seasons, drawing 628,985 fans, averaging 9.249 per contest; Thursday’s opener drew 9,722 despite a cool evening.
“It was a great experience to be able to talk and personally connect with the Lehigh Valley,” said Reed. “We’ve got great fans across the Valley who really care about and understand sports. For us to come out here with them in this type of environment, sign autographs, shake hands and ultimately integrate them into our basketball experience, it’s really important.”
Lehigh players and coaches received endless congratulations while signing autographs for fans of all ages. Reed also headed up to the press box to interview with the IronPigs’ radio network in the sixth inning and Service Electric TV in the seventh.
The Mountain Hawks are a few weeks removed from their memorable NCAA Tournament run, but remain busy as they prepare for next season.
“It’s a busy time, believe it or not,” said Reed. “Normally there’s an opportunity to step away and get some perspective and appreciation, but our coaches have been working very hard. Fortunately, our players were able to step away from workouts, rest and recover. Now they’re full-fledged moving forward with a tremendous amount of commitment and focus for next year.”
Like Lehigh Men’s Basketball on Facebook for exclusive content, team updates and more: http://www.facebook.com/LehighMensBasketball.