Letter from John A. Fry | The Triangle

Letter from John A. Fry

In defense of Drexel basketball

Photograph by Yuki Smith for The Triangle

To the Editor,

I appreciate the strong support our men’s and women’s basketball programs have received from our alumni and students, and can assure everyone that no one wants to “Pack the DAC” more than me.

In fact, the Daskalakis Athletic Center made history last season when the Drexel men’s basketball team mounted the greatest comeback in college hoops ever by beating the University of Delaware after trailing by 34 points. The amazing comeback was the talk of ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and other national media. The men’s team also beat city-rival LaSalle University last season and upset the University of Houston at the Paradise Jam in 2017.

The DAC was rocking throughout last season when the Drexel women’s basketball team went undefeated at home, won the regular season Colonial Athletic Association title and hosted the tournament championship. Since Coach Denise Dillion took over in 2003, the team has had 12 winning seasons and has been to the postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament tournament the last five years in a row.

While some years the teams win more games than others, just as at other universities, my support for our basketball program has never wavered. The same goes for Drexel trustees.

Indeed, thanks to millions of dollars of University investment — and generous support by many donors — the DAC has been upgraded dramatically over the years to give our teams the best setting in which to succeed. The improvements include state-of-the art locker rooms, renovated offices, refurbished media room, VIP suites and chair backs for fans. At the same time, attending basketball games at the DAC remains accessible and affordable.

While it is always great to win, I am most proud of the fact that our basketball program — indeed, all our athletic teams — competes at the Division I level the right way. Our student-athletes are successful on the court and in the classroom. Our 10-year graduation rate of 91 percent exceeds the national average.

I look forward to the upcoming season for our women’s and men’s teams. Coach Dillon has turned our women’s basketball team into a perennial conference powerhouse that is looking to return to the CAA championship and finish with a title this year.

The men’s team is coming off a summer exhibition trip to Australia as Coach Zach Spiker continues to build on his early success after coming here in 2016 from Army, where he tied for second with former Coach Bob Knight for the most wins at West Point and led the team to its first postseason since Mike Krzyzewski was the coach.

I appreciate the support of the DAC Pack and all the fans who support men’s and women’s basketball.

John Fry