Men's Basketball Honored in State Capitol

 Head coach Randy Bennett and members of the 2009-10 Saint Mary's men's basketball team were honored on the floor of the California Senate and Assembly on May 6 for their remarkable season. The Gaels were the only California men's basketball team to advance to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen.

State Senators Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, both rose on the Senate floor and praised the team on the exciting season and great success.

In a rare honor, Bennett was allowed to speak from the Senate floor during the senate session. He thanked DeSaulnier and Hancock for the resolution on behalf of the team and Saint Mary's College.

Earlier, the team was on the other side of the Capitol in the Assembly chamber where Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, and Joan Buchanan, D-San Ramon, also stood and recognized the team from the floor. Bennett again spoke from the Assembly floor as he accepted the resolution on behalf of the team and the College.

After Bennett spoke, baseball legend and former San Francisco Giant Willie Mays was recognized by the state Legislature on the occasion of his 79th birthday.

While in the state capital, the team was invited into Governor Schwarzenegger's office and given a private tour of his office. Susan Kennedy EE '07, the governor's chief of staff, visited with the team and said with genuine Gael pride that the only basketball game she watched during the NCAA tournament were those played by Saint Mary's.

In addition to Bennett, players Mickey McConnell, Ben Allen and Phil Benson were also on hand at the presentations, along with Justine Sgalio of Gaels athletics.

Joining the team in Sacramento were David Kershaw, president of the Australian-American Chamber of Commerce, who was representing the Australian general consul, and his daughter Rebecca, an SMC incoming freshman.

-- Tim Farley

Community and Government Relations