Has it really been 10 years since HU's shocker over Iowa State in the NCAA tournament?

On that historic night in Boise, Lauren Merfeld was 2 years old. Her little brother, Andrew, wouldn't be born for another four months.

But when March rolls around every year, they see the evidence. Whenever


shows clips of past

NCAA tournament

shining moments, there's Dad running across the court like a crazy man. There's Dad being hoisted into the air, kicking his feet in joy, by one of his players.

"Oh yeah," Steve Merfeld said this week. "They really get a kick out of it. They look for it every year."

It was 10 years ago that

Hampton University

became only the fourth No. 15 seed in tournament history to win a game. The Pirates stunned No. 2

Iowa State

58-57 on Tarvis Williams' baby hook with 6.9 seconds left.


Jamaal Tinsley

's layup fell off the rim, the Boise State Pavilion went bonkers. Nobody more so than Merfeld, then in his fourth year as HU's coach.

That was only the beginning of the experience. Hampton had officially become royalty in Boise, which fell in love with its team, its cheerleaders, and its band. And though the Pirates lost two days later to


, they had already made their impact.

"In some ways, it's really difficult to believe it happened 10 years ago," said Merfeld, now an assistant at Creighton. "In other ways, it seems like it was just yesterday. It was a great, great group of guys. Those are memories I'll treasure forever."

Sports Illustrated

declared it the second-biggest tournament upset of the 2000s, behind only No. 11

George Mason

beating top-seeded


to reach the '06 Final Four. But it was also, arguably, the most talented team in HU history.

Williams, a 6-foot-9 center, left as the program's fifth all-time leading scorer with 1,754 points. Guard Tommy Adams finished a year later with 1,582. Williams was the MEAC's Player of the Year that season; Adams won the following year.

LaSean Howard, a 6-7 forward, had transferred from Syracuse. Guard Marseilles Brown had transferred from


, where three years earlier he helped the 14th-seeded Spiders upset No. 3 South Carolina.

Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy knew as much. "They're sprinkled with





Big 12

players," he said the day before the game.

Sure enough, despite Williams' foul trouble, HU led 31-27 at halftime. But also sure enough, the favorite woke up. The Cyclones took 55-44 lead with 8:08 remaining, by which point closing it out looked to be a formality.

Instead, HU closed with a 14-2 run. Brown's layup made it 57-56 with 1:43 left, and Tinsley missed on the other end. Brown then rifled a pass in the lane to Williams — how he threaded it in there has gotten lost over the years — who turned into a triple team and hit a soft hook.

With one to give, Merfeld tried to get his guys to foul. Instead, Tinsley sprinted down the floor and had a fairly decent path to the basket. Williams did just enough to alter his shot a little, and Tinsley's layup bounced away.

"Here's something I remember: The buzzer in the arena wasn't working, so they had to use a foghorn," Merfeld said. "And it was one of those hand-held deals."

Then it was bedlam.

Merfeld danced across the floor — the best coach's moment since Jim Valvano — like an 8-year-old after his sixth piece of birthday cake. Then

David Johnson

, a 6-foot-7 freshman, came up from behind and grabbed him in a bear hug.

Johnson lifted his 5-8 coach into the air, and Merfeld kicked his arms and legs in jubilation. It was a moment of unbridled joy, and the cameras captured it.

It appeared spontaneous, and on Merfeld's part it was. As for Johnson …

"I just wanted to get on TV," he said. "I was a freshman and I didn't play big minutes, so I wanted to get on TV somehow. I was running out on the court like everybody else, and Coach Merfeld was in my way. So I picked him up."

From that moment on, Boise had become HU West. A city with an African-American population of 5 percent embraced an HBCU.

"It was a great life-changing experience," Johnson said. "Walking down the street, we were like celebrities. I remember one guy came up to us at dinner with a cell phone and said, 'Call home and talk to your families. We'll be sitting in the corner when you're finished.'"

"It was a rock star experience," Brown said.

The band and cheerleaders, arguably as big a hit as the team, performed the following night between periods at a minor league hockey game. Gov. Dick Kempthorne danced with them. When play resumed, the crowd booed.

Two days later against Georgetown, the Pirates had 10 times as many fans in the Boise State Pavilion than they usually did at the HU Convocation Center. What Hampton really needed was more size. Georgetown threw three 7-footers at the Pirates, and it was no contest. The Hoyas won 76-57.

That was the last game for seniors Williams, Brown and Howard. But a year later, Hampton made it back to the tournament, again as a 15th seed. The opponent was Connecticut, whose roster included Emeka Okafor, Caron


, and Ben Gordon.

With three minutes left, as Brown and Howard watched from the MCI Center stands, the Huskies were clinging to a four-point lead. But there was no magic this time: UConn hung on for a 78-67 win.

Less than two months later, Merfeld left Hampton for the head coaching job at Evansville. He was there five seasons and then was hired as an assistant at Bradley. He just completed his first season on Creighton's staff.

Williams and Adams both play overseas. Brown is a trainer with Gannon Baker Basketball and lives in Columbia, S.C.

Ten years later, especially in March, they still remember.

"I always get a handful of media calling me this time of year to talk about upsets," Merfeld said. "And the local media of the 15th seeds will call. And some 15th-seeded coaches will call to ask questions. I've already had a lot of that.

"But I'll tell you, it was a fun time. It really was. And to see Hampton back in the tournament this year makes it even more special."