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The University of Harford men's basketball team was one game away from the NCAA Tournament last season and is picked third in the America East this season.
That means it is becoming known for playing the game.
More than 20 years ago, after the Hawks had moved to Division I for the 1984-85 season, they were known more for the concerts after their games.
Concertball at the Civic Center. Then-Hartford vice president Bob Chernak figured he'd get people in the stands and interested in Hartford basketball by offering a unique combo: basketball followed by a concert.
During the 1985-86 season, Dionne Warwick (6,067), Anne Murray (10,231) and the Beach Boys (15,999) brought fans into Hartford. During the 1986-87 season the Beach Boys came back and brought 14,567 with them. Kenny Rogers, Smokey Robinson and Paul Anka also had concerts after games and drew five figures, too.
Concert-goers showed up late, but they did see some basketball. And, what the heck, once they were seated awaiting the concert, they were pulling for Hartford even if the only reason is they had nothing else to do. Why not cheer on the home team?
Concertball was deemed by some a gimmick, but it was the only way to get fannies in the seats of the Civic Center for Hartford men's games back then.
Today the school is on the rise. Jen Rizzotti, already a household name for her playing days at UConn, has made a name for herself as a coach and her Hartford teams by taking them to NCAA Tournaments. On the men's side, things are looking up, too, with coach Dan Leibovitz seemingly the right coach at the right time.