Villanova University, founded by the Augustinians in 1842, celebrated its' latest national championship as night in San Antonio as they defeated the University of Michigan Wolverines.
Many Augustinians celebrated the night in various ways through watch parties, flying in to the game itself, and following the game from far flung parts of the world!
The Augustinian most connected to the team this year is Fr. Rob Hagan, O.S.A. of the Villanova Province who has served as team chaplain since 2004. He was even asked by Coach Wright to cut down the net after the national championship, an honor usually reserved for the coach alone. The New York Times recently profiled him in THIS article written last week. For more insights into the ministry of chaplaincy in a division 1 basketball program, click HERE as well.
On Easter Sunday, over 3,000 members of "Nova Nation" gathered for Mass in one of the hotel conference rooms in San Antonio in which many of the fans were staying. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Peter Donahue, O.S.A., who serves as President of Villanova University.
Student friars of the St. Augustine Friary in Chicago, many of whom attended Villanova to complete their philosophy studies, attended an official Villanova game watch in downtown Chicago to cheer on the Wildcats.
Coach Jay Wright is a close friend of the Augustinians, and he was recently awarded with the St. Augustine Medal by the Villanova Province. In his speech after receiving the award, Coach Wright said, "One of the things I always say to our players is that the greatest gift I can give you as a player, as a coach, as a mentor is the truth...and I want to do that here tonight... You are all here because you're friends of ours, you're friends of the Augustinians...We're all here because we need these men in our world. We need more of them...This night is about us always remembering... to keep this world getting better we need to keep the Augustinians strong. I thank you for understanding that. Let's all make a commitment to ourselves tonight, that in all the charitable work we do, there's always a significant place for the Augustinians...This one is worth it. The Augustinians are worth it."