Family tie has Pearl River Hotel hosting a Saint Peter’s watch party


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The Saint Peter’s Peacocks have captured the hearts of school basketball supporters all over the state, as their Cinderella strut into the Sweet 16 has put the modest New Jersey college on the map.

The craze has made its way into Rockland County, exactly where family members of legendary mentor Don Kennedy will host a check out social gathering at the Pearl River Hotel on Major Road for the Peacocks’ Sweet 16 match against Purdue on Friday night at 7 p.m.

“It’s phenomenal what is actually going on this yr, particularly following they commemorated the gym to my grandfather, his offense, and the 1968 workforce,” explained Keith Kennedy, the grandson of Don Kennedy and operator of the Pearl River Hotel. “This year’s team just took the nation by storm.”

Saint Peter's coach Don Kennedy (right) sits with his son, Don, during a game.

Saint Peter’s coach Don Kennedy (right) sits with his son, Don, throughout a sport.

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Immediately after capturing a MAAC Tournament title to punch their ticket to the Significant Dance, the Peacocks pulled off a initial-round upset of nationwide powerhouse Kentucky in additional time, then adopted up with a 2nd-round victory in excess of Murray State to advance to the Sweet 16 in Philadelphia.

They grew to become only the third No. 15 seed in NCAA Event historical past to reach this stage. It is also the very first time that any Saint Peter’s or MAAC group has sophisticated this far.

The Saint Peter's bench erupts as Daryl Banks III (5) hits a three-pointer against Kentucky during their first-round NCAA Tournament game at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana on March 17, 2022. Saint Peter's won 85-79 in OT.

The Saint Peter’s bench erupts as Daryl Banking institutions III (5) hits a three-pointer towards Kentucky throughout their very first-spherical NCAA Match match at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana on March 17, 2022. Saint Peter’s won 85-79 in OT.

Their magical operate also brings again reminiscences of yet another memorable March moment for Saint Peter’s, when it attained the 1968 NIT Closing Four at Madison Sq. Backyard.

Whilst in modern periods, the NIT is treated additional like a consolation event and participants are an afterthought to the 68 groups in the NCAA discipline, the party was much more highly-regarded in Kennedy’s time.

That yr, his Peacocks defeated Marshall 102-93 in the opening spherical, then followed up with a 100-71 upset win above top rated-rated Duke.

In an period in which there was even now no shot clock or 3-issue line in college or university basketball, Saint Peter’s averaged 94 factors per activity that time.

“My grandfather was a wonderful male,” mentioned Keith Kennedy, who was 4 at the time of that earn above Duke but has listened to all of the stories. “He was credited with making the very first genuinely fast-crack offense. They termed it, ‘Run, Little one, Operate.'”

A mural at Saint Peter's Run Baby Run arena commemorating the 1968 Peacocks team.

A mural at Saint Peter’s Operate Newborn Operate arena commemorating the 1968 Peacocks workforce.

Don Kennedy produced a title for himself at the significant college stage, simultaneously coaching at Electrical power Memorial and Regis in New York Metropolis, just before likely on to turn into the winningest mentor at Saint Peter’s. He acquired 323 wins from 1950-72.

The godfather of the Saint Peter’s application was in fact born John Wilbur Kennedy, but his childhood nickname “Don” caught all through the yrs.

Kennedy lived in Garnerville for a lot more than a ten years right up until passing away in 2004 at 97 yrs previous.

At the commencing of this season, Saint Peter’s paid out homage to the elder Kennedy and his 1968 workforce, renaming its recently renovated athletic facility the Run Little one Run Arena.

The ceremony was attended by many members of the Kennedy family, such as Keith.

Numerous previous players ended up also in attendance, like the 1968 team’s star Elnardo Webster, who handed away past 7 days.

Despite the fact that Keith didn’t individually go to Saint Peter’s, numerous associates of his spouse and children did, together with his father, Don, and uncle, George, who played for his grandfather.

“As a child, I was at Saint Peter’s all the time,” Keith Kennedy said. “My grandfather coached there for really some time, so I was at Saint Peter’s constantly.”

Keith Kennedy viewed the Peacocks’ opening-spherical activity against Kentucky with his uncle, George, at the Pearl River Hotel bar, which like Saint Peter’s is in its 150th yr of operation. His brother, Donald, joined them for the next-round match against Murray State.

“My uncle insisted on the exact correct bar stool, buying the identical drinks and the identical food items,” he claimed. “Pretty superstitious.”

John Wilbur "Don" Kennedy coaching at Saint Peter's. The fourth player from the left is his son, Don.

John Wilbur “Don” Kennedy coaching at Saint Peter’s. The fourth player from the remaining is his son, Don.

So much, the family’s recreation-working day rituals have labored out, but they’re expecting an even more substantial crowd and social gathering to sign up for them on Friday night time.

“We’re going to have some variety of great specials and matters like that,” Kennedy reported. “We are going to occur up with some type of peacock shot, some thing blue for the Peacocks.”

What would his grandfather say about this year’s Peacocks?

“I consider he’d say, ‘Run, child, operate.'”

Abide by Eugene Rapay on Twitter at @erapay5 and on Instagram at @byeugenerapay.

This short article at first appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Pearl River Lodge to host Saint Peter’s look at occasion for NCAA Sweet 16

By diana

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