With the start of #NEChoops conference play set to tip off Saturday, January 3, our latest #FlashbackFriday is all about basketball.
They didn’t play for Sacred Heart, but Tom Parks and Susie Rowlyk are undoubtedly Pioneers.
It’s been awhile since either Parks or Rowlyk laced them up, but the two have not been forgotten.
Parks was a key component of the first-ever NEC championship team. En-route to Tournament MVP honors, the western Pennsylvania kid poured in 21 points (on 9-of-12 shooting) to power Robert Morris past LIU Brooklyn in the 1982 ECAC Metro Championship Game. Parks and the Colonials went on to represent the ECAC Metro (now known as the Northeast Conference) in the NCAA Tournament against Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers.
Remember, the NEC began as the ECAC Metro, a men’s basketball-only conference, during the 1981-82 academic year. The conference began sponsoring a women’s basketball championship for the 1986-87 academic year.
Rowlyk was selected as the MVP of the 1994 Northeast Conference Tournament. For the first time in the league’s history, its women’s basketball tournament champion received an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Rowlyk, a two-time NEC Player of the Year, led Mount St. Mary’s up against Iowa in 1994 and returned to the Big Dance one year later to face Alabama.