BALTIMORE (WJZ) — UMBC won over the entire state and the entire country with their historic NCAA tournament win over No. 1 seed Virginia Friday night. That one win has now changed the university forever.
While UMBC’s Cinderella story came to an end Sunday night with a loss to No. 9 Kansas State, the excitement is just getting started.
The Retrievers received a rockstar return Monday morning as students, staff and fans came out to welcome the men’s basketball team to campus.
“Even though we didn’t win the game, we made history,” UMBC student Rachel Daniel said.
The school went from virtually an unknown to those outside of Maryland to America’s team in a matter of hours.
“You tell people where you went to school and they’re like, ‘What? Is that a community college?’ and now you don’t have to tell them,” UMBC alumni Shannon Jackson said.
The impact extends beyond the court and crumbling brackets.
The school’s social media pages jumped to tens of thousands of followers as the Retrievers captivated the entire country by blowing out Virginia.
The team even grabbed the attention of superstar athletes, like NBA MVP Steph Curry who showered the team with new sneakers.
The university’s admissions office is already reaping the benefits of one of the biggest upsets in sports history.
“No longer do we have to explain what UMBC means and who we are, they know who we are,” Yvette Mozie-Ross of UMBC enrollment management said.
Hundreds of calls and e-mails have been flooding in with students from across the country eager to apply.
“It did more than just bust brackets. It really put UMBC on the map. It allowed the world to see who we are as an institution,” Mozie-Ross said.
Shelves at the university bookstore have been wiped out of merchandise with everyone scrambling to be a part of history.
The entire campus has been filled with pride like never before.
“The school spirit was never there, everyone went home on the weekends, no one was excited about our sports, and it all changed,” Jackson said. “We really needed it, I’m really happy that happened. I needed it, to be proud!”
As the men on the court showed the entire world, if you dream big, anything is possible.
The team will continue to dream big in their new $85 million event center, where they’ll play next season when they defend their America East Conference title.