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Pacers/Pistons Brawl Reminds me of last year...

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I believe it was the Hartford and UAlbany basketball game last year. A few of the fans were just sayign things to the cheerleaders of Hartford and just j/k around. They were making fun of chants that were mocking the Danes etc...In the end, the Hartford Athletic Director was on scene, talking to a few Ualbany personal and complained about it. No physical altercation or anything. Of course its not on the same level as this BRAWL. But it just shows how fans, players, cheerleaders, and directors and "CEO"s see these kinds of things. I didnt think the UA fans were out of line in that case. But i just wanted to bring it up, because with these kinds of things, you can see that each person has their own belief on things. I pray something like this never happens in the college game.

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I actually was at something mildly similar back when I went to UA. It was a Albany-Siena hockey game.


The game was very physcial as expected and between periods the $iena fans threw debris down on the Albany players as they were exiting the ice. The Albany coach yelled at some of the fans who then jumped over the plexiglass and got into a fight with him. Other coaches and some players broke up the fight but the crowd went banannas, myself included. The two teams stayed in the locker room for an extended break while extra police officers were called and the crowd had time to calm down. There were cops everywhere for the final period so there were no further outbreaks.


Other than NFL games where there are plenty of drunken brawls that was one of the freakiest games I've been too. It was also where I learned how Albany fans are supposed to feel about $iena fans. ;)

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Another brawl occurred on a more local level that was quite serious. The incident to which I am referring was a men's basketball game between Albany in Siena which I think occurred in 1972.


The brawl in one quarter of the old gym was so serious that the game was ended with more than one minute remaining. Albany won the game since it had a 16 point or so lead.

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I was there for that one.  That was during the "good old days', before most of you were born.  The chants of Beat St. Rose from us and Beat Albany High from the Siena faithful.

Historic note for younger readers: this was before St. Rose had men's athletics, CSR didn't have any male undergrads until 1969.


$iena students climbed high up into the Albany bleachers. They came back down in an early example of involuntary crowd surfing.

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I was there also - to my recollection, a Siena frat plebe was challenged to rip down a SIENA S---s sign held by the now-defunct Potter Club. This was a very stupid effort on the plebe's part and ended up in the aforementioned brawl. This underscores the significance of Tuesday's rivalry game for "old-timers" like me. Can't wait. Should be great fun.

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I was also at the 1972 game. One distinction that is important to make is that the brawl at the 1972 game involved fans only; it did not involve players at all. With that said, I thought I would attempt to provide some context for the younger board readers.


In the early 1970s, the Albany - Siena basketball rivalry (or as it was ususally refered to then, the State - Siena rivalry) was the biggest thing in Capital District sports. There were no Div 1 teams, except RPI hockey, and Union did not have hockey then so there was no rivalry there. Albany and Siena were both Div 3 programs, each was generally above average as Div 3 upstate teams were concerned and were often pretty evenly matched. Also, there was a local flavor to the teams. As I recall Siena's team included Fred Shear (Waterford) Chris Rutnik (VI) Dinny Cahill (LaSalle) Gary Holle (CCHS), while Albany had Bob Rossi (Gibbons) John Quattrocchi (who I think was from Queensbury, but I'll stand corrected) and Byron Miller (Gloversville).


It is fair to say that they players on each team did not like each other and the Coaches (Doc Sauers and Bill Kirsch) also had a somewhat hostile relationship. Remember that in 1972, there was no cable TV; no personal computers and there were very few TV sets in the dorms. Going to basketball games was an event to be attended and support on both campuses from the student body and the Greeks in particular was very high.


The Albany - Siena game was the highlight of each teams season, and it was talked about all the time. The regular season game was always played in February, when each team was at its peak. Occassionally, the teams played each other in the Capial District Classic (a 4 team tournament generally held the week between Christmas and New Years).


The game was so well attended that in order to get in and get a seat, you generally had to be there by midway throught the first half of the JV game. In 1972, freshmen were not eligible and so freshmen played on a JV team.


Probably the most well known fraternity at Albany was the Edward E. Potter Club (initials of EEP) . A lot of athletes were members of Potter Club and they had a reputation of being "tough guys". Potter Club had a tradition of bringing a banner to the Siena game. Really it was more of a spray painted bedsheet. It had a simple message. It read "EEP sez: Siena sucks" They would unfurl the banner once or twice a game, at an optimal moment.


The 1972 game was closely played, with Albany holding a slight lead for most of the game. The margin finally grew to double digits fairly late in the game (maybe with 5-7 minutes left). When it got under 2 minutes with the double digit lead in tact, it became obvious that Albany would win the game. At about this time, Potter Club chose to unfurl its banner, to the great delight of all Albany fans. The banner was held on one end by Rudy Vito and I think on the other by Frank Villanova (both of whom are in the UAlbany Hall of Fame). There were clearly the toughest of the tough guys. For reference, Vito had a body somewhat like Brandon Howlett and I would compare Villanova to Matt Kryzak. Remember, at the time our football program was in its infancy, not even div 3, but a club team, so there were no 6'5", 300lb offensive lineman types on campus.


A Siena fraternity had apparantly given its pledge class a specific order to make sure the Potter Club banner didn't get unfurled; so when the banner came out, some smallish Siena frat pledges attempted to take it out of Rudy's hands. In my opinion, this was a suicide mission. As UAalum 72 referred to above, the Siena bodies were sent flying, provoking a larger brawl , mostly between the Siena frat members who tried to charge that area of the bleachers and the Albany fans sitting in that area. A number of fights broke out which had the effect of pushing people from the bleachers toward the floor. The referees, seeing the flow of the brawl, directed the players and coaches from both teams off the floor and to the locker room and after clearing the floor, with the score what it was, declared the game over. It should be noted that the players from both teams left the floor together and there were no incidents between the players, either during the game or after.


Anyway, that's the way I remember it; but its been 32 years, and I'll stand corrected if i someone has a better recollection.


The bigger point is that the passions were at their highest for the State - Siena game, which hopefully explains the passion we 50 somethings feel about this rivalry.

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That was a very accurate recollection. I was a teammate, but not in Potter, being an old maareid commuting student. Aaaahhh youthful enthusiasms. I'm doubling my dose of Celebrex for Tuesday! I sit in a Siena season ticket section. I root for Siena, except against UA, and this year Vermont.

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