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Albany Fans Face Day of Action in Football, Basketball
Bill McCann is a University at Albany graduate who still works as a disc jockey for the campus radio station, 22 years after getting his bachelor’s degree.
McCann, 44, will do his four-hour jazz show on WCDB (90.9 FM) Saturday morning. Then he’ll see if UAlbany’s football and men’s basketball teams can make sweet music of their own.
The football team plays Jacksonville in the Gridiron Classic on University Field at 1:30 p.m., followed by men’s basketball against crosstown rival Siena in Times Union Center at 7 p.m.
The doubleheader has UAlbany students and alumni energized with some, like McCann, determined to attend both.
“It’s exciting,'’ said McCann, an attorney from Niskayuna. “This kind of action really shows the development of sports at the University at Albany.'’
UAlbany senior Dan Trunchen, president of the school’s Student Association, said his organization quickly sold its 200 tickets to the basketball game.
“The difference from my freshman year to this year is huge,'’ Trunchen said. “Their profile, the respect they have on campus, has just grown enormously the last four years.'’
Trunchen also notes he’s seen fliers promoting the football game all over campus.
Warren Winslow, 61, played club football at UAlbany before graduating in 1973. He recalled the passionate basketball rivalry between Siena and UAlbany in Division III. when UAlbany fans would chant “Beat Saint Rose'’ at Siena and their counterparts would counter with “Beat Albany High.'’
He said Saturday’s doubleheader should create a new kind of excitement.
“A lot of people come to town for the basketball game, and I hope they also come to town for football,'’ Winslow said. “I’m hoping it’s a big day for both teams.'’
UAlbany athletes usually attend each other’s games, and Saturday should be no different. Assistant football coach Mike Simpson said some of his players plan on going to the basketball game.
“Our players are friends with guys on the hoop team,'’ said Simpson.
The basketball team might not be able to return the favor at the Gridiron Classic because of their pregame routine, which includes the shootaround and team meal.
One who will be in both crowds is UAlbany alumnus Robert Burstein, 57, who is taking a bus from his home in New York City on Saturday morning.
“In the early days, it was a little bit of a struggle to get (graduates) involved,'’ said Burstein, president of the Alumni Association. “The excitement that’s been generated through (athletic director) Lee McElroy and the athletic department, it’s been absolutely tremendous.'’
Nonstop UAlbany sports
By Mark Singelais, The Albany Times-Union