Immaculata University Magazine - Spring 2011 - page 46

The Mighty Macs have faded into history.
But have they?
Immaculata is a Division III team now, but the coach,
Patty Canterino, who played here in 1992, is very good
at reminding her players of their heritage. In 2010, we
played Cabrini College at Madison Square Garden in a
game that was reminiscent of our glorious past.
In 1975, Immaculata played Queens College before
more than 13,000 fans, the largest crowd ever to watch
a women’s game. Patty said people ask her all the time
about the Mighty Macs. It’s a story they never get tired of
hearing. And a story they shouldn’t ever forget.
When the University of Connecticut won the 2000
NCAA women’s championship at what is now the Wells
Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the players from the
basketball team at our University handed out T-shirts
to the fans and participating teams with “Immaculata
College” on the front and “It all began here” on the back.
And no one argued with the truth of that statement.
When I graduated from high school, I thought I was
finished with basketball. Wrong.
When I graduated from college, I thought I was not
interested in a coaching career. Wrong.
I had actually done a little coaching while I was
playing at Immaculata. I coached the seventh and eighth
grade CYO teams at Our Lady of Fatima for three years.
My first game, we lost 50-0 to Holy Spirit. The second
game we lost to St. Andrew, 52-2. I knew I needed better
players. So I went to the sixth grade and got Kathy
McManus and Karen Ward and brought them up to our
team. Three years later, we won the CYO title. I had no
idea at the time how much that experience would help
me in the future.
For me, coaching was just a way of giving back to
the community. It was being able to take people beyond,
where they could not get by themselves.
I was teaching sixth grade at Our Lady of Fatima
when St. Joseph’s University called in 1975 and offered
me the head coaching position there. I went from
there to Rutgers and then to Illinois. In sum, I coached
women’s college basketball for more than 30 years.
When I retired from Illinois, I thought I was through
working in an academic setting. Wrong.
After we came back to Pennsylvania, we settled in
a new home, not far from Immaculata. I went back
to campus, just to visit, and Sister Patricia Fadden,
the president, offered me a job as assistant to the vice
president for Student Affairs. I accepted. It seems
I realized I had missed my alma mater. You can go
home again.
Today, my title is vice president for University
And, today, I do have a beautiful championship ring.
In 1992, we returned to campus for the 20th anniversary
of that first AIAW championship. Jostens had bought us
the rings to commemorate the accomplishment. Finally!
The name on my ring, however, was Grentz, not Shank!
When I look out at our campus, I see so much promise.
Our enrollment has topped 4,000 students.
Immaculata College is now Immaculata University.
The campus also boasts a new library, Draper Walsh
Stadium, which houses our lacrosse, soccer and field
hockey teams, a softball field and a new 750-seat baseball
stadium. Plans are under way to build a student union
and a science and nursing building.
When I attended Immaculata, men’s institutions
such as Villanova, St. Joseph’s, and LaSalle were men’s-
only colleges, and each had a “sister” school. But times
have changed. We went co-ed with our undergraduate
college in 2005.
Only one percent of the students taking the SATs
are interested in attending a single-sex college. At
Immaculata, the ratio of women to men is 63 to 37
percent. We have men’s sports. And the future echoes
the past. Our men’s basketball team went to the NCAA
Tournament after just three years.
In my family, for my two sons, the focus is still
on the Mighty Macs and the fact that for the first
three consecutive years of the women’s tournament,
Immaculata was the only national women’s basketball
champion this country had ever known.
As young Karl and Kevin got older, both of them
wanted to know what it was like when I played. I never
put any of that stuff in the house, but I had a video of
our championship game against Queens in 1973. They
wanted to see it. So I said, “Go ahead and look at it. I’m
not going to watch it again.”
So, they watched it, screaming, “Look at Mom!”
“She played just like you, Kevin,” young Karl said.
“She took her time, got down the floor, and then made
those outlet passes.”
“You played just like me,” Kevin said.
“No,” I told him, “I think you played just like me.”
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