Spider basketball….a rich tradition and history. Over the past 100 years battles have been won and
lost on the hardwood, great players have emerged and memories have been made that will last
a lifetime. There are so many great moments over the past 100 years. Below are some of the most
memorable. This season, each of these moments will be honored at a home men’s basketball game.
Please check this page often as the game date that each moment will be recognized will be updated
as plans are finalized.
Spider Basketball….The Tradition Spins On!
The Spiders also have their own picks for the greatest moments. Click here to view videos of
some our most well-known players discussing their picks.
1934-35: Mac Pitt's Undefeated Season
Coach Mac Pitt's team finished 20-0 - the only
undefeated team in school history. Led by three-sport
star George Lacy, who would go on to play in the Major League's with the Boston Red Sox, the Spiders
swept home-and-home matchups with Virginia, Virginia Tech and William & Mary, and won on the road
at Maryland, 52-26. The 1934-35 team placed all five starters on the Virginia All-State team and over three
seasons the squad won 24 consecutive games, the longest winning streak in Richmond basketball history.
Warren Mills Era
On Feb. 3, 1953, Warren Mills scored 17 points as Richmond defeated national power North Carolina
overtime 87-82 in the Benedictine High School gym. On Jan.
31, 1955, Mills scored
13 points as Richmond held two-time First-Team All-American "Hot Rod" Hundley to seven points in
a 106-67 victory over West Virginia in the Richmond Arena. Mills was a four-year starter, two-time
captain, and First-Team All-State selection who finished his career with 1,233 points. He is a
Richmond Athletics Hall of Famer who was the first Spider to have his uniform jersey, No. 23, retired.
Dec. 2, 1972: Robins Center Grand Opening
In the mid-1940s, Spider basketball outgrew Milheiser Gymnasium and moved off campus, playing
in several different venues until the generosity of E. Claiborne Robins, '31 and his family brought
Richmond basketball back to campus with the opening of the state-of-the-art Robins Center. E. Claiborne
Robins Jr. travelled around to other venues and was instrumental in the design of what remains today,
one of the nicest arenas in college basketball. The Robins Center opened in 1972 with a game against
Lefty Driesell's Maryland Terrapins, and while the Spiders lost the opening game, they have knocked off
many ranked teams in the arena over the years, including No. 23 Navy led by David Robinson, No. 19
Virginia Tech, No. 17 Xavier, No. 17 Temple, No. 16 Dayton, No. 13 Virginia Tech and No. 6 Georgia Tech,
the highest-ranked opponent ever defeated by a Spider team.
1974-75: McCurdy Leads Nation In Scoring
Senior co-captain Bob McCurdy leads the
nation in scoring at 32.9 points per game, scoring a
Richmond single-season record 855 points, including a school-record 53 points in a win over
Appalachian State. McCurdy played just two seasons at Richmond after transferring from Virginia,
but still sits 20th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,347 career points. He was a two-time
All-Southern Conference selection and named to Associated Press Third-Team All-American as a
senior. He was inducted in the Richmond Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999.
1983-86: Spiders NCAA Debut
For the 1982-83 season, a group of freshmen arrived on campus that would change Spider basketball
forever. Johnny Newman, John Davis and Greg Beckwith led the Spiders to their first two NCAA
Tournaments and an NIT appearance in four seasons in the West End. Joining Kelvin Johnson and
Bill Flye in the starting lineup in the 1983-84 season, the Spiders won the ECAC South conference title
to reach the Spiders' first-ever NCAA Tournament, where Richmond defeated Charles Barkley-led
Auburn 72-71 at the Charlotte Coliseum. As seniors in 1985-86, Newman, Davis and Beckwith led the
Spiders to their first NCAA Tournament at-large berth. All three have been inducted into the Richmond
Athletics Hall of Fame. Newman is the Spiders' all-time leading scorer, and Beckwith still holds school
career records for assists and steals.
Jan. 30, 1986: Newman Makes History
John Newman became Richmond's all-time
leading scorer at Virginia Tech and finishes his career with
2,383 points, to this day
the number one scoring total in school history. He is one of just two Spiders
to score over 2,000 career points. A tremendous shooter, Newman shot 53 percent from the field but
played just before the introduction of the three-point line in college basketball. The Danville, Va. native
was drafted as the 29th overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft and went on to play 17 years in the NBA,
scoring 12,740 career points.
1986-87: Highest-ranked Spider Win
On Nov. 29, 1986, the Spiders hosted Bobby Cremins and Georgia Tech, taking down the No. 6
ranked Yellow Jackets 67-62 in overtime to
win Central Fidelity Holiday Classic. That remains the
highest-ranked team Richmond has defeated. That same Spider team went on to knock off David
Robinson and No. 15 Navy 64-62 on the road later that season.
1987-88: Champions and Sweet Sixteen Debut
Richmond won the CAA title and headed to Hartford, Conn. where the Spiders defeated Bobby Knight
and the defending National Champion Indiana Hoosiers in the first round and then took down Bobby
Cremins and Georgia Tech two days later to advance to the Sweet 16. The Spiders, who lost in the
Regional Semifinal to John Cheney and No. 1 ranked Temple in New Jersey's Meadowlands, set a
school record for wins (26) that stood for 22 years.
1990-91: The Win Over Syracuse
Richmond won its fourth CAA title and headed up I-95 to face No. 2 seed Syracuse at Maryland's
Cole Field House. In what is still considered by many the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history,
the Spiders became the first No. 15 seed to take down a No. 2 seed with a 73-69 victory over the
Orangemen. Curtis Blair led Richmond with 18 points, as the Spiders jumped out to an early lead
and never trailed against the Billy Owen-led Orangemen.
March 1993: Dick Tarrant Retirement
When Lou Goetz decided he wanted out of coaching just prior to the 1981-82, his former high school
coach Dick Tarrant was promoted from assistant coach to head coach to keep the seat warm until a
search could be completed. That next coaching search did not take place for 12 years. The New Jersey
native who's Fordham freshman basketball team's coach was legendary football coach Vince Lombardi,
defeated No. 13 ranked Wake Forest in his first game and never looked back, leading the Spiders to
five NCAA Tournaments, inclduing the 1988 Sweet 16 and four NIT berths. He is Richmond's all-time
coach with a 239-126 record in 12 seasons. Tarrant led the Spiders to NCAA victories over
Charles Barkley-led Auburn, Bobby Knight coached Indiana, Bobby Cremins coached Georgia Tech
and Jim Boeheim coached Syracuse and made the Spiders a household name.
1997-98: Another NCAA Win
Richmond won the last of its five CAA Championships and became the first and still only school to win
as a No. 15, 14, 13 and 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament when the 14th-seeded Spiders defeated
3rd-seeded South Carolina 62-61 in Washington, D.C. In John Beilein's first game as the Spiders
coach that season, the Spiders defeated Virginia 83-79 in a double-overtime thriller in the Robins Center.
2001-02: The A-10 Years
Richmond moved from the CAA to the higher-profile Atlantic 10 for the 2001-02 season and the move
has paid off with unprecendented national exposure, TV appearances, three NCAA Tournament berths,
two at-large bids, back-to-back Top-25 finishes (2010, 2011) and the 2011 Atlantic 10 Championship.
Jan. 22, 2004: Silencing Phog Allen Fieldhouse
No. 10-ranked Kansas had a 52-game home winning streak against unranked opponents, but on
Jan. 22, 2004, the Spiders went into Phog Allen Fieldhouse in front of a national TV audience on
ESPN2 and came back from eight points down with under eight minutes to defeat the Jayhawks
69-68 on a buzzer-beating turnaround jumper by Tony Dobbins (click here to watch highlights).
The Spiders had won at Temple in their previous game and went on to win at Xavier in the next
game, victories that helped earn the school's second NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
2010-11: A-10 Champs, Sweet 16, Top-25 Finish
Behind the senior class of Kevin Anderson, the school's second-leading scorer, Justin Harper,
the 32nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Dan Geriot and Kevin Smith, Richmond won its first Atlantic
10 Championship and advanced to the school's second Sweet 16. The Chris Mooney coached
Spiders defeated 5th-seeded Vanderbilt 69-66 behind 25 points from Anderson, including "the shot,"
a driving fadeaway jumper with under a minute to play. Richmond advanced to the Sweet 16 with a
dominating win over Morehead State - upset winners over Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals.
The Spiders would lose to No. 2 ranked Kansas in the Sweet 16 in San Antonio, but finished
with a school record 29 wins.
February 12, 1990. The Spiders battled Virginia Tech into overtime in front of a sellout
crowd at the Robins Center. The overtime was a classic showdown between two senior
stars, Richmond’s Kenny Atkinson and Tech’s Bimbo Coles. Atkinson scored 11 of his 26
points in overtime. Coles got 8 of his 29. The two accounted for 19 of the 24 overtime points.
Richmond walked away with an 86-82 victory over Tech on their way to the NCAA Tournament
that season under Coach Dick Tarrant.