On the rebound, Rebuilding the Bearcats: Changing a culture

By wbng sports

February 26, 2013 Updated Feb 26, 2013 at 7:36 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton)

The picture of the Events Center after Binghamton University won the America East Men's Basketball Tournament sits on the concourse as a constant reminder of a dream run towards the NCAA Tournament.

"We've been close, but those type of things I think show a glimpse," said athletic director Patrick Elliott. "I wasn't here for that, he wasn't here for that, but after some of those games we've talked about that."

Elliott wasn't there, and neither was Coach Tommy Dempsey, but they're only imagining what it was like, a peak back into a window of the past. However those were the days before the scandals that cleaned house, and the University vows it's a much stronger house now.

"I just know that the way Pat and I and Tommy communicate, it couldn't happen. It would be impossible to happen," said President Dr. Harvey Stenger. "The first spark we would all be on top of it to make sure we understood what was happening."

Now, the team still struggles from the sweeping changes that brought Dempsey and Elliot in. Along with Stenger, they believe that even a school with the rigorous academics of Binghamton, can still succeed on the basketball court, doing things the "right way".

"Trying to recruit students who have the academic profile as well as the athletic profile is hard," said Dr. Stenger. "But we do it."

"Because Binghamton University is such a great academic institution, it provides us an opportunity in the recruiting process to offer even more value," said Elliott

For both of them, that means expecting academic success along with America East Titles, in all sports.

"We want to always make sure that our goals for academics are first, but our goals for performance on the court or on the field is second," said Dr. Stenger. "So looking at how we do competitively against the America East Conference is an important metric of how the athletic department measures itself."

Basketball being the ultimate measuring stick, as evidence by the emotions of that photo sitting in the Events Center. However for President Stenger, the picture and what it represents are part of the past.

"I don't think about it, because I know the one that I'm going to experience is going to be just as great and I'll be at that one," he said.

Picturing a time when a Bearcats berth to the NCAA tourney isn't just a distant memory.

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