“At first, I was like, ‘Oh, I kind of like being the only local team’ ” in the Atlantic 10, said Colonials Coach Mike Lonergan, who is starting his third season in Foggy Bottom. “But you know what? In Philly, they all play each other. It’s the best. It’s going to help with media attention and crowds. Mason is going to be great for us and it’s going to be a healthy rivalry.”
The athletic departments did arrange regular season meetings in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, with each team winning easily at home. But the games were held on weeknights in December and, without conference ramifications or a long-term relationship, the buzz was short-lived.
The dynamic changed in the spring, when, after two years of wooing, George Mason accepted the Atlantic 10’s invitation. The move ended a three-decade affiliation with the CAA and its predecessor, the ECAC South, and provided the Patriots with a larger national platform.
I think we can finally put to rest the notion that we were never invited to the A10 in 2012. There was nothing more obnoxious than all the VCU pricks holding that over our heads, and crying about our joining this year as a scrap pick-up for McGlade to salvage the league.
We have a senior team coming back. It was the right time to make the move,” O’Connor said. “We have a terrific coach and players who have played against stiff competition. I am very optimistic. The reason we went to the Atlantic 10 wasn’t for just one year; this is just the launch and we want to sustain it for years to come.
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