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PJC celebrates the 2005 NJCAA national champion Dragons

Published or Revised March 28, 2005

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Paris Junior College President Dr. Pamela Anglin, standing before the NJCAA National Champion Dragons basketball team, addresses a crowd of more than 600 that gathered in the Hunt Center Monday afternoon to celebrate the team’s achievement.

Cheers from more than 600 fans rocked the Hunt Center Monday afternoon as they welcomed the newly crowned NJCAA National Champion Paris Junior College Dragons back home.

The Dragons capped a Cinderella season Saturday night by winning the national title, the first in men’s basketball for Paris Junior College and only the second in the college’s history. The PJC baseball team brought home the other NJCAA title in 1959.

“These young men showed 8,000 basketball fans in Hutchinson, Kansas, what teamwork is all about,” PJC President Dr. Pamela Anglin told the crowd. “This is the greatest team and greatest coach in the United States.”

Dragon Coach Bill Foy, who was named “Coach of the Tournament” in Hutchinson, led his team to a 28-9 season. He said it was the determination and the maturity of the team that turned the season into a run for the championship.

“These guys had a goal, had confidence and played well as a team,” Foy said. “They are a great group of guys who became the best they could be at the end of the season and through the tournament run.”

Even on Monday, two days after the Dragons won the title, players Alexander Starr and Charles Stoker were still trying to believe that the team won the national championship.

“It’s just so big, it is taking a while to sink in,” Starr said.

“I’m just now beginning to realize that we won the national tournament,” Stoker said.

Foy introduced the members of the Dragon team, and pointed that Rod Earls was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, while Starr received the sportsmanship award. Earls, Starr and Michael Battle were named to the All-Tournament team.

The remainder of the team includes Lamar Searight, Donnell Franklyn, Rickey Quarles, Brian Burrell, Tyler Best, and Bobby Joshua.

“All these guys played their hearts out in Hutchinson,” Foy said. “They never gave up, and they took on some great teams - beginning in our state tournament - and beat them all.”

As soon as Foy finished his introduction of the players, fans rushed to the gym floor to look at the NJCAA national championship trophy, to talk to the players and get their autographs.

“Isn’t this great. This is just a wonderful thing for the college,” said Ann Wyche, a member of the PJC Board of Regents.

Ross Hodges, a former player and now an assistant coach at Texas A&M University-Commerce, was on hand to celebrate with the Dragons.

“I couldn’t be happier for the team and for the college,” Hodges said. “Coach Foy and the team deserve it after getting so close to making it to the nationals so many times.”

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