Illustration of Lehigh Basketball team

Where Were You?

When Lehigh beat Duke: The Lehigh community shares memories from that fateful day.

I was studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany, at the time. I went to a local Irish pub that sometimes played English/American sports and convinced a bartender to stream the game for me via internet on one small TV. I was getting very excited as the game went on, and people began to take notice. Some Germans decided to join me in watching in order to cheer for "the brown team." Soon, most of the people in my area in the bar were all cheering for Lehigh (despite most of them never having heard of Lehigh, Duke, or the NCAA tournament before) after I explained the significance of the game.

Unfortunately, the bartender had to close down at halftime, and I missed the last tram back to my student apartment. I remember sprinting across the town to get back in time for the second half, which I was able to watch through NCAA on my computer. While I was sad to miss the celebration back on campus with all of my friends, I was proud to turn a small group of Germans into Lehigh fans for one epic night.

Jason DuPaul ’13

My sons, Kevin and Shaun McNulty, were ball boys for the men’s basketball team and my daughter, Katie McNulty, was the ball girl for the women’s team in 2012. We were all at the game when Lehigh beat Bucknell for the Patriot League Championship. When it was announced that Lehigh was playing Duke in North Carolina, I was debating whether or not to go to the game.  My husband Patrick, ‘00G, ‘10G, an assistant principal for Louis E. Dieruff High School, could not take time off because high schools were going through state testing at that time. John Smeaton mentioned to me that Lauren Baker was looking for a ride and I decided then and there that I would drive to North Carolina. Later that day, I found out that Lisa Baker of Athletics was also looking for a ride.

I decided to surprise my kids and take them out of school to go to the game. We ended staying at the same hotel as the players and their families. My boys really wanted to show their support for Lehigh, so we found a barber in the mall in North Carolina who shaved the boys with the LU (Kevin) and the L Hawk (Shaun) logos.  I will never forget the support that everybody showed Lehigh. That game will always be one of my family’s most favorite memories—and that team (players and coaches alike) will always  hold a special place in our hearts.

Mary Jo McNulty, Lehigh HR Associate

I am a 1978 graduate of Lehigh. Two of my four sons, Kevin '11 and Mike '13 are also graduates. They are good friends with CJ, BJ and Cory... three members of the 2012 basketball team.

Of course, I watched the game on TV. When the game was over, I tried calling my two sons [Kevin ’11 and Mike ’13]. I was so excited about the win, I didn't pay attention while I was calling them on my cell while walking down our stairs. I fell down the stairs, and I broke my foot.

Kim Jaffe Enterlin ’78

I was at The Australian NYC watching with Billy Kovacs and a bunch of other friends. When Duke would start to come back, we would yell, "Bring on the rocket fuel!" The waiter would bring a round of shots and then Lehigh would pull ahead! The rest of the bar rallied around us and we sung the Lehigh fight song! Went downtown to celebrate. Stayed out all night. Great times.

Gregory Saunders ’93, on Facebook

Was out with friends for dinner and drinks during the tournament in the Washington D.C. area.  As the game was on, I noticed an active cheering group at the corner of the bar.  I quickly walked over to join them and asked, what year did they graduate from Lehigh?  To my surprise, they told me that they graduated from UNC and despised Duke.  As we had a joint interest in the game and Lehigh's win, we became fast friends since then.

Kevin J. Clarke ’85

My wife Linda and I moved to Asheville from Rochester, N.Y., in 1997 and soon found out that most native North Carolinians really dislike Duke and their basketball program.

We were wearing Lehigh T-shirts when we went to Greensboro for both games. That elicited, “Oh, I hope that you beat them” … from our motel’s staff, at Stamey’s Barbeque and at an antique store; in fact, from most people that we met in Greensboro that day. When we were coming or going from the Coliseum, one of the Carolina fans offered me $50 for my Lehigh T-shirt. On the day of game 2, people were wearing Carolina blue T-shirts with “LEHIGH” imprinted in brown on the front.

I meet a bunch of guys in Asheville on Friday nights to socialize over a beer or two and when I wear a Lehigh football t-shirt one of the Dukies invariably says...”I hate that shirt”.

The rest of this I’m sure that you’ve heard from other people, but...

You Tube has a post on “When Hitler learns that Duke lost to Lehigh” that’s entertaining.

Also on You Tube; one of the Lehigh grads composed and sings a song about Lehigh beating Duke. The Lehigh fans were louder that the Duke fans at the beginning and then when the Lehigh cheerleaders handed out “Go Lehigh” cards to the Carolina fans at the game, you couldn’t hear Duke at all.

Lehigh was the most searched term on the internet (Google) that day.

When I’m wearing a Lehigh t-shirt in NC, I still get comments from the Carolina fans like “I was at that game, etc.”

We should have beat Xavier; how did we shoot 13% in the second half? I already was working on plans for the second round in Atlanta!

J. Tom Wilson ’63

I was driving from Pennsylvania to a house in Connecticut my husband ('06, '09G) and I had just bought the week before. When I arrived, I asked if he had the game on, and he said, "Nah, they're probably getting crushed anyways." I insisted that we at least turn it on, and good thing I did. We sat in two beach chairs in the living room and watched as Lehigh closed the point gap. It wasn't long before we were jumping up and down in our new, empty house as Lehigh took the lead. I can only imagine what our new neighbors must have thought about us crazy people that just moved into the neighborhood... GO LEHIGH!

Renee Philbrook Bosch ’08

I was in Tampa the night of the game (proudly wearing my Lehigh gear) at a Sushi restaurant seated directly across from "A-Rod" Alex Rodriguez. (He was in town for Yankees Spring Training) Well, the TVs were on with the game, and I was rooting/cheering/screaming like CRAZY. By the end of the game the whole place was rooting for Lehigh including A-Rod!

Whitney Clark '08

That day, March 16, 2012, sticks out in my head as my Dad’s (Peter A. Thomas ’59) proudest last moment to be a Lehigh alum.  It was his 75th birthday, and the whole family convened over his house to celebrate and watch the big Lehigh vs. Duke basketball tournament game.  We Skyped my daughter, Olivia A. Hodina, class of 2015, so she could say Happy Birthday, and of course she was watching the game while in her Lehigh dorm room.  All of us wore Lehigh reunion hats my dad saved over the years as we cheered them on.  When the final buzzer went off, we all jumped up and down for joy!  Olivia showed us out her window all the Lehigh students screaming and cheering while running down the hill.  It was a coincidence they scored 75 points, and my Dad turned 75.  The next month he was diagnosed with lymphoma and passed away Oct. 18, 2012 that year.

Cheryl A. Thomas Hodina

At the Dallas Stars game with my family. I bought the tickets weeks in advance. One of the first NHL games for most of my family. I was excited for the game for all of us. Then the brackets come out. Bummed by the schedule, I set the DVR and tried not to follow the game in real time. Saw the score on a [TV] at intermission. Missed the entire third period as I tracked the game. My wife Shannon Heinzelmann Davis rolling her eyes the entire time as in "come on, give up the dream, they aren't going to win." Went home ecstatic and watched the game on DVR til 4 am.

John Davis, on Facebook

Sitting/Standing with Jerre Lieberman at the Greensboro Coliseum. I don't think Jake's Billiards had ever sold that much Yuengling before (or probably since).

John Gottshall, on Facebook

My husband ('99) and I ('97) were driving from Pittsburgh to central PA to visit my family. We knew Lehigh was playing but drove anyway because we figured they'd get crushed. As we are driving, both are phones started going crazy with text messages from friends and family telling us about the game. So sad we missed it!!!

Sarah Richards Bolenbaugh, on Facebook

Ellen Marshall and I were at home screaming in front of the TV while our daughter Emily Flanagan was on campus taking it all in! Liam Flanagan was muted at home with us, awaiting his opportunity to be a Lehigh student, a role he is currently carrying out.

Jim Flanagan, on Facebook.

Hi there. I’m a 90 grad, my wife graduated in 91.  At the time of the game, our kids were young and we were running errands, like you do... wasn’t paying much attention to the game at first since we assumed it would be a blowout. We were following it throughout the first half on the phone, and got home in time for the second half. Our kids aren’t sports fans but they could see how excited I was and so they watched the last few minutes with us as well.  After the incredible upset, my phone blew up from fellow Lehigh friends, and also just from coworkers and friends who knew that I was an alum.  Everyone loves an upset in the NCAAs, and this one was so improbable that people felt compelled to call me!  Plus I got to bust on my nephew who’s a Duke alum...

Go Engineers!!!!

Eric Waxman ’90

I woke the whole neighborhood screaming, getting texts from everyone I knew. Going to Lehigh, and then coaching at UNC, this was special. My dad, both brothers and my wife are Tarheels so I consider this the greatest upset ever.

Scott Conway, on Facebook

At the game in person with Andrew Moriarty. Still get chills when I think about it! This is the highlight of any sporting event I've ever been to!

Calvin Hobbs, on Facebook

I was watching at a restaurant wearing my Lehigh sweatshirt in disbelief, yelling louder with each basket. By the end of the game, the whole restaurant was cheering for Lehigh.

Chris Hoffmann, on Facebook

In my family room in Texas with all my friends texting, "Are you watching this?!" And of course, I was!

Liz Hainey, on Facebook

Ha, watching game at home - torn because I'm a Lehigh SeventyFive alum & my son was a Duke student & sports editor for Duke Chronicle at the time.

David Scholl, on Facebook

At a restaurant with Mike Rinkunas, for my birthday dinner. We both kept taking turns walking over to the bar to check the score on TV. The server finally gave up on creating a romantic dinner for us and brought our dessert to the bar so we could watch #LehighBeatDuke. Best birthday gift ever!

Maureen Whitley Rinkunas, on Facebook.

I attended a watch party at the Fox and Hound in Center City Philadelphia, and outside of an Eagles game or the World Series I’ve never witnessed that place so packed for one event. But what stuck out to me was another group, there for their own watch party (I can’t for the life of me remember who it was, but my brain is telling me it was a small school, wearing Red...maybe Western Kentucky). As the game continued, and the energy of the crowd grew, and it really started to feel like “we actually have a chance,” I can vividly remember that still small group of fans totally unaffiliated to Lehigh or the crowd, well they were right there with us, losing their minds and cheering their hearts out at every key stop and clutch shot. Because, fan or no fan, there’s always something special about watching the little guy do the unthinkable.

To this day, it will go down as one of the most special sporting events of my life, and the outpouring of texts and missed calls I had when I left the bar showed that I wasn’t the only one who felt like least for one night!

John Lombardi

Upon hearing that the Mountain Hawks would not only make the 2012 NCAA basketball tourney but be placed in my home state for the first round game, we decided to go in person and see the game. The “we” was my son a UNC Chapel Hill graduate and myself (of vintage Lehigh years). As the Lehigh opponent was Duke (the dreaded rival of Chapel Hill) it was an easy decision for us to attend. The added bonus was that the Tarheels of UNC were also playing the same day at the same arena, so we made a full day out of it, watching both doubleheaders.

See attached memento created after that memorable upset of Duke, with me in the photo at the Greensboro Coliseum. Never have I cheered and screamed as much as on that Friday in March... I was hoarse for a full week thereafter, but thoroughly basked in the glory of that game. Truly it was a memorable occasion not easily forgotten.

To further follow C.J.’s career on the hardwood, we have attended the Portland Trailblazers’ games here in Charlotte for the last two years. Also attached is a picture of C.J. at the foul line in this year’s game a few weeks ago. Sorry could not get his attention for autographs for my grandson, a true basketball junkie!! Better luck in that next year, as they say.

Henry Antshel ’68

My wife Susan and I were in Clearwater, FL visiting friends after going to a Phillies spring training game, which we do every year during our winter solstice in the Sunshine State. We went to a local sports bar for dinner and knowing that the Lehigh game may be televised (since we were playing Duke) I asked one of the waitresses if she could look for the game on a TV that was close to our table, and after a few minutes she found the right station.

The four of us then ordered dinner but my conversation was rather limited as I was glued to the set. Most of my comments through the first three periods were restricted to my table but as the fourth quarter began it became clear to me that Lehigh not only had a chance to win, but it appeared as if Duke seemed resigned to that too, having no answer to C.J.’s offensive play and the team’s overall hustle. As we kept piling up the points, I found myself not only cheering but unabashedly jumping up and down, with our fellow diners giving me the silent stare of disapproval. No one else there had any idea what I was cheering about, as their TVs were tuned to other stations.

Nevertheless my schoolboy actions continued until the final whistle, that day being one I will never forget. Hopefully those who tolerated my rudeness forgave me; after all it was a sports bar!

Bill Harris, MBA ’71
Father, class of ’34
Sister, MBA
Nephew, undergrad