1971 - Fordham’s basketball team makes its first NCAA Tournament appearance

In the 1970-71 season, Fordham men’s basketball team, coached by Digger Phelps, had an impressive season with a record of 26-3. Led by star player and All-American guard, Charlie Yelverton, the team finished second in the Southern Conference and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

In the first round of the tournament, Fordham faced off against fifth-ranked Villanova, and despite being heavy underdogs, they managed to pull off a stunning upset with a 94-85 win. Yelverton led the way with 30 points, while John Wambach added 25 points.

In the second round, Fordham faced the University of Pennsylvania, but their run ended with a 65-68 loss. Despite the loss, Fordham’s NCAA Tournament appearance was historic, as it was the first time in the school’s history that the basketball team had made it to the tournament. Yelverton was named to the All-Tournament team for his outstanding performances.

The 1971 NCAA Tournament appearance set the foundation for future success for Fordham basketball, and the Rams would go on to make several more appearances in the tournament, including their second appearance in 2007.