Shane Kennedy ’76 remembers the moment when the final seconds of the title game ticked away and the 1975 Babson men’s soccer team was crowned national champions.
The goalie looked toward his jubilant teammates huddling together on the field. He spotted Jon Anderson ’75, P’04 ’08 ’13 ’13, a midfielder known as “Jonny A” to the team. “I remember Jonny A. coming off the pile and running toward me, arms wide open,” says Kennedy. “It was quite a moment.”
As part of Babson’s Centennial celebrations, all five of the school’s national champion squads—the 1975, 1979, and 1980 men’s soccer teams, the 1984 men’s ice hockey team, and the 2017 men’s basketball team—will be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in September.
The 1975 championship, Babson’s first, brought lots of publicity to an institution that was coming into its own, both athletically and academically. “Nobody knew anything about this school,” Anderson says. “We were buried in the woods of Wellesley.”
That was evident in the semifinal of the national tournament, when Babson played a confidant Ohio Wesleyan University. But Babson stunned the team, defeating them 5-0, and then went on to shut out the defending champion, The College at Brockport, 1-0, for the title.
The Beavers arrived back to campus late and were surprised to see their fellow students lining College Drive to welcome them home. “It was an incredible scene,” says Anderson.
Outscoring opponents by a combined score of 61-5, the 1975 team finished the season unbeaten. Much credit goes to head coach Bob Hartwell for building a strong program at a school not known for athletic excellence. “He wanted a program filled with pride and tradition,” says Anderson.
These days, Anderson is Babson’s head men’s soccer coach, having led the Beavers for 33 seasons. Kennedy, a sculptor in California who created the Babson Totem by the athletics fields, also coaches high school soccer. He remembers how Hartwell pushed the team to do its best. “There was an expectation that you were going to fight and give it all you had,” he says. “We fed off that.” – John Crawford