Northeastern U. makes its mark

If Boston's Northeastern University is known for anything it's for an excellent cooperative education program, not for athletics. People still confuse the Huskies' sports teams with those from Northwestern University, sports doormat of the Big Ten Conference, yet recent events should improve this identity problem somewhat.

In January, Dan Ross, a Northeastern grad, set a Super Bowl record by catching 11 passes for the Cincinnati Bengals. The hockey team just captured its first Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association championship and qualified for the eight-team national tournament. The basketball team, meanwhile, earned an automatic NCAA tournament bid by winning the ECAC North for a second straight year. After upsetting St. Joseph's in a first-round game, the Huskies lost a nationally televised triple overtime thriller to Villanova.

Even within the Boston metropolitan area, Northeastern often plays second fiddle to such other colleges as Harvard, Boston University, and Boston College. Few schools, however, have more fascinating sports ties. When founded in 1898, Northeastern was under the auspices of the Boston YMCA. Today the center of the Back Bay campus sits on the first World Series site, where the Boston Americans and Pittsburgh Nationals met in 1903. A block or so away, the basketball and hockey teams play in the old Boston Arena, which has undergone a million dollars in renovations and been renamed Northeastern Arena. The Boston Celtics once played in the facility, which was built in 1909 and is the oldest indoor hockey arena in the US.

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