Bolstered by a strong recommendation from the NCAA women's basketball staff, who gave the city rave reviews for its handling of the 2006 women's Final Four, Boston yesterday was selected to host a regional in the 2009 NCAA men's tournament March 26 and 28 at TD Banknorth Garden.
``I'm elated," said Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo, whose school hosted first- and second-round games at what was then the FleetCenter, in 1999 and 2003, and will serve as the host school for the regional in '09. ``I'm elated for the city of Boston, for Boston College, and for TD Banknorth Garden and the basketball fans in the area. We're going to get four quality teams to come in here and we're going to send one to the Final Four.
``Having first and second rounds were great, but this is going to be special."
Of the other regional sites --
In addition to the women's Final Four, Boston has also hosted the men's Frozen Four, all of which helped as 56 cities submitted bids for one of 22 men's host slots in 2009 and '10. The Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence will host first- and second-round games in 2010.
``When we look at sites, we look at three basic things," said Jeanne Boyd, director for the NCAA men's Division 1-A basketball championship who worked on the site selection subcommittee. ``We look at the airport and whether or not it is able to handle the traffic, we look at the number of hotel rooms available in the city, and we look at the facility to see if it meets the minimum seating capacity [12,000], which is the same for regionals as it is for first and second rounds.
``And Boston did a tremendous job of putting together a solid proposal."
Boyd said there was one other factor that weighed heavily in Boston's favor: the success of the 2006 women's Final Four.
``When the women's staff came back they said if we needed a place to go for a regional that Boston was the place to go," Boyd said. ``They raved about it."
It will be a busy year for BC, which will also serve as de facto host of the Atlantic Coast Conference's baseball tournament at Fenway Park in late May and early June.
``Hopefully, our teams will be playing in the tournament in men's and women's basketball and so will our men's and women's ice hockey teams," said DeFilippo. ``We're going to really be on the move, but that's OK. That's what it's all about."