UM exposure grows with success of basketball team

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — University of Montevallo President John W. Stewart III was aware of the tremendous opportunity his institution had in front of it March 24.

With approximately 3.1 million television viewers across the nation annually tuning into CBS for the NCAA Division II men’s basketball championship game, which featured the Falcons against Western Washington University this season, Stewart and his colleagues hope to capitalize on the expanded audience.

“It’s a really good chance for us to share our good news,” Stewart said. “This championship run is indicative of the whole university. We’re on a great trajectory.”

DeAnna Smith, the Montevallo vice president for business affairs, said the trustees helped finance four charter buses following the Falcons’ victory in the NCAA Division II semifinals March 22 to put a strong contingent of fans in front of the CBS cameras.

“It’s (public relations) we couldn’t buy anywhere else,” Smith said. “We’re so glad we were able to get four buses up here.”

Smith praised the charter bus organizers for their last-minute effort to bring Montevallo fans to the NCAA Division II national championship game.

“We did it in a matter of 24 hours,” Smith said. “The Montevallo family has just been great.”

Stewart said the University’s benefit of playing in the national championship game can’t be measured.

“We’re a great University that will be even better because of this experience,” Stewart said.