Dual National Championship Parade for UConn Draws Hundreds of Thousands
Posted on April 14, 2014
Story & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb
As far as the eye could see and beyond, fans lined the streets of downtown Hartford on April 13 for the 2014 Dual National Championship Parade honoring the University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams – a repeat of ten years ago when the UConn men and women also brought home dual national NCAA basketball titles.
This time around the crowd was estimated to have been even larger – approaching 300,000. It certainly looked that way.
Under sunny skies the celebration got underway at 4 p.m. outside the state Capitol. Scheduled for 45 minutes it went twice as long.
Taking part were a number of area high school marching bands, multiple fife & drum corps, former UConn basketball stars, “voices” of the Huskies – broadcasters Joe D’Ambrosio and Wayne Norman, and state dignitaries – including Gov. Dannel Malloy who rode atop a convertible with UConn President Susan Herbst.
Applause was abundant for all the parade units but the fervor of the crowd rose as the double-decker buses carrying the men’s and women’s teams approached, announced by bursts of blue and white confetti. First were the women with Coach Geno Auriemma seated in back. In the men’s bus, Coach Kevin Ollie rode in front waving and smiling as the national championship trophy was held aloft by his team. Chants of “UCONN – HUSKIES” were ongoing throughout the parade, however they got even louder as the teams passed by, as well as, shouts of “GENO” and “OLLIE.”
The UConn Pep Band was on hand to play the university fight song and both the current UConn cheerleaders and alumni cheerleaders shouted out cheers.
The Hartford Business Improvement District reportedly raised $90,000 to put on the parade. Anticipating the popularity of UConn souvenirs, it was also reported that some 100 vendors got licenses then staked their spots out hours early.
Congratulatory signs could be seen throughout the city but none said it better than one in front of the Bushnell Theater, it read – “BRAVO UConn Huskies!”