We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We did Brown next because if it’s Brown, grab the crown!
The 1985-86 season marked Brown’s only Ivy championship, which alone would be enough to merit it a No. 1 ranking on this list. But the people involved with that championship make it even more special.
Brown was led that season by coach Mike Cingiser, a 1962 Brown graduate and former All-Ivy Bear himself. Senior center Jim Turner, who went on to become head of debt capital markets at BNP Paribas, one of the world’s largest banks, was the team’s leading producer at 19.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Senior guard Mike Waitkus ran the point memorably for the Bears and finished first for most assists and best free throw percentage in school history. Junior forward Patrick Lynch provided a steady scoring presence and then went on to play three seasons professionally in Europe, before becoming Rhode Island’s attorney general.
The 1985-86 Bears went an unexciting 16-11 and 10-4 in Ivy play, but that was enough to earn the Ivy crown and register a few high points along the way. Turner poured 37 points in a home win over Dartmouth, won at Miami (Fla.) and clinched the Ivy crown with an 82-51 win at Dartmouth after Cornell lost to Princeton to fall to 9-5 in league play. Brown’s Ivy championship marked the first year that an Ivy besides Penn or Princeton since 1968 (Columbia), and it handed the Bears the right to play Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Brown looked primed to pull off an upset upon taking a 21-20 lead midway through the second half.
And then Syracuse scored the next 26 points en route to a 101-52 blowout win over the Bears. Oh well.
Not only was the 1985-86 Bears’ accomplishments unparalleled during that season, they were unparalleled in many ways before and after that season when considering all that Cingiser and his players have accomplished.
Read this Brown Alumni Magazine piece from 2011 for more on the Bears’ 1985-86 run to remember.