Students, faculty, alumnae, trustees and parents raised $3,000 for the first trip to the nationals. The check was presented to the team at a big pep rally held in Villa Maria Rotunda.
After a defeat at Queens (breaking a 35-game winning streak), the team was greeted by the entire student body in Villa Maria Rotunda.
Eight of the eleven players went to Normal, Illinois for the first championship. Most teams brought fifteen players. With no money for the return trip, a donor’s generosity enabled the Mighty Macs to fly home 1st class.
The only way of following the progress of the Mighty Macs at the first national championship was by waiting for the phone call to arrive from one of the players after the game.
After the 1972 title, 500 Immaculata supporters jammed into Philadelphia’s International Airport to welcome the Macs with their national championship trophy. After the 1974 win in Manhattan, Kansas, 1000 supporters greeted the
Mighty Macs at Philadelphia International Airport.
George Heaslip, writer for the West Chester Daily Local News, stated in an article after Immaculata’s first title game,”One thing, for sure. They’re going to have to change that nickname. No more ‘Macs.’ How about ‘The Mighty Macs’?” And that is exactly what happened. Forever now known as “The Mighty Macs.”
After the first national title, Immaculata College received congratulatory telegrams from President Nixon, Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo and Senator Ted Kennedy.
The Mighty Macs wore a wool jumper until the 1973-74 season, when they appeared on court in a two-piece blouse and skirt. The wool jumpers, worn previously, were not cleaned, but aired.
In 1972, at the Illinois State game, five Immaculata students brought in a large wash basin and began to bang on it. In the 1972-1973 season, Rene Muth’s father, Lou Muth, brought several buckets to each game and thus the
“bucket brigade” was born. He handed them out to spectators and collected them after each game. An Immaculata friend with a large horn was forbidden to take his instrument into the gym. In the 1974-1975 season, at
James Madison, the artificial noise-makers were banned.
In July 1974, after three-national titles, the Mighty Macs had a month-long tour in Australia playing in 18 games.
The Mighty Macs, upon their return from Australia, received a three-foot-in-diameter basketball covered with 1000 white chrysanthemums and blue carnations as a gift from Allied Florist and designed by C.F. Kremp and Sons.
There were smoking and non-smoking cars when the Mighty Macs drove themselves to games.
Theresa Shank Grentz played for the United States women’s basketball team in the World University Games in Russia in 1973.
In 1972, Immaculata had the distinction of being the smallest school qualifying for the Nationals.