|“The Mighty MAC’s” Southern Allegheny Premiere Will Have Surprises||02/17/2012|
Cresson, Pa. – This is the “stuff that dreams are made of.” Between 1972 and 1974, an amazing story unfolded in collegiate women’s basketball. Immaculata College (The MAC’s), a small, struggling all-women’s college in Chester County, Pa., launched an unlikely dynasty, winning three straight AIAW National Championships (there was no NCAA women’s tournament at the time) under legendary coach, Cathy Rush. “The Mighty Macs” is a film based on this incredible true story. “The Mighty MACs” will be shown at Mount Aloysius College on Friday night, February 17th at 6:45 p.m. in the College’s historic Alumni Hall. The film will be introduced by world renowned women’s basketball coaching icon, Theresa Grentz. Persuading Theresa Shank Grentz to visit Mount Aloysius College (MAC!) was not difficult. She has family in Cambria County and a high school teammate (and college opponent) Mount Aloysius’ Michele Foley, wife of the Mount Aloysius President.
The Foleys welcome area residents to come and enjoy the film. “For lovers of sport and for those who love to cheer the underdog, ‘The Mighty MAC’s’ is a must-see movie,” said Mount Aloysius President Tom Foley. “We are fortunate to have this world renowned women’s basketball coach on our campus that evening. We welcome Theresa, and this premier showing on campus allows us to applaud her career as a pioneer in women’s sports, as a player and as a coach.” Foley added, “She was a three time first team all-American and the film highlights the integral part she played on this Championship team. Theresa will introduce the film and discuss this very special time in her life and in the life of women’s sport with us. It promises to be an uplifting and enjoyable evening for those able to attend.”
The movie focuses on that 1971-72 Immaculata College team, telling the true tale of an unlikely group who started in obscurity but became the original Cinderella story in women's basketball. MAC’s coach, Cathy Rush became immortalized when she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The team’s 1974 third title game played on March 23, 1974, was the first ever live televised coverage of a women’s basketball game in the United States. The unquestioned team leader was player number 12, Theresa Grentz. Theresa scored over 1,000 points and was named First Team All-American three times. A Collegiate “Player of the Year,” Immaculata retired her number 12 jersey.
For the MAC’s star player, Theresa Grentz, (born Theresa Shank, Glenolden, Pa.) those miraculous playing years were just the start of her amazing career.
After graduation in 1974, Grentz taught elementary school and was hired as a part-time assistant basketball coach at Saint Joseph’s College, Philadelphia. She quickly became head coach, compiling a 27-5 record her first two seasons.
Recruited to Rutgers as their first full-time women’s basketball coach in 1976, Grentz compiled a 19-year record of 434-150 which included nine NCAA tournament appearances from 1986 to 1994. Her 1981-82 team, with a 25-7 record, won the AIAW National Championship. In 1994, her Lady Knights became the first unranked team to defeat a number 1 ranked team in the history of the AP women’s basketball poll, stunning Tennessee 87-77.
Grentz was also head coach of the Olympic, Goodwill and Maccabiah Games teams during her career, and brought home a gold, silver and bronze from those efforts.
Named the sixth head women’s basketball coach at the University of Illinois in 1995, she clinched their first ever Big Ten title in February 1997. In December 1999, she became the winningest coach at Illinois. In February 2006, she became the 10th coach in history to reach the 650-win milestone. On March 7, 2007, she was awarded the WBCA’s Carol Eckman Award, exemplifying spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and commitment to the student-athlete.
Coach Grentz was honored four times at the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.
For information about the Southern Allegheny Mountain’s premiere of “The Mighty MAC’s” at the Mount Aloysius College’s Alumni Hall, contact the College at 814-886-6319. The public is warmly invited, free of charge.