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Norfolk State men's hoops hosts Old Dominion for first time since 1969

Posted at 7:51 PM, Dec 02, 2020

NOFOLK, Va. - Norfolk State men's basketball hasn't hosted Old Dominion since 1969. It's been so long that the Monarchs weren't even known as ODU yet, but ODC.

51 years later it's hard to find much, other than old black and white newspaper clippings, to remind us of what matchups were like when the Spartans faced the Monarchs in the 1960s. Former NSU athletic director Marty Miller was a Spartan baseball player during that time period and can recall what those rivalry matchups were like.

"Great atmosphere," Miller said. "That was some of the best games I think I witnessed. very competitive, the fans really looked forward to that game each year, and it really created such an interest for this community and I believe the entire state. When we played it was electric in the arenas."

While Miller was better known as a baseball player during the 60s, he also became a part of the men's basketball team because of his background in mathematics.

"Coach Fiers who was the basketball coach found out that I was a math major and plus I was a student athlete, so he told me I'd be a great statistician for the team and this is how I ended up taking stats. I traveled with them, they treated me like I was one of the basketball players, and I even roomed with some of the basketball players, so it was a great opportunity for me to be getting closer to the players and the team," Miller said.

While a part of the team, he witnessed many sellouts, especially when the Spartans and Monarchs squared off.

He'd expect the same during Wednesday's game if it wasn't for limited attendance due to the pandeci, so instead he looks back on what the gymnasium looked like when NSU hosted the Monarchs in 1969.

"Our students, for a 7 o'clock game, started arriving at 5 o'clock because at some point the place was completely filled and you couldn't get in," Miller said. "Sometimes we'd do our homework in between getting here and the game because we expected a sell out crowd. It's the type of game you look forward to if you're a student athlete."

No sellout on Wednesday, but like the newspaper clippings from the last time the Spartans hosted ODU, the high intensity that accompanies this rivalry game remains black and white.