Face the State Flashback

FTS Flashback: UConn Wins First Final Four in 1999


March 29, 1999 was the biggest day in Connecticut sports history. The University of Connecticut men’s basketball team won its first national championship, that was followed by an enthusiastic homecoming at Storrs and a huge parade in Hartford. On the April 6th edition of Face the State our flashback takes us back to the spring of ’99 when the Huskies had everyone feeling pretty awesome.

I was sent to St. Petersburg, Florida to cover the Final Four, held at Tropicana Field, a baseball stadium turned into a basketball arena. About a dozen members of the WFSB team were dispatched to Tampa Bay to report to the folks back home. My assignment was to anchor our coverage there and interview some of the UConn fans who came by plane, RV and car to witness history.


When our crews arrived at the airport in Tampa we went to pick up our rental cars. Photographer Eric Budney and I were last in line and watched as our colleagues picked up their minivans and bland white sedans. I asked the clerk something along these lines: “Due to the fact that we rented so many cars, do you think we could get upgraded to a convertible?”

And we drove off in this!


We had just endured a brutal winter so why not work in 80 degree weather in an open car? We spent much of our time traveling in style covering UConn fans at beachfront hotels in Clearwater and St. Pete Beach.

You can watch the entire flashback this Sunday at 11AM on Face the State on WFSB Channel 3.

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