1979 was a memorable year for UConn Athletics..That included New England Championships and NCAA Appearances for both UConn Men's Basketball and UConn Baseball. And they had a common bond to both, my friend Randy LaVigne. A Senior from South Catholic in Hartford. Along with Jeff Carr and a freshman sensation Corny Thompson of Middletown, the Hoopsters under Dom Perno, went 21-8, while going 11-1 in it's last 12 to win the ECAC Tournament in Providence. Beating BC and URI to get to the NCAA's. Where they would lose to The Louie and Bowie Show from Syracuse. LaVigne was the third leading scorer, averaging just under 11ppg and was the team leader in assists at just under 4 per game.
Hoops season ended March 10th...The first day of the baseball season where they opened the season with a win at East Carolina. As Sophomore Pitcher Colin McLaughlin struck out 9 Pirates. LaVigne returned for a two game series at North Carolina, where he homered, tripled and singled in a 17-8 rout. Later McLaughlin struck out 14 Iona Gaels in a 26-1 rout.
The back end of a DH Split with New Hampshire started the Huskies on their run. Winning 17 of their next 18 games. Including a 4-2, 11 inning win over Northeastern where LaVigne, who was slumping, homered an went 4 for 5 as the sure continued into May with a 1-0 win over Holy Cross. By this time Randy was hitting .407, had a team high 8 homers, 37 hits and 29 rbi's as the Huskies closed in on the post season.
In Worcester, the Huskies lost a 2-1 decision to Fairfield in the opener....Now of the loser's bracket, UConn knocked out Maine,with Colin McLaughlin firing a one hitter, then routed Fairfield, and rolled UMass twice to win the New England Championship. At the NCAA's in Annapolis, The Huskies beat Navy before a loss to St. John's. Again out of the losers bracket, UConn beat Nebraska, then St John's twice to get to Omaha. The Huskies 5th trip to the CWS.
Where in the first week of June in Omaha, powerhouses Texas and Cal-State Fullerton got the better of the Huskies in which Coach Larry Panciero retired after the 1979 season where his long time assistant, Andy Baylock took over. As for LaVigne, he finished his career with a .338 average and 8 triples. And property of the Chicago Cubs..
He spent five years in the Minors, where he played 507 games, mostly with AA Midland and one year in Iowa at the AAA level. A career .292 hitter, 54 homers and 316 rbi. His best year 1980 in Midland where he hit .300 with 17 HR and 96 rbi. Randy these days resides in the Hartford Area with his wife, Dr Andrea Dennis, who is on the Board of Trustees at UConn while running their animal hospital in Bloomfield.
And perhaps you've heard Randy over various times in the last 20 years on the mic as Color Analyst for UConn Women's and Men's Basketball and the University of Hartford basketball teams. The last of the great multi-sport athletes to wear the national flag blue.....