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UConn welcomes home back-to-back NCAA champs, in advance of weekend parade

Assistant coach Luke Murray gives Tristan Newton, guard for the University of Connecticut’s Men basketball team a hug after a new banner was unveiled in Newton’s honor at the UConn Men’s Basketball Rally at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT on April 9th, 2024.
Ayannah Brown
/
Connecticut Public
Assistant coach Luke Murray gives Tristan Newton, guard for the University of Connecticut’s Men basketball team a hug after a new banner was unveiled in Newton’s honor at the UConn Men’s Basketball Rally at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT on April 9th, 2024.

Students and fans celebrated UConn's second consecutive men’s basketball championship with a rally Tuesday night at Gampel Pavilion.

UConn beat Purdue Monday night 75-60 in the NCAA title game in Arizona. The Huskies are the first team since 2007 to capture back-to-back national championships.

The “Welcome Home” celebration kicked-off around 8:30 p.m., after the team arrived at the UConn campus in Storrs, Connecticut, from Bradley International Airport.

Donovan Clingan, center for the University of Connecticut’s Mens basketball team, holds the NCAA Championship trophy at the UConn Men’s Basketball Rally at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT on April 9th, 2024.
Ayannah Brown
/
Connecticut Public
Donovan Clingan, center for the University of Connecticut’s Mens basketball team, holds the NCAA Championship trophy at the UConn Men’s Basketball Rally at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT on April 9th, 2024.

The arena was packed with fans as UConn head coach Dan Hurley took to the podium saying "two in a row, two in a row" in reference to the team's back-to-back NCAA championship wins.

"We started working in June real hard for this and this group gave absolutely everything they had to accomplish our goals," Hurley said.

Fans were encouraged to buy tickets to the rally if they hoped to greet the team. There was no public or media access when the players landed at the airport.

Bill Murray makes an appearance at the UConn Storrs campus at the University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball Rally on April 9th, 2024.
Ayannah Brown
/
Connecticut Public
Bill Murray makes an appearance at the UConn Storrs campus at the University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball Rally on April 9th, 2024.

Husky supporters who could not be in Storrs for the celebration were able to view the event livestream here, or join festivities later in the week.

UConn victory parade this Saturday in Hartford

Gov. Ned Lamont announced a victory parade and rally will be held in downtown Hartford on Saturday, April 13, 2024, starting at 11 a.m. at the state Capitol at the intersection of Trinity Street and Elm Street.

The parade will culminate with a rally outside the main entrance to the XL Center on Trumbull Street.

Fans hold up a sign that says “History Always Repeats Itself” at the UConn Storrs campus at the University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball Rally on April 9th, 2024.
Ayannah Brown
/
Connecticut Public
Fans hold up a sign that says “History Always Repeats Itself” at the UConn Storrs campus at the University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball Rally on April 9th, 2024.

Around 11:30 a.m. players, coaches, and other guests will be invited to give speeches.

"For the second year in a row, the UConn men's basketball team wowed the nation by dominating the NCAA tournament, and now it's time for Connecticut to give them the victory celebration they deserve," Lamont said in a statement.

"I urge basketball fans from all over Connecticut to come to Hartford on Saturday morning,” he said. “Show the Huskies how much this team means to our state and how proud we are of their accomplishments."

A new banner was unveiled at the University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball Rally in honor of Senior Guard, Tristen Newton. (Ayannah Brown/Connecticut Public)
Ayannah Brown
/
Connecticut Public
A new banner was unveiled at the University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball Rally in honor of Senior Guard, Tristen Newton. (Ayannah Brown/Connecticut Public)

This story has been updated. Connecticut Public's Eddy Martinez, Cassandra Basler and The Associated Press contributed to this report.