101-year-old fan watches UConn beat Louisville
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Cheering UConn on to its victory over Louisville was 101-year-old Harold Oehler.
He made the nearly 2-hour drive Sunday from Stafford Springs, Connecticut, and attended the game with a family friend. He was taking in his first postseason Huskies game after rooting them on for almost half a century. He couldn’t remember exactly how many regular games he’s attended, but recalled seeing them play in Bridgeport a few times.
“I’ve followed the girls since way back when. No question,” said Oehler, who was wearing a Huskies hat.
During the interview, Oehler pulled out his driver’s license, proudly showing off his 1917 date of birth.
He was following the game from his front row seat saying “It’s a tight, tight game — four or five points the whole time.”
The Huskies were able to pull out the victory, extending their record Final Four run to 12 years in a row.
Coach Geno Auriemma was amazed when hearing about Oehler after the game.
“One-hundred one years old? Holy moly,” the 65-year-old coach said. “Let me tell you something: With about a minute in the game, I felt like I was 101. It felt like my life was passing in front of me.”
Auriemma has heard many tales of elderly fans who love his team and it always impresses him.
“You know, the stories that I hear about the impact that we have on fans in Connecticut and around the country, when they tell you stories like this — these people, 80s, 90s, 100 — a big part of their life is watching our team play. I feel really, really good about that, and my players do too. This guy, who probably doesn’t have it easy to get it around — I mean, my mother’s 87, I know — and this guy’s going to come up here and watch a game. I just think that it’s an honor that someone would think enough of you to want to do that when he could have sat at home and watched it on TV. I think that’s really, really cool.”
Oehler captained an all-black anti-aircraft Army battery stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. Later, he ran the Matteson Lumber Company for 30 years before retiring in 1995.
AP freelancer Ian Pickus contributed to this story.