Boggs relishes role in UConn men's national championship run2009 RDHS graduate now part of storied program's history
Storrs, Conn. — The University of Connecticut men's basketball team defied the odds Monday, April 7, and won the program's fourth NCAA championship with a 60-54 win over Kentucky.
Amid the pandemonium on the floor moments after the buzzer sounded on national television was former Rockland District High School student-athlete Baillie Boggs, capturing the action.
Boggs, who turns 23 on April 16, is the assistant director of video services for UConn, where she graduated from last year with a degree in communications and a concentration in digital media.
In essence, when it comes to men's basketball at UConn this season, there is little, if not anything, Boggs has not captured on video.
The 2009 RDHS graduate and that year's VillageSoup schoolgirl athlete of the year was on the baseline shooting video for nearly all of the team's 32 regular season games; the team's American Athletic Conference tournament run in Memphis, Tenn.; and the team's entire NCAA tournament run, which featured games in Buffalo, N.Y., New York City and Arlington, Texas.
Boggs, who last year was a graphic designer with Major League Baseball's New York Mets while also in a work study program doing video production for the UConn athletic department, called the experience “amazing.”
“I think that's part of the reason I came back to UConn,” she said. “I knew the job that I wanted to do and I knew that I wanted to be part of the team. To go on a run like that, obviously I didn't know that would happen, but I felt like I just fit right in with that group of people.”
Boggs said being able to rush the court following the win over the Wildcats along with players and team officials was “a surreal experience.”
“I was one of only a few people allowed to run on the court,” she said. “But I'm not technically media, I'm listed as a member of the team and the staff, so I was given this bright green vest and I was told as long as I didn't get in the way of CBS and their cameras I was able to run out and get the footage and get all the good stuff on the court."
“I was right in the middle of all the confetti and all the guys jumping around. That was really cool too. I was just trying not to get run over [by anyone],” she said.
Her night was far from over.
That night she produced the team's official NCAA championship video, which featured primarily her own footage and some footage from CBS, the network that covered several tournament games in addition to all three Final Four contests, as well.
“The night of the championship game, I worked with my co-worker to kind of compile two games worth of footage and behind-the-scenes stuff into this five-minute video that was going to be shown back on campus the next day,” she said. “We stayed up all night. I think we got maybe an hour of sleep getting that done.”
Boggs had put together a few other video highlight packages along the way, but the one highlighting the national championship was their “big piece.”
“It has like 65,000 views on YouTube,” she said. “It's ridiculous.”
In addition to games, Boggs shot a great deal of behind-the-scenes footage throughout the NCAA tournament.
“There were all these different appearances the team had to make,” she said. “Wherever they were, I was there just following them around and documenting that.”
Boggs said the Huskies “felt they were better than their rankings showed” as the team was ranked seventh in the East Region in the 64-team tournament, “So part of that was just them fighting to prove 'We're better than that and we're a good team and we deserve to be there.'”
“We played St. Joe's in the beginning in Buffalo and they were a really tough team, but we just did what we had to do to win that game and I think that was kind of the turning point,” she said. “All the guys were doing all the little things. It's not just Shabazz [Napier], it's the entire team doing these things to help the team win.”
Napier was named the tournament's most outstanding player and was also named AAC conference player of the year.
But as Boggs said, every team member does their part, which she was reminded of as the team began cutting down the nets following their championship victory over the Wildcats.
She then climbed the ladder and cut down a small piece of history for herself.
“The team had gone through and a lot of the staff had gone through [cutting down a piece of the net],” she said. “I wasn't expecting or thinking I was going to at all, but it got to the point where there were some pieces left and my boss is just like 'Alright this is your chance get up there and do it.' And usually I'm the person capturing the moment, so I'd never expect to do something like that.”
Not many can say they were part of a National Championship team, let alone a program with the high-profile pedigree of the UConn men's basketball team. Boggs can now stake that claim.
It was just one of those surreal moments I'll remember forever,” she said. “It was an amazing experience.”
Boggs can be seen at the 2:08 and 3:29 second-marks of the championship video in the link below, donning her green vest, documenting both UConn's national semifinal and national championship victories.