Amherst College has always enjoyed an outstanding national reputation for its impressive academic tradition and educational standards. For the past nine years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Amherst among the top two liberal arts colleges in the nation, and Amherst's athletic teams have exhibited a similar quality against their New England Division III rivals.
With a tradition of strong programs, Amherst basketball teams have followed suit. Under the direction of Head Coach David Hixon, the Lord Jeffs have won seven Little Three titles, earned 13 ECAC tournament invitations and two NCAA bids. They have consistently placed among the top-ranked teams in Division III New England in the past 10 years.
Six seasons ago, with the NESCAC president's approval of NCAA post-season competition, the Lord Jeffs (ranked # 1 in New England) not only earned a tournament berth but advanced into the third round, the "Elite Eight",of the NCAA Tournament before losing to the eventual national champions. The Jeffs finished that season with a school-record 22 wins and only five losses, an achievement made more impressive by the fact that they had played 17 games on the road and only 10 at home. The Jeffs went on to win back-to-back ECAC Championships in 1995 and 1996, bringing Amherst's total to four ECAC Titles and tying the program with one other school for the most in New England. Amherst followed up in 1997 with its second invitation to the NCAA Tournament, where the Jeffs concluded their season in the Sweet Sixteen with a 21-5 record after shattering seven team and individual records during the course of the year.
In the 1998 season the Jeffs came out of the gate at 13-0 and a #3 ranking in the country, only to finish 20-5 and earn another ECAC Tournament bid. The squad earned victories over both Williams and Trinity (two NCAA bid teams).
Last season the Jeffs finished 16-9 and garnered two, its first outright Little Three title in 10 years by beating Williams twice. The Jeffs suprised everyone in New England by giving the Ephs their first loss of the season by a resounding 23 points in Williamstown.
Although the team graduates three starters and four of the top seven players, they are optimistic about the upcoming season and have great hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament.