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Tourney, DACC extend deal: 'There's no place like Danville'

Feb. 8—Submit a Letter to the Editor here

DANVILLE — In March, 20 college basketball teams will flock to Vermilion County to compete — and they'll keep doing so every March for the next four years.

The NJCAA announced on Wednesday that Danville Area Community College has been chosen to host the association's Division II Men's Basketball Championships in 2026, 2027 and 2028.

DACC had previously been tapped to host the 2024 and 2025 championships.

NJCAA President and CEO Christopher Parker will be attending this year's tournament, which marks his 31st year as tourney host, said DACC President Stephen Nacco.

"Danville is very excited," he said, adding that the association's decision is a testament not just to the college but to the city itself.

According to Nacco, tournament chair Brian Hensgen leads DACC in their hosting duties with support from the Danville Area Visitors Bureau and the city of Danville. Volunteers, students, staff and local businesses have also been supportive of the tournament.

"It's also really just the people who come there, and they treat these players and these coaches like they're celebrities," Nacco said. "And so every year, when this ends, when the tournament's over, they do a review on Danville. And there's no place like Danville, where it really is the only game in town. It is arguably the most exciting thing that happens in Danville every year."

He believes that the positive testimonials from these players is one of the reasons Danville has been continually selected to host the tournament.

The 2024 championships are set for March 18-23 and will mark the first year of the tournament expanding to a 20-team field made up of 16 automatic qualifiers and four at-large selections.

Nacco said DACC has worked over the years to turn the Mary Miller Gymnasium into "a lot more of a sports venue," and over the last three months, they've updated the sound system, both for the sake of the NJCAA tournament and the Vermilion County Tournament.

He added that hosting the county tournament in 2023 and 2024 has helped DACC "ramp up our game" and prepare for the NJCAA championship.