Villanova’s Championship Bittersweet for One Delco Family

Photo of Villanova's Kris Jenkins courtesy of USA Today Sports.

When Villanova recently knocked off North Carolina to win its second NCAA championship, it was a bittersweet moment for the family of Pasquale Dougherty, according to Action News.

Dougherty, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from Villanova and who flew to Kentucky to witness the historic upset over Georgetown in 1985, was not around to see the Wildcats hoist the trophy in Houston.

“Thirty-one years ago, my dad said, ‘I don’t care what it costs, this might be my only opportunity to see Villanova in a Final Four – we are going to Kentucky,’” daughter Marijo Dougherty said. “And so we went. He brought his kids because he wasn’t sure history would ever repeat itself. It’s one of my favorite memories with my dad.”

Pasquale, a former Delaware County Engineer of the Year who spent nearly his entire life in the Philadelphia area, including 30 years in Upper Darby, passed away on January 12, 2015, from colon cancer at the age of 68.

One of his prized possessions was an engraved bottle of Maker’s Mark whiskey commemorating Villanova’s first title, which he vowed would remain sealed until his team once again cut down the nets. Instead, it was opened after his funeral, the alternative option should Villanova fail to win again in his lifetime.

“We toasted (Pasquale’s) life with the Villanova Maker’s Mark in January, so we popped champagne Monday celebrating (the second national championship),” wife Lizzy Dougherty said.

The Dougherty family is certain that their beloved patriarch is celebrating, and may have even played a role in helping guide Kris Jenkins’s game-winning shot.

“It was late in the first half and I said, ‘C’mon, dad, Villanova is wearing their dark blues … you have to stop the team wearing white,’” said son Bill Dougherty, who also received his master’s in engineering at Villanova. “When Jenkins hit that shot, I said wow, I couldn’t believe it. It was awesome … I think dad had a hand in that.”

In the weeks leading up to his death, the family gathered at the Doughertys’ Springfield home to watch a VCR-taped copy of the 1985 game one last time.

“Another generation gets to know that incredible feeling of being a Wildcat winner,” Marijo Dougherty said. “My dad certainly was watching that game from heaven.”

Click here to read more about the Dougherty family.

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