"He is a basketball legend in New England, a poster-boy for all that is good in sports in America and will be fondly remembered by both teammates and opponents forever. New England and Clark lost one of its greatest ever on September 11, 2001."
Those words were spoken by Wally Halas the former men's basketball head coach at Clark University, where Daniel Patrick Trant grew his legend. The numbers are staggering. The awards countless. The name? Forever recognizable. The lives touched? Still counting. The emotions? For some, still too raw 15 years later.
Dan Trant was one of 2,819 people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 in the largest attack on human life in the history of the United States of America. Nobody will ever forget that Tuesday morning, and nobody who ever came in contact with him will ever forget Dan Trant.
On the page below you will find quotes, memories and stories all about him – this iconic man who was a father, a husband, a son, a brother, an uncle, a mentor, a friend and one hell of a basketball player.
SAY WHAT: Nine Quotes About Dan Trant
"He is the best guard in New England in either Division II or Division III, and arguably one of the top three guards in any New England division. He is the complete guard." – Clark University head coach Wally Halas, midway through the 1983-84 season.
"Dan Trant is without a doubt the most outstanding guard we have faced all season in any division. His scoring ability is uncanny and he has tremendous vision with or without the ball. He is an All-American." – Tom Brennan, head coach Yale University, following Clark's near upset of Division I Yale when Trant scored 30 points and dished out nine assists in the 91-89 loss on November 29, 1983.
"I know Clark is good and they are at their peak right now. And (Dan) Trant, I don't want to hear any more about him. I've heard enough already." – Nazareth head coach Bill Nelson, Friday, March 9, 1984.
"We knew (Rick) Cole could shoot and we also knew about (Dan) Trant and what we had to do, but he (Trant) was too much for us. He just completely overpowered our guards … even our forwards at times. He put it to us."– Upsala head coach Tom Chapman following Clark's 69-68 win in the NCAA National Semifinals, March 16, 1984.
"The pact that Danny and I made at the start of the year is still going on. As I said last week, we made a promise to each other that we were going to make the Final Four and we did." – Rick Cole, Clark co-captain following Clark's 69-68 win in the NCAA National Semifinals, March 16, 1984.
"We had no right when we were 8-5 to think of being here tonight. It's purely the determination of our two captains, Dan Trant and Rick Cole who go us here. The leadership they gave us all year was inspirational." – Clark head coach Wally Halas following Clark's 103-86 loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater in the NCAA National Championship game, March 17, 1984.
"What it all came down to for the Norwich University basketball team was the Cadets couldn't stop Clark guard Dan Trant in the NCAA Division III basketball tournament." – Don Fillion, Burlington Free Sports Editor, after Trant scored 38 points in the NCAA Regional Semifinals on March 2, 1984.
"Fans walked away mesmerized by Trant." – Mike Tempesta, MetroWest News Sports Writer, following Clark's 84-78 win over Framingham State in the NCAA Regional Final, in which Trant scored 35 points on 10-for-20 shooting on March 3, 1984.
"Trant could play for anyone in New England, and that includes Boston College." – Amherst College head coach Dave Hixon after Trant scored 34 points against the Lord Jeffs in a 94-87 win on December 11, 1983.
NOT MANY BETTER: 11 Of His Best Games During His Four Years At Clark
December 4, 1981: Nichols vs. Clark
Playing in his first contest without All-Americans Kevin Cherry and Kevin Clark, the sophomore floor general scored 20 points and handed out eight assists as the Cougars opened up the season with a 99-81 win over the Bison.
January 12, 1982: Coast Guard at Clark
Sitting at 5-3 on the season, Trant turned in his first career double-double, totaling 19 points and ten assists as Clark rolled past the Coast Guard Academy.
January 22, 1983: Clark at Colby
The Mules entered the contest ranked as the No. 1 team in New England and were playing in front of a home crowd. Trant had his 7-2 team poised for the upset, but a 25-foot shot at the buzzer dashed those hopes and Colby escaped with a 69-68 win. There was no doubt, Trant was living up to the hype, finishing with 28 points and five assists.
February 5, 1983: Brandeis at Clark
With a bull's eye planted squarely on his back as the engine that made 12-3 Cougars go, and the fact that Clark had already knocked off the Judges earlier in the year by 25 points, Trant recorded a double-double, totaling 21 points and 11 assists in a 32 point win over their regional rival.
March 4, 1983: UMass-Boston at Clark
Playing in the NCAA Tournament for the second season in a row, Trant pumped in 23 points and handed out nine assists as Clark advanced to the NCAA Regional Championships with an 82-71 win over the Beacons.
November 29, 1983: Yale at Clark
Against a Division I opponent to open his senior season, Trant put on a show for the ages – putting up 30 points and nine assists in a last second 91-89 loss.
December 11, 1983: Clark at Amherst
Playing against Amherst College – a team not far from his hometown of Westfield, Mass. – Trant pumped in 34 points and handed out seven assists in a 94-87 win. He shot 15 of 23 from the field, prompting Amherst head coach Dave Hixon to say, "Trant could play for anyone in New England, and that includes Boston College."
February 7, 1984: Clark at Babson
Whether at home or on the road, Trant always seemed to be in his comfort zone, judging by his scoring outputs. On this night, he was extremely comfortable – racking up 30 points and seven assists in a 100-73 win as the Cougars won their fourth straight game.
March 2, 1984: Clark at Norwich
In what could've be his greatest collegiate contest Trant was simply amazing – scoring a career-high 38 points, while adding eight assists in a brilliant performance that sent Clark on to the regional finals with an 88-84 win over the Cadets.
March 3, 1984: Clark vs. Framingham State
If his career performance against Norwich wasn't his best game, then this one had to be. He went 10-for-20 from the field and 15-for-15 from the free throw line to push the Cougars past the heavily favored Rams and into the Elite Eight.
March 17, 1984: Clark vs. Wisconsin-Whitewater
Playing in the final game of his collegiate career, Trant kept his Cougars close – the score was tied at 50-50 in the opening minutes of the second half – but Wisconsin-Whitewater proved to be too tough for Clark to overcome. Trant went out doing what he did his entire career scoring and distributing – finishing with 26 points and eight assists. After starting the season 8-5, Clark won 13 of its next 15 to finish at 21-7. Said Trant after the game, "My dad summed it up when he told coach Halas that everything he promised, we got."