Harvard headed to NCAA tournament 2012

Tommy Amaker is the head coach for the Harvard Crimson.
Tommy Amaker, Head Coach, Harvard Basketball
CBS News

(CBS News) Harvard University is famous for many things, but not basketball.

But today, under the helm of head coach Tommy Amaker, the Harvard Crimson will compete in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament for the first time in 66 years.

The team of 1946 notwithstanding, previous squads also showed some promise through the years, but true excitement over men's basketball at Harvard really began when Jeremy Lin played point guard here before moving on to his recent success -- in the NBA.

For Coach Amaker, the team's recent success is no fluke, and even without Lin, the program has continued to grow. When Amaker took the job five years ago, he inherited a team that won just eight games. This season, the Crimson won 26 games and set a new school record.

"We've talked about, from day one, to be an upstart," Amaker said. "Then, we want to become a contender; then we said we want to be a winner; then we want to be a champion; and we're hopeful that we can maybe one day build a dynasty."

Dynasty is a part of Amaker's DNA. He was an All-American point guard at Duke before becoming an assistant to coach Mike Krzyzewski when the team won back-to-back NCAA tournaments in 1991 and 1992.

At a school accustomed to high achievement, Amaker has accomplished something rather unique at Harvard -- the Crimson finally seems ready to shed its underdog status.

"We need to focus on what's right in front of us," Amaker said. "We need to remain who we've been. And you know what? Crazier things have happened -- as we've seen -- in the NCAA tournament."