Holy Cross Gridiron Club Leadership Council Minutes

Kick-Off Homecoming Meeting

Present: Dan Adams ’07, Dominic Blue ’98, Tom Cadigan ’02, Chuck Doyle ’86,
Larry Doyle ’83 (chair), Coach Tom Gilmore, Jim Grogan ’76, John Hackney, ’87,
Jack Laurendeau ’79, Ron Maheu ’64, Frank Marshall ’48, Cindy Mercer,
Armand Picardi ’68, and Director of Athletics Dick Regan ’76

** The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. with Larry Doyle welcoming everyone to this new endeavor for Holy Cross Football.

Coach Gilmore Review:

Tom Gilmore thanked everyone for helping with this new Gridiron Club Leadership Council, and addressed the following topics:

2009 Season: The program under Coach Gilmore’s leadership exhibits a lot of passion for and respect of the game. While the team currently stands at 4-1, Tom said “winning is now expected,” and the program aims to contend for a Patriot League championship every year. Tom said the team’s recent loss at Brown was a huge “disappointment,” and that the entire program is striving for complete excellence—both on and the off the field. “Compiling an 11-0 record is the ultimate goal,” Tom said.
Holy Cross Tradition: Tom said the Holy Cross alumni network is a tremendous recruiting “selling point” of the program—that HC student-athletes succeed on the field and in the classroom; that the connections they develop with alumni often translate into career opportunities post-grad.
Scholarships: Tom briefly addressed the news that Fordham will be re-instituting football scholarships beginning next fall. Unless the league changes its policy, Fordham will still play in the League for a period of time but will not be eligible for the league championship and automatic NCAA berth.
Turf Practice Facility: Tom emphasized the importance of the new synthetic turf practice facility that is now located behind the Hart Center. The facility was built primarily through fundraising dollars. Tom thanked all the donors for their generosity. This multi-purpose, all-weather facility has changed the way the program goes about practicing. It will pay tremendous dividends during spring practice when the weather in New England is not always conducive to outdoor workouts.
Long-Term Needs: In response to a question about the program’s more long-term needs, Tom mentioned preliminary plans for renovation of the team’s Hart Center locker rooms, as well as improvements to Fitton Field and its immediate surroundings. All of these plans will require significant fundraising efforts.

Remarks by HCGLC Chair Larry Doyle ’83:

Turning attention to this specific meeting, Larry Doyle talked about the reasons why this Gridiron Club leadership group was created:

• Most other Patriot League and Ivy League schools have similar football leadership groups…why not us?
• This group can help promote the culture of Holy Cross football by developing relationships between alumni, student-athletes, and coaches
• This is all about “engagement and relationships”—helping to improve overall attendance at games and alumni/football events

Remarks by Director of Athletics Dick Regan ’76:

Dick Regan thanked everyone for their participation in this Council. He envisions the HCGLC as a volunteer group that rallies support for games and football-related events. Dick does not see the HCGLC as a fundraising group, but one that may offer some assistance in targeted fundraising efforts. Dick talked about his disappointment in the turnout for Jack Moriarty’s retirement reception on Sept. 19, and how a group like the HCGLC can “beat the drums” for attendance and engagement at events like these.

In response to a question about Tom Gilmore’s contract status, Dick commented that Tom signed a 4-year extension after last year that goes through the 2012 season.

Proposed Schedule of Meetings and HCGLC Events:

Larry then walked the Council through proposed events during the 2009-2010 academic year:

Career Planning/Networking Event (Thursday evening, Nov. 12)
o Annual event organized by Bill Maloney ’59 in the Hogan Campus Center. 1-2 football alumni talk to the team about their individual career paths, then a networking event takes place where alumni can interact with student-athletes. Dominic Blue commented that he usually attends this event annually; it’s a great opportunity to connect with current students and help them along in their career choices. Anyone interested in participating should contact Bill at e-mail bmaloney@wyoming.com or telephone (800) 242-8610.

Coach’s Reception, TBA, January/February

Football Awards Luncheon (Saturday, Feb. 6, 12:00 p.m.)
o Larry envisions a HCGLC presence at 1-2 tables. Will be important for parents to know that alumni are engaged and willing to help their sons in post-HC endeavors.

Holy Cross Football Golf Outing (tentative: Friday, Apr. 16)
o Currently scheduled for Worcester Country Club, but ongoing discussion about possibly re-scheduling at another location in early-June (in conjunction with Reunion Weekend) or early-August (just before summer camp opens). Is April necessarily the “right” time for this golf event? Discussion about having this event be a “friend-raiser,” not a fundraiser—charging at cost; not “nickling and diming” people to attend.

Spring Football Alumni Game & Cookout (Saturday, Apr. 17)
o Dan Adams talked about how fun last year’s Alumni Game was; the number of alumni who came out and had a great time. Dan and Casey Gough ’07 will continue to organize the Alumni Game, and how to make it even bigger this spring. Larry then spoke about possibly presenting a HCGLC “Achievement Award” at the post-game cookout in The Fieldhouse…recognizing an individual (not necessarily an alumni player) who has had a meaningful impact on the Football program.

Remarks by Tom Cadigan ’02 (Crusader Athletics Fund):

Tom Cadigan introduced himself as the manager of the Crusader Athletics Fund, the fundraising program for the College’s varsity sports. The Gridiron Club is the football-specific arm of the Athletics Fund and has raised close to $1 million in budget-enhancing funds for the football program since its inception in 2004. With endowment revenue declining and campus budgets being constrained, current-use giving through the Gridiron Club is critical for the team’s short-term success during this recession. Fundraising through the Gridiron Club is solely responsible for the team’s 50% increase in its recruitment budget, giving Tom Gilmore and his staff enhanced resources to bring top-quality student-athletes to Holy Cross.

Tom Cadigan said the HCGLC can help his efforts by opening doors to potential donors. If anyone is interested in serving as a fundraising volunteer, contact Tom directly at e-mail tcadigan@holycross.edu or telephone (508) 793-2415.

Proposed Programs for the HCGLC:

Larry then opened discussion on possible initiatives for the HCGLC to explore (in addition to events already on the schedule).

Mentoring Program…the potential to have the greatest long-term impact on the football program; connecting alumni with current student-athletes and building relationships that can transcend beyond the walls of Holy Cross. Larry challenged every HCGLC volunteer to commit to mentoring one (1) student-athlete, and to reach out to friends/teammates and get them involved as mentors. Dan Adams commented on how he’s become an informal mentor to VA-area students, and talked about the powerful rewards that come out of these relationships. John Hackney suggested the mentoring begin as early as freshman year—“every student, whether they realize it or not, can benefit from a mentor.” Larry wants to see this program get off the ground in winter 2010. If anyone is interested in participating, contact Larry at Lwdoyle128@aol.com.

“Chu Chu Rah Rah”…an initiative in which the HCGLC invites alumni to contribute guest commentary about topics of their choosing. Will be distributed to friends of HC football (e.g. recollections of key games, relationships, or any other special times and experiences connected to HC Football). Will also look to post on Athletics Web site (goholycross.com).

Reengagement…Tom O’Brien ’59 has the idea of inviting past football captains to a selected game during the year as a means of re-engaging those captains which whom the program has lost touch.

Honoring of Alumni Names…Ron Maheu ’64 is leading an effort to leverage the Holy Cross Football legacy by honoring those Crusader legends who have helped put the program on the map (i.e. Bill Osmanski ’39, Jon Morris ’64, Gordie Lockbaum ’88, etc.). A “ring of fame” at Fitton Field was discussed. Ron talked about “embracing the Holy Cross brand,” and remembering the players who helped build that brand. Ron’s goal is threefold: 1) to vet this idea with the Holy Cross administration; 2) to create a timeline and specific action items; and 3) to “launch” this effort next fall (2010). If anyone is interested in helping, contact Ron directly at rmaheu64@comcast.net or (508) 477-6764.

Postgame Tailgates…Larry Doyle will lead an effort to coordinate tailgates with student-athletes, parents, coaches, and alumni to further develop relationships. Larry plans to contact the “parent leaders” who coordinate postgame parent tailgates after each game (home and away). More details to follow.

** Larry Doyle thanked everyone for their attendance and participation in this Homecoming meeting. Minutes/summary of today’s discussion would be circulated by e-mail shortly.

The meeting ended at 11:50 a.m…Holy Cross then proceeded to beat Dartmouth 34-14 and improve its record to 5-1.