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Letters to the Editor
“The Place for Athletics”
I read the article on Athletics with interest. “Seems to me that I have heard that song before.” In 2001, I retired after 48 years of coaching on all levels. I have seen it all, played at Holy Cross, coached against Holy Cross (at B.C.) and finished my career at Amherst College. There are all levels of competition. Distant fields are not greener. Each level has pluses and minuses, but each collegial decision should be based on what is best for the student, then based on what the College can reasonably supply physically and financially. Holy Cross has it right. Keep athletics in perspective as part of a student’s education (note well coaches) and when alumni get restless republish Fr. Brooks’ comments of 1982. He had it right then and Holy Cross has it right now. God bless.
John Tracy Mehr ’50
I was lucky enough to play both a varsity (hockey) and club (rugby) sport over four years at Holy Cross. In hockey we lost, a lot. In rugby we won, a lot. In hockey, we graduated no name players. In rugby, we graduated players who went on to national and international renown. One sport had coaches and “perks.” The other lacked coaches and even basic transportation to games as far south as Washington, D.C. Both sports offered the opportunity to compete against talented athletes, knowing full well that come graduation, it was time to “put away the things of a child.” I continue to be proud of Holy Cross as an academic institution. I don’t want the school to be another B.C. (in football) or Georgetown (in basketball). I want it to be Holy Cross, a school with unlimited opportunities for all of its students. Perhaps it’s time for a new direction in sports—a Catholic or Jesuit Conference, built on the principles of the Patriot League. The Ivy League has gone its own way without looking back. A Jesuit league could be even more impressive.
Dennis Fitzgerald ’74
Manhattan Beach, Calif.
You’ve got the sports just right; the Patriot League and the Ivies (Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton) for football and basketball. Keep the Patriot League small enough so you can play the Ivies each year as well. There is the real prestige for Holy Cross; not a national ranking. Relax about it. You don’t have to win everything every year. Let the real student athletes have fun with it. If you do feel the need to upgrade, concentrate on basketball. If you don’t upgrade and can’t fill the basketball schedule, invite a Williams or an Amherst for a game. It might be fun for both schools. A traditional rival to replace B.C.? Stick with the Jebbies; go with Fordham or Georgetown. If not a Jebbie, then try Colgate.
Joseph Taylor ’69
“Only Holy Cross”
I enjoyed your recent issue, including the Page 40 review of friend and classmate Professor John Callahan’s novel, A Man You Could Love, and the Page 30 article on the 1952 Holy Cross baseball team that won the College World Series.
Professor Callahan presented his novel to our 45th reunion last June and was well received.
One factual tidbit you might have wanted to include in the baseball article is the following, which very few at the College seem to know about: Holy Cross is the first college, ever, to have teams that have won both the NCAA basketball championship (’47) and the College Baseball World Series (’52). Only Holy Cross won both those championships first (in different years of course), and only a couple of schools (including Oklahoma State, which previously went by another name) have accomplished both since. We’re talking Holy Cross here—not Duke, not UCLA, not Florida, not USF—only Holy Cross; and it was the ’52 team that achieved for the College the second of those two championships. Only one school could do both first, and that school was Holy Cross.
Fred Hoogland ’62
As a former soccer player at Holy Cross, I was drawn to the cover art on the Winter 2008 issue. However, I was disappointed that you neglected to include a soccer ball on your cover. In coverage of athletics at Holy Cross, recognition of all sports would be appreciated by the student athletes who devoted or are currently devoting a significant amount of their time in representing Holy Cross.
Cheryl Alexander Bierwirth ’88