Friday, October 31, 2014

Providence College (1941)

“What if’s” are tempting, but dangerous at the same time. You make assumptions, you try to imagine what other people think … there are no facts or empirical evidence involved, just opinion, shots in the dark and flat-out fantasy. That said, here are my what-ifs for the teams in our football graveyard, had they elected to keep the sport:
  • Northeastern: Still treading water in the CAA.
  • Fairfield: A competitive team in the NEC or Pioneer League.
  • Boston University: Since BU’s other teams left the America East Conference for the Patriot League, the football team almost certainly would have joined the PL, and likely been a decent team, like BU's other teams.
  • Vermont: Rhody North — an underfinanced team in a sub-par stadium, and likely still waiting for its first league title.
  • Providence: Playing in the NEC, Pioneer or Patriot leagues. 
Ah, Providence … The basketball school tried its hand at football from 1921-41, with limited success. I’m guessing the Friars found football an uphill battle, as many other small Jesuit schools have before and since. (Among the Jesuit schools to drop football: Providence, Fairfield, St. John's, Villanova (dropped in '81, revived in '85), Marquette, Detroit, La Salle, Creighton, Xavier.) 
The team had only seven winning records over 21 years, and the onset of World War II spelled the end for the program. (St. Anselm College, a Catholic school in Manchester, N.H., also dropped football after the ’41 season and restored it in 1998.)
Amazingly, the school maintains a site devoted to the football team that blows away what a lot of current programs have for history sites. It features team photos, action photos and memorabilia. It’s the source of just about all my PC football info.

The last PC uniform, worn in 1941, is above: I’m not sure if there was a white road jersey, but it wouldn’t shock me, since the Friars wore white in the 1920s and ’30s.

A Providence-St. Anselm program from 1940.
Just a year later, both schools dropped football.

The 1941 Providence College football team, the last varsity squad in school history.
A club team was formed at PC in the 1960s.

Happy Halloween!

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