Holy Cross Crusaders
|Holy Cross Crusaders|
|University||College of the Holy Cross|
|Athletics director||Richard Regan|
|Football stadium||Fitton Field|
|Basketball arena||Hart Recreation Center|
|Baseball stadium||Fitton Field|
|Soccer stadium||Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium|
|Fight song||Chu! Chu! Rah! Rah!|
|Colors||Purple and Silver
The Holy Cross Crusaders are the athletic teams representing the College of the Holy Cross. They compete in NCAA Division I as members of the Patriot League. The men's and women's ice hockey teams compete in Atlantic Hockey Association and women's golf in the Big South Conference. Of its 25 varsity teams, Holy Cross supports twelve men's and thirteen women's  The carrying of 23 Division I varsity programs gives Holy Cross the largest ratio of teams-per-enrollment in the country. Holy Cross's athletic teams for both men and women are known as the Crusaders.
It is a founding member of the Patriot League, and boasts that one-quarter of its student body participates in its varsity athletic programs. Principal facilities include Fitton Field for football (capacity: 23,500), Hart Recreation Center (Basketball 3,600), (Ice Hockey 1,400), Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium, (1,320) and Smith Wellness Center, located inside the Hart Center.
It is reported that the name "Crusader" was first associated with Holy Cross in 1884 at an alumni banquet in Boston, where an engraved Crusader mounted on an armored horse appeared at the head of the menu.
The name was rediscovered by Stanley Woodward, a sports reporter for the Boston Herald, when he used the term "Crusader" to describe the Holy Cross baseball team in a story written in 1925. The name appealed to the Holy Cross student body, which held a vote later in that year to decide whether this cognomen or one of the other two currently in use - "Chiefs" and "Sagamores"- would be adopted. On October 6, 1925, The Tomahawk, an earlier name of the student newspaper, reported that the results of the ballot were: Crusaders 143, Chiefs 17, Sagamores 7.
The school color is purple. There are two theories of how Holy Cross chose purple as its official color. One suggests it was derived from the royal purple used by King Constantine the Great (born about 275 A.D., died in 337 AD) as displayed on his labarum (military standard) and on those of later Christian emperors of Rome.
The other version is attributed to Walter J. Connors, an 1887 graduate, and was printed in the October 1940 issue of the Alumnus. According to the account, there was a disagreement during the 1870s between Holy Cross students from Massachusetts and Connecticut concerning the schools' baseball uniform colors. Those from Massachusetts purportedly favored the crimson of Harvard, while those from Connecticut favored the deep blue of Yale. Legend has it that a fellow student with a sense of diplomacy resolved the dispute in the chemistry lab, where he mixed copper sulphate (blue) with iron oxide (red) to produce the color of deep purple.
The men's baseball team won the NCAA National Championship 1952. The baseball team of Holy Cross remains the only team from the northeastern part of the United States to have won the College World Series. The Crusaders also made the College World Series in 1958, 1962, and 1963. In the last two of these seasons, the team featured pitcher Dick Joyce, who briefly made the major leagues, and third baseman John Peterman, who after a short minor-league career went on to become a successful entrepreneur who was parodied on Seinfeld.
The women's basketball team has also made several appearances in the postseason including 12 trips to the NCAA Tournament as well as one appearance in both the Women's National Invitation Tournament and the Women's Basketball Invitational. They are 1-12 in the NCAA Tournament with the lone win coming in 1991 as an upset over the 6th seeded Maryland. This is the only victory in the NCAA Tournament for any team from the Patriot League. They are 0-1 in the WNIT and 1-1 in the WBI having defeated the University of New Hampshire in 2012. 6 time Patriot League Coach of the Year Bill Gibbons recorded his 500th win early in the 2011-2012 campaign.
On March 24, 2006, the Holy Cross men's hockey team made history by defeating the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Division I Tournament by the score of 4–3, in overtime. Coined as one of the biggest upsets in NCAA ice hockey history, never since the NCAA tourney expanded to sixteen teams had a fifteen or sixteen seed beat a number one or two seed until again in 2009 when the 16th seeded Bemidji State University Beavers defeated the second seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish by a score of 5-1. In its history, the Holy Cross ice hockey program has seen two NCAA appearances, and has won the Atlantic Hockey and MAAC three times (1999, 2004, 2006). The ice hockey program competes in the Atlantic Hockey Association in men's hockey and the Division III ECAC East division in women's ice hockey.
In addition, the Holy Cross rowing teams, both men and women, have enjoyed success over the years. Key highlights include the women's team winning the ECAC National Championship in 2002, and the men's team being ranked within the national top 20 every season beginning in 2004. In 2000 the Women's Varsity Lightweight 8 won a New England championship. As of 2007, the men's crew is the reigning Patriot League Champion and has won the league championship several times (2001,2002,2003, and 2005). Similarly, the women's team has enjoyed similar success within the conference and won continuous league championships from 1998 to 2003.
Both teams compete in the Patriot League, with the women's team also holding membership in the New England Rowing Conference (NERC), and the Eastern College Athletic Conference. In 2007, the men's crew was granted a two-year provisional acceptance into the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC), which is composed of the traditional Ivy League schools plus other select universities.
The Men's soccer program was cited by the NCAA for committing "major" violations under former head coach Elvis Comrie over a period of time covering a number of years. According to the NCAA, more than 300 impermissible phone calls were made to several prospective student-athletes by Comrie, many before the contact period and others that exceeded weekly limits. The committee also found that the school failed to have adequate systems in place to monitor recruiting phone calls made by former coach Elvis Comrie. Comrie resigned at the end of the 2008 season after 18 years at Holy Cross. Holy Cross self-reported the violations to the NCAA and HC’s self-imposed penalties for the violations included recruiting restrictions and reduction of scholarships. “We pride ourselves on doing athletics the right way,” Holy Cross director of athletics Dick Regan said, “so this is very disappointing. It is an anathema. We feel we handled it the right way, we paid the price, and we’re moving forward.” The NCAA considered the impermissible phone calls as major violations, but did not ban the Crusaders from postseason play.
Boston College rivalry
Historically, Holy Cross' major rival has been the Eagles of Boston College, especially in football. In 1896, Holy Cross and Boston College played the first football game between the two schools starting one of the most storied rivalries in college football. For much of the early to mid 20th century, BC and The Cross drew some of New England's largest sports crowds.
To accommodate larger crowds, the Holy Cross game was routinely held at larger venues off campus, with the 1916 matchup taking place at the newly constructed Fenway Park. A record 54,000 attended the 1922 game at Braves Field, home of the Boston Braves baseball team. On November 28, 1942, Holy Cross beat BC in a huge upset by a score of 55-12, a result that proved fortunate for the losing Eagles. The BC team had booked their victory party for a popular Boston nightclub, but canceled after the upset loss. As a result, the Eagles were not among the nearly 500 who died or the hundreds more who were injured when the nightclub caught fire that night.
By the late 1970s the Holy Cross game had become more of a tradition than a rivalry, as Holy Cross football began to ceased as a major power. By 1980, the game was no longer part of the student ticket package, and was mostly attended by alumni. In 1986 Holy Cross changed the direction of its football program, joining the Division 1-AA Patriot League, and terminated the series. BC had won 17 of the last 20 games.
The last basketball game between the two schools was played on January 17, 2006, a 63-53 win for Boston College at Worcester's DCU Center. Later that year, BC's athletic director, Gene DeFilippo, caused a minor controversy when he announced that the school would not schedule any more basketball games against Holy Cross, claiming that it was not beneficial for BC.
The two schools renewed their rivalry in basketball on November 22, 2010 as part of the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight, a national effort to bring attention to Jesuit education. In a game held at BC's Conte Forum, Boston College posted a 69-56 victory, the Eagles' 16th in their last 17 games against Holy Cross. On November 18, 2011, the Crusaders defeated the Eagles 86-64 in Worcester.
- Holy Cross: Color, Mascot, & Songs
- College World Series history
- Crusaders Pull Off Stunner, Win One for the Little Guy. College Hockey News, March 24, 2006.
- , Atlantic Hockey History Accessed 03-08-2007
- Women's Lacrosse NCAA Preview: Difficulty Increases as Holy Cross Draws Duke. Accessed 03-08-2007
- Men's Rowing Team Named Provisional Member of EARC Accessed 03-09-2007
- It should not be a cross to bear - The Boston Globe