Holy Cross Crusaders football
First season 1891
Athletic director Richard Regan
Head coach Tom Gilmore
Home stadium Fitton Field
Stadium capacity 23,000
Stadium surface Grass
Location Worcester, MA
Conference Patriot League
All-time record 604–480–54
Postseason bowl record 0–1
Conference titles 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 2009 (Patriot League)
Colors Purple and White            
Fight song Chu! Chu! Rah! Rah!
Mascot The Crusader
Marching band Holy Cross Goodtime Marching Band
Rivals Boston College Eagles

The Holy Cross Crusaders football team is the collegiate football program of the College of the Holy Cross. The team is a member of the Patriot League, an NCAA Division I conference that participates in the second-level Football Championship Subdivision, more commonly known as FCS or the subdivision's former designation of I-AA. The team plays their home games at Fitton Field.


History Edit

Football began at Holy Cross in 1884 with games against teams from other schools beginning in 1891. Starting in 1896 the Holy Cross Football team played at the Worcester Oval. The first home game played at Holy Cross was a 6-0 defeat of Massachusetts Agricultural College on September 26, 1903. In 1908 the football field was moved to next to the baseball field which bears the same name (Fitton Field). Since 1910, the Holy Cross Crusader "Goodtime" Marching Band has performed half time shows at home football games.[1] The original field was built with wooden and concrete stands. These were replaced with steel stands in 1924 and aluminum seating in 1986. The largest crowd ever to pack Fitton Field was the 27,000 who showed up to see Holy Cross's All-American back Bill Osmanski in his last home game.

Boston College Rivalry Edit

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.[citation needed] 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. The game is still the most famous between the two foes, not only for its result but also its aftermath. The Eagles had booked their victory party that night at the popular Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston, but canceled after the loss. As a result, the BC team was absent when the club caught fire, killing nearly 500.

But fortune did not always favor the Crusaders. By the late 1970s the Holy Cross game had become more of a tradition than a rivalry, as Holy Cross had ceased to be a major power in football. 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 I-AA Patriot League, and terminated the series. BC had won 17 of the last 20 games.
File:Football cross.jpg

1946 Orange Bowl Edit

In 1946 Holy Cross brought their best team in school history to the Orange Bowl only to feel the heartbreak they gave BC four years earlier. On January 1, 1946 Holy Cross faced off against the University of Miami for the Orange Bowl title. With the score tied 6-6 and only seconds remaining in regulation, Holy Cross was intercepted by Miami's Al Hudson who ran the ball 89 yards for a touchdown. The final score was 13–6.

A Glorious DecadeEdit

In 1969 Holy Cross had to cancel the final eight games of the season when a contaminated faucet on a practice field led to an outbreak of hepatitis. Through the 1970s Holy Cross continued to play major East Coast football powers but the Crusaders football program struggled to compete with the bigger schools.

In the early 1980s things changed. HC enjoyed a football renaissance for a decade starting in 1981 with coaches Rick Carter (35-19-2) and especially Mark Duffner (60-5-1). In 1983 the team was No. 3 in the nation in 1-AA under Carter. Later under Duffner Holy Cross became the nation's most successful 1-AA program. There were 11-0 seasons in both 1987 and 1991. Holy Cross won five Patriot League championships, four Lambert Cups, and four ECAC Team of the Year Awards. It also earned the No. 1 ranking in the final 1987 NCAA Division 1-AA poll. In 1987 running back/defensive back Gordie Lockbaum finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

In the midst of these winning seasons Holy Cross changed the direction of its football program. In 1986 it joined the Patriot League, a conference that currently does not allow its member schools to award athletic scholarships for football (but allows them for other sports, with the recipients ineligible to play football; starting in 2013, football scholarships will be allowed). Today Holy Cross continues its football tradition, although more in line with its enrollment of under 3000 students.

2009 season Edit

In 2009, Holy Cross had one of its best teams since the founding of the Patriot League, led by the team's star Quarterback Dominic Randolph. The Crusaders won the league title and earned an automatic berth to the FCS playoffs, where they lost in the first round to eventual national champion Villanova.

Bowl game appearancesEdit

Season Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA Coach Notes
1945 January 1, 1946 Orange Bowl L Miami (FL) 6 13 John DaGrosa notes
Total 1 bowl game 0–1 6 13

Hall of Fame HonorsEdit

Pro Football Hall of Fame:

College Football Hall of Fame:


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