It’s that time of year again.
The days are getting shorter. The air is getting crisper. And, finally, college basketball is on the horizon.
Enough with the poetic crap. With every new college basketball season means there’s a new class of freshman who have – let’s face it – probably 0% knowledge of what’s what with the Friar basketball culture. That’s not their fault; after all, why go to college if you don’t plan on learning? (Answer: college basketball). Sure, you may know that we went to the final four a couple times, or that we have this guy named Ed Cooley as a coach. But what do you really know?
Nothing. You know nothing. You’re like Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, a bastard in a foreign land surrounded by people who know things that you don’t. Well, bastard, I just woke up from my summer slumber and came to crack an egg of knowledge on your head. Think of me as a cross between Donald Sutherland from Animal House and that asshole professor from the movie about law school. I’ll teach you who to follow on Twitter, where to get the inside scoop, what to do before, during, and after games (Answers: drink, drink, drink), how you can increase your
manhood student section experience by up to 60%, when you should properly storm a court, and that’s just the basics! So sit down, grab one of your notebooks that I know you bought because you thought you were going to be taking notes in class (like some sort of sucker MC), and check yourself before you wreck yourself. Class is now in session.
8 Significant Coaches in Friar History (for better or worse):
- Joe Mullaney – The Architect. Responsible for our success in the 60s and laid the brick and mortar for PC hoops. The court in
Alumni is named after him.
- Dave Gavitt – The Legend. Took us to the 1973 Final Four and then founded the Big East in 1979. One of the greatest of all time. The court at the Dunk is named after him.
- Rick Pitino – Took us to the 1987 Final Four. There’s a good chance you’ve already seen a black and white picture of him if you’ve walked anywhere near Alumni gym. Now coaches for Louisville.
- Rick Barnes – Won the 1994 Big East Tournament. Now coaches for Texas.
- Pete Gillen – Took us to the 1997 Elite Eight. Lead a team with Austin Croshere and God Shammgod, two legendary Friars. Shammgod still hangs around and is very approachable, so if you see him don’t be shy to say hello.
- TIm Welsh – Coached at Providence for 10 years and brought in talent such as Ryan Gomes. Never found success or won an NCAA game, despite the talent he had. Many say that the loss to Pitt in 2004 was the beginning of his slow downfall. His biggest problem in my opinion was his personal philosophy: out to win just enough games to be satisfactory. Never spoke about winning national championships. Maybe that’s realistic of him, but I despised that – if you’re going to be a coach of any team you should be coaching to win it all, otherwise why wake up in the morning? Not a memorable coach for good reasons and one that left a bad taste in the mouths of many, but doesn’t compare to…
- He Who Shall Not Be Named – I have included this coach not because of the good he brought the Friars, but because of the utter
destruction he brought. A hot coach out of Drake who couldn’t keep the program together. We saw players arrested, kicked out of school, quit the team, and never even show up. He tried, nobody can fault him for that, but ultimately he took a house that was weak after the Welsh era, left the gas stove on while lighting candles, and was shocked that it burned down. Three seasons of suffering blows both on and off the court led to a very early termination on his contract, at which point the Friars were at the lowest point they’d seen possibly ever. However, He Who Shall Not Be Named brought a bright spot, and that bright spot was that his termination caused us to seek out and secure current head coach…
- Ed Cooley – The Savior. One season in and he brought in a top 10 recruiting class with two potential NBA lottery picks. Additionally he picked up sleeper LaDontae Henton within the first few months of being on the job. The man will not quit. His goal is simple: win national championships. Nothing less will suffice. He is the fruits of the suffering that we as Friar fans have gone through with Welsh and He Who Shall Not Be Named, so appreciate the ground he steps on.
5 Hometown Heros
- Marvin Barnes: Part of the 1973 Final Four team, one of the most distinguished Friars of all time
- Ernie DiGregorio: Part of the 1973 Final Four team. Call him Ernie D.
- Ed Cooley: Head coach of the Friars. Go meet him.
- Dave Gavitt: Founder of the Big East, one of the best coaches in PC history – brought us to the 1973 Final Four.
- Ricky Ledo: One of the best prospects ever to commit to Providence, projected draft pick. Will be a freshman this season.
9 Twitter Handles You Need to Follow:
- Ed Cooley – The head coach of Providence College basketball. Obviously. Born and raised in Rhode Island. Living his dream job.
- Kevin McNamara – Projo writer covering the Friars. Great guy, knows his stuff inside and out, and wrote Basketball Warfare which is a great read if you ever pick it up.
- John Rooke – The voice of the Friars. Hear him with Friar basketball alum Joe Hassett on WEEI.
- Andre La Fleur – Associate head coach. Former assistant at UCONN. Joined the light side of the force.
- Kevin Farrahar – Founder and head writer of Friarbasketball.com. Great, great content that goes real in depth. You should also check out the other two writers, Craig Leighton and Craig Belhumeur.
- Steve Hartnett - Writer for Scout Friars. Has great information and does some great interviews with the coaches and players.
- Adam Zagoria - One of the best Big East bloggers out there. I check his site constantly and he’s always providing quality information, so check him out.
- Friarblog – If I have to take the time to explain who he is chances are you’re on the wrong website.
- Daniel James - It’s me. I write stuff. It’s weird. Come say hi to me at games, I love meeting fans. You may also call me Warrior if you so wish.
- Blake’s Tavern: My all time favorite drinking spot. I go here before and after every game. The booze is cheap, the staff is friendly, they love the Friars, and the food is phenomenal. I’m hoping to make Blake’s an official meet-up spot for Friar fans who want to go absolutely nuts during the games, stay enthusiastic, and most importantly defend our home court (the definition of being a Warrior). Hopefully where we’ll be hosting events for the Warrior Clan.
- Trinity Brewhouse: Craft beers galore, a sweet downstairs with a pool table, and right across the street from the Dunk. A great bar by all means, but my only gripe is that it gets infested with fans from opposing teams. Don’t let it deter you though, this place is phenomenal.
- Murphy’s: A great irish bar with authentic irish deli sandwiches. I love drinking here for those afternoon games so I can get myself liquored up on a Warrior Coffee (it’s just a glass of Jameson with Baileys in it). Another place where the staff loves the Friars and they’re all super nice, and it’s spacey too so you don’t feel like you’re cattle waiting to get to the alcohol trough.
- Luxe: A little bit of a hike but definitely worth it if you’re willing to battle the cold. More of a place to go after the game as it’s a nice sit down place to grab, well, a burger, but they have a great bar too and the drinks there are always strong. If you eat the Frankenstein there you not only win a t-shirt but you also earn the rarest jewel of all – my respect.
- Fatty McGee’s: Awww yess, Fatty McGee’s. The beer is cheap, the food is cheap (dollar hotdogs), and I believe it’s the official location of the Providence Fullcourt Boardroom. Their functions are always fun and you can meet a lot of great fans there. Get at em!
- Friar Faithful: The student-athletic support group of Providence College. They work their asses off to make anything the students want to see happen at games happen (short of, you know, going on the court and winning). Join this group and get involved, they do awesome things like trips, prizes, and a reward system based on how many games you go to.
- Providence Fullcourt Boardroom: Mentioned in the Fatty McGee’s listing, these guys are great fans and are always doing stuff for the fanbase. Check them out on Twitter and Facebook, they’re easy to get in touch with.
- Warrior Clan: A half baked idea I came up with over the summer. Similar to the PFB (hoping to coordinate with them in the future) but this is focused ideally around people who get loud during games and don’t quit or take shit. Think of it as group therapy with fans and friends. If it ends up happening you’ll hear about it on Friarblog first.
- Scout Friars: Want information? Feel like discussing PC Hoops? Head to www.scoutfriars.com to get your fix of new information and fan discussion. If you pay for the premium side you’ll also get information on recruiting, access to the Scout recruiting notebooks, and you’ll get to read articles and interviews (some of which written by yours truly).
- FriarPod: The Providence basketball podcast. It will be posted here, and is hosted by myself, Chris Torello, and Danny MacNamara (Friarblog himself will be jumping in on the future too). Right now we have only one cast but there’s a second one coming soon, and it will becoming weekly or bi-weekly from October onward.
- Friarbasketball.com: Mentioned this in the Twitter section but just to reiterate it’s a great blog and you should check out the content that Kevin and the Craig’s put out.
5 Teams You’ll Learn (and Love) to Hate
- Boston College: The Boston College Eagles are not necessarily our number one rival nor are they the most challenging team we’ll ever play (in fact they’ve kinda gone downhill) but it’s the fucking arrogance. They think their football is Notre Dame caliber (spoiler: it’s not), they think their academics are Harvard caliber (spoiler: they’re not), and their fans think they’re God’s gift to western civilization (spoiler: they’re not). But if I had to put a finger on why they suck, it’s because they took a great rivalry with us in the Big East Conference, looked deeply in our eyes and said “we’ll never leave you for the ACC,” and then left for the ACC where they’ve watched both football and basketball slowly crumble to shit. Hockey is pretty good though, I wonder what conference they play in for that? OH, THAT’S RIGHT, THE SAME ONE WE PLAY IN.
- University of Houston: “But why?” you might ask aloud (and look really stupid doing it – remember, you aren’t having a conversation with me, you’re just reading this), “they’re all the way down in Texas somewhere in a conference I can’t even name I care so little!” Well, time to pick at an old scab. The 2009-2010 season was coached by He Who Shall Not Be Named and at the time was considered a rebuilding year (if you consider dousing something with kerosene in a gas-filled room and then lighting a match rebuilding, and if you do my advice is “don’t go into civil engineering”) but it was okay because we had a decent recruiting class headlined by Gerard Coleman and Joe Young. Young, who could make it rain from three, was the son of Phi-Slamma-Whatever alum Michael Young, UH superstar and now the director of basketball operations there. Well Mike Young lost his shit publicly when Joe committed to Providence in November 09, which was just fun for everyone involved. Then in August Joe doesn’t show up for class or practice. Hm, odd – welp, turns out Big Daddy Young had other plans for Joe, resulting in a sudden change of heart that lead Joe Young to Houston and an appeal that makes nobody look good. Hey, at least they’re not in the Big East…at least for another year, and then you can hate on Daddy Young live at the Dunk!
- Syracuse University: Syracuse University was a founding member of the Big East. Their head coach, Jim Boeheim, was not only instrumental in that, but was also close friends with Dave Gavitt. So much so that after the PC-Cuse game in Jan. 2012 (where we honored Gavitt’s memory) Boeheim shared open sentiments in the press conference about how much he cared about and loved Gavitt. It was touching. And yet, something seems wrong…oh yeah, I guess Cuse was still butthurt over getting rejected by the ACC the first time around (a slot that eventually was filled by BC) because we all woke up one day to see, oh my!, Cuse and Pitt were jumping ship. Shame on Pitt, but unforgivable to Cuse, who’s built the tradition of the Big East with the other founding members, and a move that destroys one of the best rivalries in college basketball with Georgetown. Sure they’ll still play, but it just won’t be the same. There have been fierce games between us and Cuse, including the 1987 Final Four game, but with Cuse the distaste isn’t just about basketball after their little ACC stunt, it’s about taking tradition and kicking it right in the dick. Makes me sick!
- University of Rhode Island: Ah, the good old in-state rivalry. The Rhody Rams and the Friars. The basketball pride of Rhode Island, and the one with two shades of blue for school colors. There’s a lot of history in this rivalry, from when Sly Williams was stolen from us to when we blew the roof off the Ryan Center last year, putting an end to the losing streak we’ve had in that building. There’s a lot of intensity surrounding this game, from the fact that we seem to give them half a student section at the Dunk but they can’t afford us anything less than the nosebleeds, to the fact that they don’t even know what the actual all-time record is (not their fault, it is a state school). Things have gotten iffy – one year at the Dunk the Ram got the ever-living shit kicked out of him in a bathroom, but in PC’s defense we are a Catholic school and their old Ram looks like it grazes on Satan’s front lawn, so I guess it was just God’s work.* Either way, this is a phenomenal rivalry that’s going to be around long after you and I are both dead, so be a part of it and tell a URI fan to learn how to count! *(No, I’m not actually condoning this, it’s called satire).
- University of Connecticut: When I started this section there was almost a knee-jerk reaction to put UCONN at the top, but I thought “no no, get through everything else first, this one’s important” and important it is. UCONN and Providence have an interesting history, going way back to when PC was looking for a head coach in the mid 80s. A young coach at Northeastern University by the name of James Calhoun wanted the job, badly. A job that eventually went to a Boston University coach that wasn’t super well known at the time, Rick Pitino. Calhoun, meanwhile, accepted a job at the UCONN, and it was all downhill from there. UCONN has had it’s success over the past 15 years, but for some reason they can’t seem to find a way to beat even the worst of the Providence teams. It got to be such a problem that I’m sure that’s why Calhoun stopped playing us in the XL Center – he just couldn’t win. UCONN fans have every reason to be dismissive of PC too, but they don’t. They hate us just as much as we hate them. They talk down, act better, and pretend that basketball didn’t exist before Calhoun came to town, but they can’t even pretend to hide the seething dislike for the Friars. It’s so bad that after our men’s soccer team beat them in the Big East tournament a few years back the student newspaper wrote an article about how much they hate us. Some of the highlights include hating our soccer team for being excited over a win, getting upset with PC star Ryan Gomes for putting a hurtin’ on the Huskies because he’s from CT (try not to think about that logic for too long or your nose will bleed), and having PC alum and UCONN women’s ice hockey coach talk about how much we suck. They try to act high and mighty and we keep beating them. When you see UCONN play at the Dunk watch how some of the fans treat you. There’s hate, but it’s a much deeper seeded hate than most. And you know what? Give right the hell back. Don’t take their crap. Fuck em. They’re cheaters, sore losers, and obnoxious. They say they’re Big East loyal but their president (who is ruining that school) is clearly speaking out both sides of her butt, actively seeking ACC membership, which is a reflection of the culture in and of itself. There’s a cult down in CT, and thy name is UCONN basketball.
3 Teams We Secretly Love
- Georgetown University: First and foremost there’s a lot of good history between PC and Georgetown, and you should know some of it. For starters coach John Thompson – the coach that made Georgetown into what it is today – played for PC in the 60′s and was part of the building blocks to making PC big. In the 80′s there was a pretty intense rivalry with them, some of the key highlights include beating them in the Elite 8 of the 1987 tournament to go to the Final Four (after they’d beaten us during the season and in the BET). Another big win came when we beat them in the 1994 Big East Tournament to win our first ever BET banner. But, honestly, the rivalry has died off and Georgetown has become a friend when not playing PC. Their fans have always been classy and friendly, when they played in Providence in the 2010 NCAA tournament I remember their fans striking up conversations with me after seeing my PC hoodie, and they’re in the “basketball only” boat we’re in. Go Hoyas! (Except for when you play us).
- Marquette University: Why? Two reasons. First, they’re in the basketball-only boat like the rest of us, which makes them awesome. And second, when Syracuse and Pitt jumped ship and the future of the Big East was looking dim Marquette was the one that stepped up and said “enough of the bullshit” and started working to help find a solution while some were in shell shock, others openly said they were trying to leave, and then one idiot school said they applied to the ACC even though they don’t have the football program that conference is looking for (lol nova). Marquette is scrappy and I hate when they beat us, but I damn sure respect their style of play, their toughness, and their commitment.
- University of Rhode Island: “Wtf” you think, “but you just said to hate them.” Yeah, I did, but honestly this is the exception that makes the rule. At first I hated URI (as you will) but outside of that day in December when the two teams meet it’s a different story. Their fans are actually pretty nice and don’t try to start fights, they want to talk to you about college basketball, and the most important thing is that while they are rivals, they’re also an important part to Rhode Island basketball. Having a good URI team is good for PC, and having both teams compete annually in their conferences is even better. It does a lot for the state and it makes a big statement. I also think it’s a very special element in our rivalry with them where, while we do hate them for being rivals, we can also put the shit to the side and be respectful. It’s a layer of respect, peppered in hate. Just don’t show them mercy come game time.
3 Fanatic Icons You Should Know
- The Blues Brothers: Two fans from the 80s who would show up to games in their Blues Brothers attire and had a huge impact in the student section and the atmosphere. They were rowdy, funny, and recognizable. I hope someone rekindles this tradition.
- The Phantom Friar: Phantom came from the same era as the Blues Brothers, and honestly you can’t look at any old footage from the 80s and not see him. You’ll still see pictures of him floating around, knockoff cheap-ass Darth Vader helmet, cape, and too-small-for-him shirt. I heard he passed away, which is sad because I always wished I could meet the man behind the mask.
- Brendan Frail: A lot of people will say I’m bias for including Brendan’s name on here. So be it. Putting as much bias aside it’s really hard not to include him. In two years he helped put a staple in the student section, known best for wearing a full body white spandex suit, passed down to him from James Emeigh, the original white spandex suit man. Now the spandex suit is worn by
someone at every game, and it is passed down from person to person, forming a cool, exclusive club that recognizes not only the rowdiest fan but the one who can get the student section going when it’s most needed. He has a seat memorialized in Schneider Arena, and I believe they’re putting a plaque up in his memory by the ticket office, documenting the spandex suit lineage (which will continually be updated, so if you’re selected to wear the suit one day your name will be on that plaque). You don’t just become recognized like him, you earn it. And that’s exactly what he did.
5 Things You Should Do at the Games
- Be Loud! – I get it, this one is tough cause it can be intimidating. But honestly, who gives a shit? You’re there to have fun, and if the ding dong 20 rows behind you wants to get all uppity about you being enthusiastic then tell him to get the stick out of his ass and drink a beer. Being loud makes a difference, particularly home court advantage. Up 50 or down 20, scream and don’t stop until your voice is gone.
- Stand Up! – Sometimes people sit through games. That’s fine, there’s a place for that, the back of the student section. If you’re going to sit in front you’re gonna want to stand. Why? Because the game has a different feel when you do, it’s more intense and there’s more energy. Trust me on this.
- Make yourself stand out – Paint your face. Wear a banana suit. Have your friend wear a gorilla suit and chase you while you’re in the banana suit. Don’t care, but you’d be surprised at how much fun it is to get silly like that, as well as the impact you could have. I was a nobody student when I first came to PC, then I decided to put some face paint on at a game. Just like that my entire student experience changed. I made friends and became more involved because of it, and it’s a lot of fun.
- Sit with your friends – yeah, it’s a ‘no shit’ point, but if you’re with your friends and do the things I’ve listed above you’ll have a much better experience at the games. Don’t have friends that want to go to the games? Join Friar Faithful, meet other fans there, and go with them. I know it’s weird meeting new people and doing stuff like that, but honestly that’s how I met every single one of my best friends, and truthfully you didn’t come to college to sit around like a goon and not meet people.
- Protect your section – Fans from the opposing team coming over? Kick em the hell out! This is your section, treat it as such.
5 Things You Should Not Do at the Games
(Note: I have done all of these things at one point. I admit it, and I’ve learned from it. I feel stupid for acting like this at times, so please learn from my own stupidity and avoid doing these).
- Be disrespectful – By all means, insult whoever you need to – refs, the opposing team (especially the opposing team), the opposing coaches, whatever – but do it with some level of class. Are you using the word fuck like it’s a comma? Are you calling someone a tinsel-toed faggot? Probably not entertaining to anyone surrounding you, certainly isn’t helping morale, and at the end of the day you just look like an idiot.
- Turn on your team – Nobody likes losing. You’re not special because you’re miserable that team is down 15. Everyone is feeling the hurt. Use that to get your team going. Cheer louder, get the crowd involved, do what you can. Don’t insult your own team or coaches though because A. they’re not going to play any better cause some no-name told them to, and B. they’re representing you out there. They’re wearing your school colors, your schools name, your schools logos, and you’re telling them all the reasons you hate them when you really don’t. It’s kind of like insulting the man in the mirror. Doesn’t help anyone and you look like an idiot, so avoid this.
- Get pouty – Kind of goes with the second point, but if your team is down and you’re sitting there pouty like you’re protesting poor performance, who does that help? You look like a sour puss who can’t handle a tough run, and I hate using the term “sour puss” but if I see you acting like one I’m going to come over to you and draw whiskers on your face and put a lemon on your head (get it?). Spare us both from this shit and just be cool.
- Stand like a goof – So you’re in the front row, standing up, with the crowd rallied and the team up by 20. What are you doing? Why is your head in your phone? Look, if it’s important take care of it, but if you’re constantly texting or just apathetically standing around you’ll look stupid, and you didn’t get to college by being stupid.
- This actually seems like the pretty good time to mention…
Court Storming: A Friars Concern
Running on the court is awesome. We love it. Who doesn’t? We just beat top ranked Pitt! Get our asses on that court! And you know what, when we beat no. 1 Pitt on February 28 2009 I was the first one on the court. It was awesome, and it was deserved. A lot of people forget that part. Just because we beat a no. 16 UCONN team doesn’t mean we should storm. Actually just the opposite. We’ve beaten ranked teams before, it’s happened in the past and it will happen again. You will see it happen before your very eyes. If they’re a top 5 team dude don’t even wait – get on that court and have fun! But a no. 14 Villanova team that is pretty overranked anyway isn’t special. I know it’s tempting and I know it’s fun and exciting – I’ve been there. But part of what makes it fun is that it’s supposed to be rare and special, a real accomplishment. Don’t ruin it by charging out there because we beat Louisville, cause then it gets boring and people will think you don’t know how to win.
1 Thing You Should Understand About Being a Friar
In a previous post I spoke about what being a Friar meant to me, and truthfully there’s a lot to being a fan that extends well beyond basketball. You’ll find that it’s more a family you’re adopted into. We take care of our own and look out for each other, no matter who you are. If you wear our colors you’re part of our family, and we’ll love you all the same. This seems asinine and truly you’ll have to experience it to understand it, but this is more than just rooting for a basketball team. We have the best fans in the country because of how we look out for each other and care enough to get to know each other outside of basketball, and that’s something I sincerely believe you can’t find anywhere else. You’re a part of this – be proud. Wear your colors with pride, shake hands and meet fans – they’ll want to meet you too – and be grateful you’re a Friar. It is a blessing.