Providence College Athletics held its winter sport season ticket holder event on Thursday evening on campus at Peterson Recreation Center. Men’s Basketball served as the centerpiece on a table filled with confidence and optimism.
The turnout was great. Best guess is nearly 1000 in attendance. The voice of Providence College Friar Men’s Basketball, John Rooke, served as emcee, opening the event with a few remarks to set the stage as the Friar Faithful feasted on a buffet that featured burgers and ribs. Yours truly did not partake as I had stopped by the Italian Corner Deli in East Providence prior to the festivities for what was a phenomenal eggplant grinder (Sandwich #9 on the menu board if you are scoring at home). There was also a cash bar (notice lack of mention of my not partaking here).
The entire Men’s Basketball team was in attendance, including players currently not on the active roster but who figure immensely in the optimism: Ricky Ledo (backpack in tow), Sidiki Johnson (rocking an old school-themed Friar lid), as well as the hatless Carson Desrosiers and Tyler Harris. As @RayWolslegel33 pointed out to me, tonight was notable in contrast to the Keno era, where two years ago there were maybe two or three players at this event.
I did not see the entire coaching staff (always recruiting, always). Andre LaFleur and Kevin Kurbec were there, and I think I caught a glimpse of Mike Jackson as well as the one-and-only God Shammgod.
There was also a Warrior Friar sighting (shockingly not at the bar).
Once Friartown was sufficiently fed and oiled, John Rooke introduced Athletic Director Bob Driscoll, who took the podium for a few words. Driscoll, as usual, was decked out in one of his signature suits. However, for reasons not confirmed, he swapped out the wing tips for a pair of running shoes. Perhaps Cooley had him running stadium steps to get ready for the big evening? What I do know is you just can’t get coverage like this anywhere. This is not the fourth best Friar resource on the web for nothing, home slice.
In short, Driscoll thanked Friartown for your support and said Friar athletics were well positioned to achieve new heights. He said he has never worked with a finer collection of coaches, and that his major goals were: to be the best program in the nation, that ALL Friar student-athletes graduate (noted the current rate is in the top 1% nationally) and to win championships. He did not mention setting new fashion trends, or forgetting his shoes at home.
(In all seriousness, I have to guess that Mr. Driscoll was wearing sneakers to support a cause and while we are having some fun here, by no means is it meant to diminish that purpose.)
Men’s Hockey coach Nate Leaman, Women’s Hockey coach Bob Deraney and first-year Women’s Basketball coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl each followed Driscoll to say thank you for the support and discuss the positive direction of their programs. Robinson Fruchtl took interactive to a new level as she encouraged fans to stop by the bench and say hi before games.
Meanwhile while all this was going on I could not help but notice that while most of Ed Cooley’s squad sat among, and mingled with, the crowd, Kadeem Batts remained by Cooley’s side during the entire program. This led me to think, ‘Oh ****, Kadeem’s in trouble again!’
Then Cooley took the stage to close the evening. After poking fun at a few people in the crowd he revealed the true purpose as to why Batts stood in the wings with him. He called Kadeem, one of his “leaders” and asked him to step up to the platform for a few remarks. Batts did a nice job thanking the crowd while promising a good season and a hard-working team. Cooley praised Batts for his efforts by making fun of him and then mandated that the whole team, who took great pleasure in Batts’ oratory debut, take the stage.
The ever-charismatic Cooley continued on the themes he presented in his first press conference, talking about the progress the program has made over the past year-and-a-half. He said he has a staff full of future head coaches, and while he hopes he has a team that will produce some future pros, he knows he has a team of men who will produce in school, outwork everyone on the court and surprise a lot of people this season. He praised the Dunk’s atmosphere while encouraging more support by saying that people who do not love Providence basketball presently will soon love Providence basketball, so it is time to get on board ahead of the curve.
Cooley then reminded us the ultimate team goal remains to win National Championships.
Students were able to pick up their student section T-Shirts for this season. Students, whether you have a shirt or not (you know what I mean), you have the ability to make or break the atmosphere at the Dunk. Whether the opponent is Louisville, URI or NJIT, bring your energy and make it consistent….ly good.
Season ticket holders were given an opportunity to purchase single-game tickets to games at Boston College (12/22) and Brown (12/28).
Tickets for the Brown game are also available as part of a ‘4 game Mini Package’ which also includes games against Sacred Heart (11/29), Dartmouth (2/1) and Penn (3/8). Brown’s website says the “Four-Pack is only available on the phone or in person” but I bought them via the web so appears to be good to go online (either that or my identity has been stolen by Ivy Leaguers who are not sharing take-home exam answers). Four-Pack prices are $54 for Bear’s Den Adult, $36 for Bear’s Den Youth, $30 for Reserved Adult and $18 for Reserved Youth. Get there Friartown.