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GLC Chairman Larry Doyle, HC '83 sent me a story that his father Bill Doyle, HC '48 wrote last year.  A great tribute to Bill's former classmate, and 2011 Ring of Honor inductee, George Connor (class of ex 1946).  Enjoy!

The Legend of George Connor 

NOVEMBER 28, 1942--A football game that every Holy Cross football fan should never forget. 

This game between the storied Jesuit rivals, the pagans from Boston College and the loyal sons from Holy Cross, was played at Fenway Park. While Fenway may now be home to Red Sox Nation, on this blustery day back in 1942 it was filled with college football fans from all over New Englandand far beyond that as well. The estimated attendance was 40,000 but as the years went by you would have thought every citizen in Worcester County witnessed "the greatest football game ever played." 

Boston College came into this year end rivalry game with an unblemished record and a top national ranking. Led by The Brain, Eddie Doherty, the BC Eagles not only won their games but they took no prisoners in doing so. The lopsided nature of all their scores certainly allowed a few of the 'Eagle fans' to pick up a few extra bucks along the way. I distinctly recall a number of my boyhood pals salivating before the BC-HC game thinking that this would be 'easy money'

While BC had run roughshod over their opponents, the loyal sons of Holy Cross had a decidedly mediocre record. Many of the Boston faithful believed the game would be a mere formality. In many regards, the game did become a formality, although certainly not as anybody had expected. In fact, thinking back upon it, there are moments when I still can not believe the near perfect performance displayed by the boys in Purple. It was truly unbelievable and pure delight.      

The Crusaders could not be stopped. They truly dominated the entire game. 

The backfield play of Grigas and Bezemes truly excelled, both in running and passing. However, as every true football fan knows, the game is won and lost along the line of scrimmage and it was on that line of battle that the Cross turned the game into a rout. In the process, the legend of one George Connor was born. 

This young Irish stud from Chicago, along with his sidekick Jim Landrigan, manhandled the Eagles and their legendary lineman Gil Bouley. Whether it was trap left, trap right, straight up the gut, or around end, the boy wonder from the Windy City George led the Purple up and down the field. 

The Cross led at halftime either by a score of 20-0 or 20-6. My memory of close to 69years is not clear on this fact. However, the score of the first half was not important. 

The Cross as a team and Connor especially just got stronger and stronger and thrashed the Eagles throughout the second half scoring another 35 points. Any thoughts of mercy or feelings of pity for the boys from Boston were very short lived. The final score of 55-12 will remain etched in my memory forever. The performance of George Connor will as well.

I would maintain that this game is still the biggest upset in the history of college football. 

The tragedy of The Cocoanut Grove fire that November night certainly put everything in perspective but the legend of George Connor was borne that afternoon and I was there to see it.   

Bill Doyle '48

Rod DeLeaver, ’74 shares with us a wonderful tribute to his friend, teammate, and 2011 Ring of Honor inductee, Joe Wilson, ’73.   Thank you Rod!



By: Rod DeLeaver, HC 1974


Dear Fellow Crusader alum (gridiron and otherwise),


Unless you've been starring in a GEICO commercial, I am hoping that you have heard about the spectacular events scheduled for Thursday evening, September 1, 2011. A quick trip along Route 290 in either direction from Webster Square, or Auburn, and you will pass Fitton Field which will soon host its FIRST ever night football game to be played against UMass.


But that is only one of the events planned for the evening. Earlier on September 1st that day, we will be preparing for the induction of the second class into the Ring of Honor for permanent display on the walls of Fitton Field.


We ask that each of you pass along the word, make plans to attend, and encourage others to help us fill the stadium. Come join us and be fortunate enough to witness two sequential historic events in the annals of Holy Cross athletics.


One of the chosen members of the second class for induction into the Ring of Honor is a teammate of mine, who graduated in 1973, as the single season rushing record holder at that time. JOE WILSON earned a starting fullback spot in his first season of eligibility. Remember during that period freshmen were not eligible for varsity sports participation.


I first met Joe when I visited Holy Cross as a football recruit in February 1970, the winter after his Freshman season. For those who might recall, the varsity 1969 football season was lost to an epidemic of hepatitis thrusting the freshman football team into the limelight for that Fall season. The team showed fortitude and zeal, but it was Joe Wilson’s repeated display of speed and power that had the coaching staff abuzz.


Most people make friends and acquaintances one person at a time. Joe Wilson got to meet his Holy Cross football family twenty five, or so, players at a time. That number was about the size of the incoming recruitment class ‘back in the days’. Naturally, you added in the rest of the team thru walk-ons to reach your magic number for the squad. Then you get to add the full measure of the teams that arrived on campus before your class, adding about another 70 players or so. After a few weeks of walking up to the " HILL" to the practice field, you began to get the feeling of camraderie forged in the single purpose and goal of making the efforts necessary to win. This process has been the same since Holy Cross fielded its first football team, and competed against all comers, both local and national.


Like each of the honorees, Joe Wilson has fondly endeared himself to the memories and lore by his deeds for this honor. Very few people realize that the teams that included Joe, also produced several other former NFL players, including his backfield mate for 2 seasons, Eddie Jenkins. But there is little doubt as to how much Joe meant to his teams during his 3 season career, and just as importantly, what a great ambassador for Holy Cross he has been since his graduation. He has demonstrated his strong family values and integrity throughout his collegiate and professional football and business career without fail.


The Ring of Honor is such an inspiring and great concept that has the unending support of its conceptualization from the members of the Holy Cross Gridiron Club, who work tirelessly to support the student-athletes and the football program of Holy Cross.


To the current and future players, we offer the moments of common ground between the many years of former players, each of whom have dedicated, in no small way, an enormous measure of their personal being in pursuit of victory for Holy Cross on the field of competition. We have learned that sportsmanship, can only fuel the inspirations of student-athletes who don the colors of our alma mater. We, your colleagues from past competitions representing Mount Saint James, offer our voluminous vocal encouragement to do your best, and accept the outcome in the same spirit of those who have stepped on the field before you with sportsmanship and valor. We, just as those who have played before us beginning on September 26, 1903, remain, henceforth now and forever, Crusaders.




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