Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus was a sea of maroon as alumni and fans celebrated Homecoming and 125 years of Fordham football on Saturday, Sept. 22.
Thousand of alumni and students, clad in Fordham apparel, streamed into Homecoming Under the Tent on the Martyrs’ Court lawn before the game against the University of Dayton. Homecoming weekend also drew scores of former Fordham football players from throughout the decades, many of whom took part in the 125th anniversary celebration at O’Keefe Commons on Friday, Sept. 21.
Even a downpour before the game couldn’t dampen spirits, as the entire tent was festooned with poster-sized programs from Fordham’s storied football past, and everything from food to face painting was the order of the day for alumni and their families. At noon, the Fordham band and cheerleaders rallied the crowd and led alumni to Jack Coffey Field for the opening kickoff. Fordham lost in the final minutes of the game, 31-25. After the game, a Homecoming Mass was celebrated at the University Church.
The football banquet on Friday night was emceed by Bob Papa (CBA ’86), the play-by-play voice of the New York Giants. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, welcomed back the former football players, as did Frank McLaughlin, director of athletics.
Fordham football player Dominque Owens also addressed the gathering on behalf of the team. “We know without you, the program would not be possible and we want to take this opportunity to tell you how much we truly appreciate your support,” said Owens, who is one of four team captains. “Knowing we represent such a rich tradition and that so many great players came before us, we are reminded what an honor it is to be a Fordham Ram.”
Owens and the other team captains presented the most senior Fordham football alumnus in attendance, Jerry O’Brien (FCRH ’43), with a framed print of the cover of the program for the Sugar Bowl of 1942, a game in which he played.