Listen, I’m not the biggest college sports guy. I think the last full college game of any kind I watched was Deshaun Watson carrying Clemson to a national championship two years ago. As for watching a BC game or any game involving colleges in Massachusetts, I haven’t watched a full one since Tyrese Rice played for BC a decade ago. I might have watched a Reggie Jackson game awhile ago but who knows?
Is that bad?
I’ll admit it though, I have watched bits and pieces Providence games. But that’s because they’re in the NCAA tournament a lot of the time; not to mention I live 15 minutes away from their arena. I’ll give it a quick look on TV before I change it over to some stupid show. But I’m on a mission to find names that were big in college and in their respective sports (football and basketball) and why those names haven’t carried over to the present in Boston and around Massachusetts.
Providence has made the tournament 4 years in a row (although they’re not making it this year). As for BC, they haven’t made it since 2009. I think that covers part of the disinterest in the team. When you haven’t done anything relevant in 10 years, you can’t expect any coverage in the media, especially in Boston. I would talk about their ’05-’06 team that went 20-0 to start but that kind of proves my point. No one even knew they were that good once. I don’t think a single soul could tell me who was on that team without looking it up.
Jared Dudley; decent NBA career. Tyrese Rice (no NBA career), Craig Smith (has a decent start to career, never panned out). That is one of the best teams BC’s history, and yet we never hear about it. Star power is a big reason for no one hearing about BC.
I’ll name you some other NBA players who went to BC. See if these move the needle for you:
- Gerry Ward ’63
- John Bagley ’83
- Jay Murphy ’84
- Michael Adams ’85
- Dana Barros ’89
- Howard Eisley ’94
- Bill Curley ’94
- Troy Bell ’03
- Sean Williams ’07
- Reggie Jackson ’11
- Olivier Hanlan ’16
- Jerome Robinson ’18
Nothing comes to mind much other than Reggie Jackson, who the casual NBA fan would know but if you’re just a Boston sports type of guy, you’d never know he went to BC. For the football side of it, it’s a lot better. But still, wasn’t enough to create any type of buzz. I’m only doing notable names from ’85 and up because there’s way too many names to get all of them.
- Doug Flutie ’85
- Bill Romanowski ’88
- Matt Hasselbeck ’98
- Damien Woody ’99
- Dan Koopen ’03
- Brian Flores ’03
- Matt Ryan ’08
- B.J. Raji ’09
- Mark Herzlich Jr. ’11
- Luke Kuechly ’12
All the names I’ve listed are either household names or had a decent NFL career. None have really brought much national attention to the BC football program since Doug Flutie and more recently Matt Ryan. But still, these guys aren’t really household names in Boston sports history. Flutie is different though, he’s a legend around these parts.
For Boston University, all I found was Drederick Irving (I count him because his son is Kyrie Irving) and Raja Bell. As for football? Nothing. Northeastern? Reggie Lewis (great player up until his tragic death) and J.J. Barea
Although UMass Amherst isn’t near Boston, I’ll bring them up because you never really hear about their Alumni too much. I’ll start with football.
- James Ihedigbo ’08
- Victor Cruz ’10
- Vlad Ducasse ’10
No names that moved the needle in terms of amazing in college, but Victor Cruz was once an elite target until he got injured and replaced by Odell Beckham Jr.
The NBA list, which is small, but probably the best list, has only 2 NBA players I like.
- Julius Erving ’72
- Marcus Camby ’96
That UMass team with John Calipari as coach made it to the 2nd round in ’94, Elite 8 in ’95, and Final Four in ’96 (vacated for NCAA violations).
All these names I’ve given you sound great. Historic even. But as of recent, none of the teams these stars were on are household teams everyone remembers like one of those Miami football teams or one of those legendary Duke teams with Grant Hill and such. Maybe the Camby teams, definitely the Flutie teams. Matt Ryan, sure. But I can’t really remember a city or state with so many colleges in Division I sports, and yet there isn’t a coach you can remember much other than Calipari and Tom Coughlin with BC way back when. Theres no program that’s been consistent throughout the years. Coaches change and they end up hiring nobodies.
There’s also another problem. Or shall I say blessing for Boston people: the professional sports winning in the city.
12 Championships since 2001. ’01, ’03, ’04 (twice), ’07, ’08, ’13 (twice), ’14, ’16, ’18 (twice). We’ve been spoiled with winning the past 18 years, there’s no telling when it will stop. Nick has detailed this better in his ‘How Lucky is Boston?‘ article.
The 90s were college sports’ time to shine in the region. Celtics sucked. Bruins sucked. Red Sox sucked. Patriots were the only good part of Boston sports in the 90s.
College sports in Boston might never shine again. None of the radio personalities care enough, national media could give a rat’s ass, and the professional teams are too good. Maybe a consistent program or a big name could help. But that might be a dream with how unpopular it is to play in Massachusetts.
Before I end this article, yes I know I didn’t include Baseball or Hockey. I don’t like hockey and never will until the playoffs (call me a bandwagon I don’t care). There just wasn’t any notable people in baseball. Plus basketball and football have more noteworthy people. Thanks for joining me on this weird journey!
Follow Fredy on twitter @Fat_fred53