Last week, I tweeted that if the Providence College men’s basketball team made the Sweet 16, I’d give coach Ed Cooley the keys to Rhode Map for the day.
Now I’m making good on that promise.
With the No. 4 Friars set to take on No. 1 Kansas tonight at 7:19 p.m., Cooley and the Providence College president, the Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard, sent in thoughtful notes to thank Rhode Islanders for their support of this team.
Ed Cooley, coach
On behalf of my team, our coaches and Providence College – THANK YOU!
I know it has been said many times, but the support that fans in this state have provided to our basketball team has made this season something that we will never forget.
Our journey began last June with a vision. We hoped to improve on our 2021 season. We brought in few new players, who we felt were quality young men who would blend well with our existing core group of players. It did not take long for our staff to see that we had something special.
In late October, we started to see the results of the all the hard work that team had put in over the summer.
On Tuesday, Nov. 9, we opened the season versus Fairfield. It will be a day I will never forget. After 611 days and one of the worst pandemics in the last 100 years, our fans had a chance to return to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. We felt the energy that night as so many of our fans, especially the students, celebrated a small step towards a return towards “normalcy” when the ball was tipped.
The enthusiasm we saw that night never wavered. In fact, your commitment and support towards this team and program has reached levels that have not been seen in Rhode Island in almost 50 years. While the team set new standards and reached new heights, our fans continued to push us.
On Feb. 26, when we defeated Creighton, we saw a celebration at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center that has never been witnessed before within our program and our fans given the reward of a Big East Regular Season Title.
And now, after two wins in the NCAA Tournament, we are about to play in our first NCAA Sweet 16 game in 25 years!
It has been an amazing 32-game run, which we hope will last right through the NCAA Championship game on April 4.
In closing, thank you for believing in us, “Them Dudes,” because we would not be here today without the greatest fans in the nation – the Friartown faithful!
The Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard, president
On behalf of everyone at Providence College, our students, faculty, and staff, and, especially, our people in athletics and our men’s basketball team, I want to thank our many fans throughout the state of Rhode Island for your resounding support of the team this year.
PC has enjoyed a long and storied basketball history since the Dominican Friars began the program at the college many years ago. I am so grateful to them, and especially to my predecessor, Father Brian Shanley, and our athletic director, Bob Driscoll, for having the vision to recruit Coach Cooley, and for their undying support of him, our players, and our program.
It has been 25 years since we have reached the heights of the NCAA Sweet 16. This year’s team has done it due to their incredible work ethic, their intensity and grit on the court, their resilience in the face of adversity, and the belief that they can win every game, no matter the opponent. Their amazing record in close games this year is testimony to their winning combination of skill and determination.
They are also here because of the instruction, encouragement, love, and support they have received from their coaches. From coach Cooley right down to every assistant coach and manager, as well as our strength and conditioning staff and our people in sports medicine, these players have a Friar Family that believes in them in every way.
Lastly, they are where they are because of your incredible fan support. From the crowds who packed the Dunkin’ Donuts Center for every game, to the fans watching in bars and restaurants, and others watching and cheering from home, our players have felt your love.
So to our alumni and fans, and to all the people of Rhode Island who have supported the PC Friars this year, I want to say, “Thank you and Go Friars!”
This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, data about the coronavirus in the state, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.
Today, there will be two special e-mail editions of Rhode Map: One this afternoon before the Friars’ game against Kansas, and another after the game.