Thursday, August 5, 2010

Checking In with Chuck Doyle '86

Where are they now? Where are some of the members of the Purple Pride who graced Fitton Field over the years? How did they get to Worcester in the first place? What are some of the special Holy Cross Football memories they carry with them? What would they say to the current contingent of Crusaders? Answers to these questions and more will be found as we "check in" with former HC gridders.

Today let's "check in" with Chuck Doyle '86....

1. What attracted you to Holy Cross in the first place?
From my earliest childhood memories I had always been aware and attracted to Holy Cross. Several of my uncles and cousins had attended and I don’t think I ever remember a time when I was not attracted or at least very aware of Holy Cross. I actually took it for granted that I would be attending Holy Cross as well as playing a significant amount of football at the school.  I understood full well the legend of Bill Osmanski from my uncles who grew up in West Roxbury MA with Fr. John Brooks. I went to high school at Nashua HS in N.H. where Holy Cross legend, Charles “Buzz” Harvey was the football coach and Athletic Director in the 60’s & 70’s. He coached Nashua with another Crusader named Tony Marandos, and they actually changed the school colors to purple and white. It was hard for me to attend all the Holy Cross football games as a youngster as we had our Pop Warner games to play, but I made quite a few and I rarely missed a Holy Cross – Boston College game. Most of our high school games were on Friday nights under the lights, which made it easy for me to see The Cross play on Saturdays. I grew up watching, Bob Hurley, John Ahern, Peter Columbo, Peter George, Craig Cerretani, Larry Ewald, John Provost, Dave Quehl, Glenn Verrette, Curt Bletzer, and Kevin Harrington to name a few great ones. When I became a Jr., then Sr. in high school I watched Crusaders like Frank Mattiace, Harry Flaherty, Peter Quinlan, Dave Shimshock, Billy McGovern, Bruce Kozerski, Steve Raquet, Andy Clivio, and Dougie O’Donnell. I looked up to these guys before they ever knew me and now I was going to get my chance to play with them only not under the terms I had envisioned.

Coach Rick Carter had just finished his first year coaching at Holy Cross and even though I was offered full football scholarships at other Division 1 and 1AA programs he declined to recruit me or invite me for a visit even though he knew HC was my #1 choice. My cousins Eddie and Larry Doyle were going to HC and invited me up on what just happened to be a football recruiting weekend. I actually crashed a football recruit luncheon and introduced myself once again to Coach Carter. Evidently he was still not impressed and actually encouraged me to take a scholarship at one of the other schools who wanted me. Holy Cross accepted me academically and I asked Coach Carter for permission to walk on. He obliged. I then found myself promptly on the “meat squad” running drills and plays against the first team defense. The guys I mentioned above were intent on making me understand the meaning of respect, hard work, loyalty, toughness and perseverance. It was tough but I had arrived and had my foot in the door of my dream.

2. Most memorable moment in your Holy Cross Football career?
I have too many memorable moments to list but here are a couple: Freshman year I was running scout team with Gil Fenerty who had to red shirt because he just transferred from LSU. I always visualized I would be starting in the backfield next year with Gil and Pete Muldoon, but Coach Carter was far from convinced. Carter coached the JV games and kept me out of the first one all together and played me sparingly in the next JV game. A few of the top freshman recruits like Tom Patton, Ed Kutchke, and Mike Dooley were awarded spots on the Varsity special teams or maybe a 2nd or 3rd string position on a special team and some of the top recruited Freshman even got to travel with the team to away games. Although I was 110% committed to the program, I was not getting the opportunity I thought I deserved and realized I would probably have to make my own breaks. We were playing Harvard at home on regional television and Fitton Field was pretty well packed. I was not even on the 10th string kickoff team but my adrenaline was pumping, my body was shaking, my chinstrap was buckled and I was pacing the sidelines watching the kick off team huddle on the field. Harry Flaherty was our captain and from the field he was yelling to the bench, saying he only has 10 guys for the opening kickoff. That was all I needed to hear. I ran as fast as I could to the middle of the field and the only thing I could hear was Coach Carter screaming at me to get off the field. I hid out in the middle of the huddle until Dave Detmer came on the field to take my place. Harry sent him right back to the bench, looked at me with a big smile and said “Chucky, you better make the tackle man!” I made the tackle and was then a starting member of the Varsity Kickoff team my freshman year.

Sophomore year I started opening day and would start every game, play most every offensive down for the next three years. Sophomore year was extra special because I was actually playing with many of the guys I looked up to when I was in high school and our team was stacked. Our defense was loaded with talent and we always elected to kick off and defend first. Our offensive line was fantastic with Bruce Kozererski, Brian Marcuchio, Kevin Garvey, Lawrence Weaver, and Matt Martin, who was replaced by Tim Neild after a career ending knee injury to Matt. I played in the backfield for two years with Pete Muldoon and three years with Gil Fenerty. Fenerty is only rivaled by Osmanski and Joe Wilson in my book and Muldoon led us to our best season, national playoff birth and Lambert Cup Trophy. We were undefeated 4-0 going into the Colgate game and they were also undefeated, ranked #1 in the east and had beaten Holy Cross five years straight. I had severely pulled my hamstring that week and was unable to practice. I was crushed and thought I had lost my job until Jack Scott told me Coach Carter and Duffner were asking him five times a day if he thought I could play on Saturday. “Scitchy” as we called him told me not to worry, the job was still mine. It was a perfect Saturday in October and Fitton Field was standing room only. Coach Carter told me he would see how I felt in the first series and go from there. I never came out of the game. Colgate’s defense concentrated on Fenerty and shut him down to about 30 yards. I had a good game with close to 100 yards and some scores. Colgate was loaded with talent the best of which was a strong safety named Eugene Robinson. He was bad to the bone, amazing to watch on film and played for about 13 years in the NFL.  We were losing 18-7 and running an option where I take on Eugene one on one. After we collided Mr. Robinson did not return to the game. We picked on his replacement for the rest of the game and Muldoon went on to throw about 40 passes for close to 300 yards before getting knocked out of the game. Tom Heffernan came in and picked up right where Pete left off connecting with Gary Quinlan a few times before throwing the winning touch down to Bill Cowley. It was a big win for HC and my most memorable game, next to the Boston College game my Sr. year when on television I called out Mike Ruth, that years Outland Trophy winner. Before the first play Coach Carter said to me “time to put your money where your mouth is.” I got the ball and was slammed for a 1 yard loss by what seemed to be the entire BC defense, but that last game against Boston College was the best personal performance in my HC football career. 

3. What would you like to share with your past teammates about your Holy Cross Football experience? 
The HC football experience combined with the challenging academic and intellectual environment helped shape me and I am sure all my teammates. The competition on the field was equaled in the classroom. I recently attended an HC Football golf outing put on by the HC Leadership Gridiron Council and was delighted to see many former teammates, former legends many of who I mentioned above and more recent alumni who came from the HC football program. Getting re-acquainted with former teammates was easy, 2 minutes into the conversation and we all seemed to pick up from right where we were twenty five years ago. The four years at Holy Cross were four of the best in my life and I feel very lucky to have forged life long brotherhoods with all of my teammates.

4. What would you say to the current Holy Cross Football team?
Never take a minute of your HC experience for granted. The four years will be gone before you know it and every second counts. Most of you will never play football after college, so you have to leave it all on the field every day. Take advantage of the fact that you have an unbelievable coach in Gilmore and make us all proud, because you are being watched very closely from near and far.

5. What would you like to share with the Holy Cross administration about Holy Cross Football?
It was an honor and privilege to attend Holy Cross as well as represent the school on the football field. Many of my former teammates would not have had the opportunity to attend Holy Cross if not for the football program. I believe the major majority of Holy Cross football players developed into the kind of men the Society of Jesus would be very proud of.

Additionally, I sincerely hope the current administration and Board of Trustees fully appreciate just how special Holy Cross Football is and more importantly can be. There is no doubt Holy Cross has one of the finest college coaches in the country in Tom Gilmore. I hope that Coach Gilmore is gaining the full support necessary to continue to elevate the program and more importantly the college itself. Everybody within the administration from Admissions to the Athletic Director to Fr. MacFarland should realize just how powerful a strong, vibrant, consistently competitive football program is in developing the Holy Cross brand. Coach Gilmore's work ethic is a model for everybody on Mt. St. James. He deserves the school's support in terms of upgrading the physical facilities. Additionally, "let's bring back scholarships" and go win the national championship!!

6. What are you doing currently and what impact did Holy Cross Football specifically and the college at large have in bringing you to your current place in life?
I currently run a corporate financial services company based in San Francisco and Westport CT. In addition I serve on the Board of Directors of Raphael House, the oldest shelter in San Francisco and I married my HC sweetheart (whose dad also went to HC) and we are raising four great kids in Fairfield CT.

Chuck, knowing how reserved you were on Mt. St. James, glad to see you have come out of your shell!! Great stories. Thanks for sharing. Chu Chu Rah Rah...!!  


  1. Never for a loss of words...a bundle of enthusiasm.

  2. a great post by Doyle. As a loyal Colgate fan I was at Fitton for that great game for the largest crowd that the Gate and HC has played before. Yes, Robinson went out with a bad knee and the games turned around. I agree with Chcuck that HC should vote for scholarships come this December. If we don't the PL will slip even further than the days Chuck recalls.


  3. Thanks so much for sharing. Chuck brought back many great memories and he added such an insightful perspective as to what it meant to play football at HC....Ian Dowe ‘88


  5. Dizzy,

    Gentleman do not discuss these sorts of things. You should know this from your intimate service to our Commander in Chief!

    Great to hear from you and I am sure Kevin Condron, Chairman of the Board, 12 E.Mountain St. Worcester,MA. 01604- would appreciate a letter from you in support of football scholarships!!

    Chuck Doyle 86

  6. Hi Chuck ! -Barney Battaglia- Formerly of Middletown NJ

  7. B-BATTY!! From my NJ days- great to hear from you give me a call 415-806-5040 or drop me a line

  8. Chuckie - still remember when you made SI for your comment when asked about what you ran the 40 in -- your answer, "My Shorts." Hope you're doing well.

    Pete Corrao

  9. Chuck,

    Mentioned the special teams adventure you posted to Coach Koz after church Sunday -
    Big smiles all around

  10. Chuckie...typical Craigie as it has taken me 6 friggin' years to get to this most colorful missive. Thanks so much for your passion, dedication and heart. You are simply...THE BEST!