Friday, July 1, 2011

Countdown to Kickoff: 63 Days...Rodney Deleaver '74 Writes of Joe Wilson '73

A little bit of a Friday Crusader 'fix'.....

Linda George in the Holy Cross Ticket Office has informed me that the 'phones are ringing off the hook' with people from both near and far purchasing tickets for the "event" on September 1st when our Crusaders take on UMass under the lights. 

Call 508-793-2573 and get involved so we can make sure we Fill Fitton Field. Spread the word. 

Holy Cross Football Tickets Now On Sale 

Our fellow 'sader from the Class of 1974, Rodney Deleaver, takes a walk down memory lane and writes with passion about his teammate Joe Wilson. 

Thank you Rodney. I hope everybody has a great 4th of July holiday weekend...

LD '83

Joe Wilson, HC 1973

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.



  1. Joe Wilson is a pretty amazing guy! --j.d.wilson

  2. Joe is an awesome individual and Holy Cross is lucky to count him amongst its ranks.

    From White Stadium in Boston to Fitton Field and then to the NFL and beyond, Joe has always done himself and those around him proud.

    September 1 will be a VERY SPECIAL day!!