URI football

This was the season a freshman might have started at quarterback for the Bryant University football team. Tucker Beirne, a 6-2, 225-pounder from Coral Gables, Fla., looked like a player who could follow in the footsteps of 2014 graduate Mike Westerhaus, who stood third on Bryant’s all-time passing list with 4,929 yards. Beirne’s father David played lacrosse at Bryant in the 1980s and currently sits on the Bryant board of Trustees, so Tucker already knew about the Bulldogs football program.

The altercation allegedly involving seven University of Rhode Island football players and members of a fraternity in the overnight hours Sunday could have long-term ramifications for coach Jim Fleming and his program.

Sanctions in the wake of a fraternity raid by URI football players in 1996 dealt the program a blow from which it never recovered during his tenure, former coach Floyd Keith told me after he announced his resignation, effective the end of the 1999 season.

  The 100th football game between Rhode Island and Brown Saturday night at Brown Stadium will be a tough ticket. To sell, not to buy. Or, would you want to sit outside, possibly in the rain, to watch a pair of teams with a combined record of 0-6?

  Brown will play football at Harvard Saturday night, but I’m sure the mind games began last Saturday after Harvard’s 41-10 romp at Rhode Island and Brown’s frustrating 20-16 loss at home to Bryant.

Make no mistake about it. Every fall, Harvard gets in the head of the Brown football team, as if some mist floats to College Hill from Harvard Square and billions of H cells infiltrate the brains of Bears. Cells with stats, records, results. Gridiron DNA.

The South Providence Recreation Center will be renamed tomorrow for the late John H. Rollins, a former Providence City Council member, civil rights activist and football star at both La Salle Academy and the University of Rhode Island.

  College football returns to Rhode Island in a big way Saturday. Brown launches its 138th season at home against Bryant. Rhode Island plays its home opener against Harvard, the 2014 Ivy League champion. Salve Regina, the state’s Division III entry, hosts Castleton University from Vermont.

Thirteen consecutive losing seasons. Just three winning seasons since 1985. Zero championships since the 1984 and 1985 teams won back-to-back Yankee Conference titles. Zero playoff appearances since the 1985 team lost in the quarterfinals of the NCAA I-AA Tournament.

Its 6,500-seat “stadium” tied with New Hampshire for the smallest in the Colonial Athletic Association. Except for brief streaks in the 1950s and early 1980s, no tradition of winning football going back more than a century to the inaugural campaign in 1895.

All that at an annual cost of about $3.6 million.

R.I.P. John Rollins

May 11, 2015

John Rollins, a former Providence city council member, civil rights activist and football star at La Salle Academy and the University of Rhode Island, has died. He was 77.

A witty, warm and friendly man with a wide smile, Rollins surprised Providence’s political community in 1986 when in an upset he defeated City Councilman Lloyd Griffin to win a Democratic primary in the 10th Ward on the city’s South Side.

The University of Rhode Island football team finally celebrated victory Saturday with its 13-7 season-ending victory over Towson at Meade Stadium.  URI also snapped its 15-game losing streak, avoided its second winless season in the last three and gave Jim Fleming his first triumph as head coach in Kingston. The Rams finished their 12th consecutive losing season with a 1-11 record, 1-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The college football regular season in Rhode Island ends Saturday with Bryant wrapping up its most successful season in Division I, Brown trying to salvage a .500 rebuilding campaign and URI hoping to avoid its second winless season in three years.


Colleges, even state colleges, are too expensive and beyond the financial reach of some students. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst  Scott MacKay on why college is still a great investment, both for taxpayers and students.

Fast upon us 'tis season of Lilacs, caps and gowns and those desultory commencement speeches about life being a journey. For too many seniors these days, the sheepskin comes with an avalanche of student loan debt.