Countdown To The Cup: Kickoff Is Only Nine Days Away!

Holy Cross Athletics   11-03-2016

The 2016 Ram-Crusader Cup at iconic Yankee Stadium is now only nine days away! This showdown between the Holy Cross and Fordham football teams is the highlight of a once-in-a-lifetime weekend which will be full of memorable experiences in New York City.

The deadline to order your tickets for the game is approaching fast. The last day to purchase your tickets and have them mailed is this Friday, Nov. 4, while the final day to order tickets and pick them up at will call is Monday, Nov. 7. Make sure you are a part of this historic event by ordering your tickets today! Visit the Holy Cross Ticket Office online at or call 1-844-GOCROSS.

When you arrive at Yankee Stadium on gameday, make sure to get there early in order to witness some special events. The national anthem will be performed by renowned opera singer Rochelle Bard, a 1998 Holy Cross graduate. A soprano, Bard has been a soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Hartford Symphony, Tanglewood and the Opera Orchestra of New York. She is sure to deliver a rendition of the national anthem that you will never forget!

Also, the Crusaders will have two honorary captains who will take part in the coin toss prior to the start of the game. Holy Cross legends Gordie Lockbaum and Vince Promuto have been selected to participate in this memorable event just before the game kicks off! Here is an in depth look at Lockbaum and Promuto as they prepare to be on the field at Yankee Stadium.

Two Holy Cross football legends and Varsity Club Hall of Famers, Vince Promuto (Class of 1960) and Gordie Lockbaum (Class of 1988), will re-enter the gridiron on Nov. 12 to represent the purple and white by serving as Holy Cross’ honorary captains for the 31st Ram-Crusader Cup at iconic Yankee Stadium. Holy Cross and Fordham each chose two former football standouts to join two members of the military, who will take the field for the coin toss. 

“Playing at Yankee Stadium for the Ram-Crusader Cup speaks to the commitment of the administration and the athletic department led by Nate Pine,” said Lockbaum. “They’re committed to making this football program relevant, not only in the Patriot League or in New England, but on the national scene.”

Inducted in the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor in 2010 as part of its inaugural class, Lockbaum was a two-way standout for the Crusaders. In his junior season he was named ECAC Player of the Year, New England Offensive Player of the Year and WTBS National Player of the Year. He finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting that season.

In his senior season, he finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, second in the Maxwell Award voting and was named the Football News Division I-AA Player of the Year. Lockbaum was a two-time first team All-America selection, receiving recognition on offense, defense and special teams.

Gordie Lockbaum

“A lot of the awards I received were the result of a team effort,” said Lockbaum. “I would not have gotten much recognition if we didn’t go 21-1 over a two-year span. If you’re not winning games, hitting the statistics and scoring lots of touchdowns, in addition to being surrounded be significant teammates, you’re not going to have that kind of success. Whenever I have the opportunity to pick up an award or participate in something like this, I look at myself as more of a captain and representative of a team as opposed to an individual.”

Lockbaum was selected to play in the Senior Bowl, East-West Classic and the Blue-Gray game and was an NCAA Scholar Athlete “Top Six” Honoree. Chosen as Crusader of the Year in 1988, his teams won two Lambert Cups (1986 and 1987), and had an undefeated season in 1987 (11-0). His 1987 squad was also selected as the national champion in the final NCAA and Sports Network polls. Lockbaum was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the ninth round and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. 

Playing for Holy Cross led Promuto to an 11-year career in the NFL, but more than anything, Promuto cherishes the well-rounded experience he received during his time spent as a Crusader. “Going to Holy Cross really changed my outlook on life,” said Promuto. “Not only did I wind up playing professional football, but I became a U.S. attorney, and it was all on the back of Holy Cross.”

Promuto never played football until late in his high school tenure, but by the time he was a sophomore in college, he broke into the starting lineup at guard for Holy Cross and would remain there for three years.

“I really entered college with no background of football or sports in general,” said Promuto. “I started playing football my junior year of high school. When it came recruiting time, I chose Holy Cross, and I really got a good deal with the Jesuits teaching me something intellectual instead of always being physical like I was used to.”

Promuto earned first team All-New England and honorable mention All-America honors as a senior. In his most famous game as a Crusader, Promuto recovered eight fumbles in a 14-0 victory over Boston College in 1957.

He was also a star on the track team, as he graduated holding the school outdoor shot put record of 50 feet, 8-1/2 inches set at the Eastern Intercollegiate meet in 1960. After graduating from Holy Cross, Promuto was drafted in the fourth round by the Washington Redskins, and played 11 seasons in the NFL. He became one of the franchise's best linemen, making the Pro Bowl twice (1964 and 1965). Promuto captained the Redskins and in 1968 received the Outstanding Redskin Award as the player who made valuable contributions to the team and the Washington, D.C., community.

Vince Promuto

In 2002 he was honored as one of the 70 Greatest Redskins, and has a spot in the Redskins Ring of Fame. Promuto was inducted into the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor in 2010 as part of its inaugural class.

Due to Fordham dropping football from 1954-1990, Lockbaum and Promuto never personally experienced the rich rivalry between Holy Cross and the Rams. However, the two Crusaders can still relate to playing in big games at exclusive venues.

Promuto, a native of the Bronx, N.Y., expects filling the role as the honorary captain to remind him of his inaugural NFL game in which he took on the Giants at the old Yankee Stadium, where the Crusaders played four times in the past.

“The first game that I played in professional football was against the Giants, and I remember running through that tunnel at the old Yankee Stadium,” said Promuto. “And here I am, later in my life, being honored and going back to Yankee Stadium again. It’s a nice feeling being back there because that’s where I grew up.”

Back then, Promuto would have played at the old Yankee Stadium while with the Redskins. He will be making his first-ever appearance at the new Yankee Stadium.

Lockbaum predicts standing on the grass of Yankee Stadium will take him back to some of his most memorable games played as a Crusader. “On the football field, there’s no question that the most exciting time for me was during our 11-0 season in 1987,” said Lockbaum. “My junior year, when we went down to Army and beat them, 17-14, that was a very exciting game, as they went off to beat Tennessee the week before. Our team was ecstatic to realize we were 6-0 at that point and were in the midst of a pretty special season.”

Promuto recalls one of his most vivid memories as a Crusader was taking down Syracuse twice. “We used to play against Syracuse, and they went on to win the Orange Bowl around that time,” recalled Promuto. “And even when Ernie Davis was the fullback there, we beat them two out of three of the years we played them. We were a small school compared to Syracuse, so it was a big deal to come out on top in those games.”

Stepping out on the field at Yankee Stadium for the Ram-Crusader Cup will further instill the Crusader pride within these former Holy Cross leaders, reminding them of the glory days from when they were the captains of their remarkable squads.

“Holy Cross has a tremendous athletic history, and there is no question that when you look at its programs, there have been many historic games and remarkable student-athletes to come through Holy Cross,” said Lockbaum. “The special tradition and the history here, combined with that pride in wearing purple and representing Holy Cross, was always very important to me and my teammates.”

Yankee Stadium

Check back to next week for the final part in our Countdown to the Cup series, which will take a look at all the ways you can follow the game.

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