Forever Shining Purple
By Kate Griffin
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Matt Czarnecki (Class of 2008) shined as a golfer throughout his four years at Holy Cross. Czarnecki became the only student from Holy Cross to win the individual title at the Patriot League Championship in 2007, earning the Golfer of the Year award in the process. He claimed first-team All-League honors that season and earned second-team All-League status in both 2005 and 2008. Czarnecki’s excellent golf career at Holy Cross earned him a spot on the Patriot League’s 25th Anniversary Team. He was the only golfer from Holy Cross named to the prestigious team.
One of Czarnecki’s greatest athletic accomplishments at Holy Cross was when he won the individual title at the Patriot League Championship in 2007. “It was a pretty unbelievable experience,” said Czarnecki. “Our ultimate goal every year as a team was to win the Patriot League championship and I would have loved to have been able to achieve that during my four years at Holy Cross.”
Czarnecki was excited to learn that he was named to the Patriot League 25th Anniversary Team. “It was pretty surprising!” said Czarnecki. “I didn’t know anything about the Anniversary Team until I started getting texts and emails from guys on the team who saw the article.”
In addition to the team, Czarnecki had a strong support system during the Patriot League Tournament, as his dad was there to cheer him on. “My dad came down and watched the entire tournament,” said Czarnecki. “Having him on the course with me was a great experience and being able to share the victory with him was incredible. That whole week was pretty special. Ryan Kenny, Joe Hajjar and I went down a few days early and played at the Stanwich Club in Greenwich where I worked for nine years to get ready for the tournament and Joe made a hole in one on the 16th hole. There were some good vibes that week!”
The year Czarnecki won the individual title at the Patriot League Championship was extremely memorable. The team was supportive and they all wanted to win the tournament. “We had such a great group of guys on the team that year,” said Czarnecki. “Every week we were battling it out to see who would have the best week. A few of us had some breakthrough tournaments that year and I just happened to get hot in the Patriot League Championship.”
One of the best memories Czarnecki has from his time on the golf team was his spring break trips to Florida with his teammates. They were able to play on a lot of great courses but also had plenty of time for team bonding. Playing in Florida was a refreshing break from the snowy Worcester winters. “We got to play a ton of awesome courses and compete in a great event at the course where Caddy Shack was filmed (Grande Oaks in Fort Lauderdale),” said Czarnecki. “Golf is a fall and spring sport and we played most of our events in the northeast so weather was generally a major factor, I have a lot of vivid memories of playing in freezing temperatures and in rain and sometimes snow. I don’t ever complain about a little bad weather when I play golf now.”
Czarnecki can attest that being a student-athlete at Holy Cross has always been challenging. The biggest lesson he learned during his time on the hill was hard work and perseverance. “No one gives you anything, you have to earn everything by working hard,” said Czarnecki. “Golf can be a frustrating sport, especially when you’re not playing well. I learned a lot about how to roll with the punches and to take advantage of good opportunities.”
Golf shaped Czarnecki’s experience at Holy Cross. He met some of his best friends, who were also his teammates. In fact, two of his teammates, Ryan Kenny and Pat Brown, were groomsmen in his wedding. He tries to get together to play golf with his former teammates whenever they get the chance. Czarnecki also still maintains a close relationship with his coach, Bob Molt. “Not only was he one of the best swing coaches that I’ve ever worked with but he’s an unbelievably kind person,” said Czarnecki. “Coach Molt has been a really powerful influence in my life.”
Although Czarnecki’s time as a Holy Cross golfer is over, he still competes in amateur tournaments around the northeast. Czarnecki has advice to give to the current members of the golf team. “Take advantage of the opportunity that you have,” said Czarnecki. “Once you graduate your ability to get out and play golf dramatically diminishes. Work on your game as much as possible and play as much golf as you can while you’re in school. Once you graduate, try to stay in touch with the guys on the team and coach Molt; it’s a great network.”
Czarnecki graduated in 2008 with a degree in history. He lives in Canton, Mass. and currently works at FactSet in Boston. Czarnecki is married to a fellow Holy Cross athlete, Amanda (Dupuis) Czarnecki, who was a member of the women’s track and field team. He and his wife have a young son, Luke, who he says has already been out on the golf course a few times.
Czarnecki certainly made the most of his Holy Cross athletic career and looks back at his time on the Hill very fondly. He formed friendships with his teammates and coach that will last for years to come. Czarnecki’s time at Holy Cross may be over, but he still shines purple with all he learned on the hill.