Nov. 4, 2006

By Patricia Sutton
Special to

Senior Frank Herlihy is as versatile as they come. As a sophomore Herlihy was moved from linebacker to fullback. But Herlihy took the transition with ease, "It was different because I had the mentality of a defensive player," said Herlihy. "But the offensive coaches pulled me over, and it has treated me well. I never caught a ball before I came to college, but catching touchdowns isn't too bad of a deal." Herlihy quickly excelled in his new role and now has four career touchdowns, his most recent coming in this season's contest against Brown. "Frank's versatility is one of his strengths," added head coach Tom Gilmore. "He made the move from linebacker to fullback as a sophomore, because that was a greater area of need for the team. He had a strong finish in the second half of his sophomore year, performing well as a lead blocker and catching passes out of the backfield. As a junior, he also picked up the tight end position, which allowed us to use him in more situations. He has played both positions on offense and has been a significant contributor on special teams as well. He is a very smart player, which has allowed him to learn several positions and perform well in each."

Herlihy has always had the attitude of putting the team first, which was also a big part in aiding his transition. The move to the offensive side of the ball also allowed Herlihy to block for All-America tailback Steve Silva, a job that Herlihy did with pride. "Steve Silva is a really good player who has been nationally recognized, it's always fun being involved in something like that," said Herlihy. The combination of the two made them a significant threat to many opponents. "Frank opened many holes, giving Steve some room to use his athletic ability," explained Gilmore. "Frank's blocking had a significant role in helping Steve and our team succeed last year. In addition, opponents had to respect him as a physical blocker, which allowed him to slip by defenders on his pass routes. He made some clutch catches in critical situations."

Herlihy has also been having his share of fun and success this season being part of a team with a 6-3 record. To Herlihy, the accomplishments of this year's team are due in part to one very important quality. "This year's team is resilient -- we have a never quit attitude," said Herlihy. "Even when we are down, guys are stepping up and making big plays." Certainly this is the case after being down and coming back to win in pivotal games such as Lafayette and an overtime win with Dartmouth this season. Herlihy notes that his fellow seniors are particularly resilient. After finishing their freshmen year with a 1-11 record, and losing head coach Dan Allen to illness, they have worked hard to turn the program around in just four short years. The work has paid off as this season they have seen their best record yet and are currently sitting atop the Patriot League. Herlihy explains that the team's goal has always been to win a Patriot League championship, and they have never lost sight of that goal despite the obstacles they have had to overcome. Not only have the seniors taken on these challenges with poise and grace, but Herlihy says they have always done it together -- supporting each other and pushing each other to achieve the best to their ability. Herlihy also notes that coach Gilmore has been essential to the success of this season. "I think coach Gilmore's biggest contribution to the Holy Cross football program is the attitude he brought to the team," said Herlihy. "As a player and coach he was part of very successful programs, and I think he brought that winning attitude with him when he arrived on campus."

Herlihy also serves as one of the four senior captains this season. However, Herlihy is the only captain on the offensive unit. As a captain, Herlihy believes that his ability to bring his game experience and help translate it to younger players is one of his greatest assets. "We are a fairly young team this year," said Herlihy. "Getting a good amount of playing time has allowed me to bring that on field experience to the younger guys. The underclassmen have done a great job stepping up and have been instrumental to our success this season." Gilmore is quick to recognize Herlihy's key role as a leader. "He relates well with everyone on the team and around campus," said Gilmore. "More importantly, he sets a great example for the team with his work ethic as well as his unselfish approach to the team's success. His goals are team-oriented, and this philosophy shows in his approach to each practice and game. He has helped create an atmosphere in the program in which everyone strives to improve and contribute positively to the success of the team."

Herlihy has realized the important role that football and Holy Cross has played for him as a student-athlete. When it came time to look for colleges, Holy Cross was the perfect choice for Herlihy. Holy Cross gave him the opportunity to study at a challenging academic institution as well as play for a Division I football team. Herlihy's experiences on and off the field have provided a strong base that he hopes to use to his advantage in the future. "I think seeing the hard work put in the last four years pay off this season is a great lesson that I have learned, and will take with me towards future aspirations," said Herlihy.

It would seem that his hard work already has paid off in some respects. Herlihy, who is an economics and accounting major, already has plans to move to New York City after graduation. He has signed with the distinguished accounting firm Deloitte. After interning for them this past summer, he accepted their offer to continue working with them full-time. However, Herlihy is not quite ready to say goodbye. He looks forward to the rest of his senior season and says that he will miss the teammates he has met and the friendships he has made the most, "The experiences I've had and friendships I've made through this football program will go far past my days playing on Fitton, and I am truly grateful for them," said Herlihy. He is also grateful for the loyal support from his family. "I don't get to go back home as often as I'd like, due to commitments up here, so when they are able to make it out here for games it really means a lot to me," said Herlihy.

The support Herlihy has received from his family, teammates and coaches has also been more than enough to allow him to have some fun while excelling on and off the field.


This story originally appeared in the November 4 edition of the Holy Cross Gameday program, for the contest between the Crusaders and Bucknell. To order a copy of the program, click here.