12 Essential Questions for. . . Wally Carew
Wally Carew is the author of A Farewell to Glory, The Rise and Fall of an Epic Football Rivalry: Boston College vs. Holy Cross. I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Carew on February 20, 2004 and am happy to share it with the readers of CROSSPORTS. Many of the questions were sent to me by CROSSPORTS readers. In addition, Mr. Carew gave us a special gift in that he is sharing with CROSSPORTS' readers a chapter from A Farewell to Glory that was not included in the book itself. It is about Mary Anderson, the wife of Dr. Eddie Anderson, one of HC's greatest coaches and Mary Osmanski, the wife of Dr. Bill Osmanski, one of HC's and the Chicago Bear's greatest players. This chapter is included below the interview. My thanks to Mr. Carew who welcomes email from his readers. You can email him at email@example.com. I hope that you enjoy the interiew and chapter.
Dana J. St. James '77
About Wally Carew: (from the dust jacket of A Farewell to Glory) "Wally Carew has been a newspaperman for thirty-six years in the secular and Catholic Press. He is now a freelance writer. His first book, Men of Spirit, Men of Sports, was a Boston Globe Best-Seller. He and his wife, Mary, live in Medford, Massachusetts."
And now: 12 Essential Questions:
1. A reader asked: “If HC had continued at the same level they were before joining the PL (one would assume that would mean that they'd be in the A10, at least for football), would BC have wanted to continue the series? Would they have still wanted it at the end of this 1-11 season?”
HC ended the series, not BC. If it was up to BC it would have continued forever. Once HC joined the PL and ended scholarships, Fr. Brooks pulled the plug. He thought the schools were going in different directions, which was true. HC used to be a big time program. People today fail to realize that HC once played a fabulous football schedule. I remember the Crusaders beating Syracuse twice and almost pulling off a big win against Penn State. But towards the end HC was playing non-scholarship schools while BC was playing Miami and Notre Dame. BC saw it (the cancellation of the series) coming and was not shocked. Towards the end of the series there was tremendous animosity between the schools. Neither team looked forward to it. Jack Bicknell saw it as a no-win situation. BC had to win and when they won it was not by enough and when BC lost . . . ?
2. A reader asked “Is there any interest in creating some sort of video version of the book? “
That is an interesting idea. I would be willing to cooperate with anyone who would be willing to work on it. That would be a labor of love for me. The series was about far more than football. It was about immigrants with little formal education whose families sacrificed to send their sons and daughters to college for a Jesuit education which is second to none. It is about the Universal Catholic Faith. We would have to find the films, but I believe they are around. I included a story in the book [Page 97] about the 1942 game which was perhaps the greatest upset in the series with HC winning 55-12 on the afternoon before the tragic Coconut Grove Fire. There was no official film of that game. However, a grainy, black and white newsreel clip of the game was found hidden in the archives at the University of Southern California. So the films are out there. Perhaps I could work with Bob Fouracre, the voice of Holy Cross Football.
3. A reader asked: “Enjoyed the book, but was wondering why the 1963 HC 9-0 victory over Jack Concannon & BC was barely mentioned. It was considered at the time the 2nd greatest upset in the history of the series [after 1942 of course]. BC was heavily favored - HC had won only 1 game in what was the worst year of the Anderson era. HC's star players - Jim Marcellino, Fran Coughlin, Jon Morris, Jim Gravel are all still living in the Boston area and would have been available for interviews. Yet the game isn't even given a summary mention in the chapter that synopsizes some of the games of the sixties! Easily the most striking omission from the history.”
I admit that I did not give enough play to this game. This reader is absolutely right. I tried to cover as much as I could, but I missed some things. I had so much material to work with that I could not fit it in. No book is perfect and mine is not. I know Jon Morris as I was the assistant PR man for the New England Patriots during his time there and he was a great player.
4. A reader asked: "Wally, you quote my classmate Tom Lamb as saying the '66 game in which Jack Lentz's last minute TD pass to Pete Kimminer was a major reason he (Lamb) went to HC. Do the math. Tom Lamb was already a freshman attending HC and on the freshman football team at the time. I'm sure, like me, he was thrilled by the upset but it sure couldn't have factored in his decision to go to HC - he was already there." [it was later discussed on the board that Tom Lamb graduated a year late due to the year the season was cancelled due to hepatitis]
I interviewed Tom Lamb and this is the story he told me. He was a western Massachusetts schoolboy star being recruited by a number of programs and his father took him to the game. He told me that this game pushed him over the top to choose HC.
5. Who did YOU root for, HC or BC?
I root for both of them. I love both schools with all my heart. Every year I probably cheered for the underdog (so I cheered for HC a lot at the end of the series). I love all Jesuit Schools (Fordham, Georgetown, Gonzaga) and all Catholic Colleges and will be rooting for St. Joseph’s in the NCAA basketball tournament this year. The Catholic Mass is said each day at these schools.
6. BC occasionally plays a 1AA opponent. What are the chances that HC and BC will ever play a football game again?
Nothing is impossible but I think that it is highly doubtful that they will play again.
7. Who has replaced HC as BC's No. 1 Rival? Who has replaced BC as HC's No. 1 rival?
BC’s rival is Notre Dame. Notre Dame has replace Holy Cross. Miami and Syracuse are also big rivals but the Syracuse series is threatened by BC’s move to the ACC. Holy Cross does not have a great rival. The Patriot League is a vanilla league and no real rivalries exist there. HC does have had a rivalry with Dartmouth and Harvard. They have played for years. HC would love to be in the Ivy League but I do not see it happening.
8. What kind of reaction are you getting from alumni from both schools?
It has been overwhelming from both schools. I had a book signing at the BC Bookstore after the BC-West Virginia game and my wife and I were treated like royalty. The support and encouragement were wonderful. I had planned another book signing at Holy Cross during their winter homecoming a few weeks ago but missed it because I recently had an accident that injured my knees and am still recovering from it now. I hope to be up on Mount St. James in June.
9. Have you learned any other interesting facts/stories about the rivalry since the book was published that you can share with us.
I left out Pete Cronin who was a great player at BC. He does the radio commentary for BC Football. He was a very fine football player. His name never made it in the book and I felt terrible about it. I have received quite a few emails and letters. I got a funny email from Virginia were the reader was at first convinced that I went to BC, then he was convinced that I went to HC, and at the end of the book he said ‘It was a very balanced account: you must have been a Harvard man.’ Of course, I did not go to any of these schools.
10. What will your next project be?
I am considering doing something on Notre Dame and something on the Army-Navy Series similar to A Farewell to Glory. I believe that Army-Navy is the greatest rivalry in the world—bigger than Yankees Red Sox. I went to the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia in 1996 and it was a spiritual experience. At the end of the game the players get down and pray together. They then face the losers side of the field. That year it was Navy and they played Navy’s anthem Blue and Gold. And then they faced the Army side and played the west Point Alma Mater. It was dusk and mist was rising above the field. I got all tingly and emotional and was so proud of my country. Growing up Army was perhaps the best team in the nation. In fact my child hood dream was to be the Captain of the Army Team. I am also working on a book of my own life and struggles. I have 10 chapters and it is at my publishers. Another ambition is to be an inspirational speaker for Catholic High School Football Teams as the lessons of football parallel those of our Christian faith. My father was a coach and I played football for Concord High School. This was a public school yet the entire team, Protestants and Catholics together, ALL went to Mass every Saturday morning. It was an integral part of our preparation and help mold us as a team.
11. What got you started as a writer and why did you write A Farewell to Glory?
My sole motivation for writing A Farewell to Glory is my love of football and of our Catholic Faith. As far as why did I start writing, in the 6th grade my teacher, a nun, told me I had writing ability. I then went into the Army and was stationed in Germany. I wrote 100’s of letters home to friends, family, girl friends and x-girl friends and this made me a writer. My advice to aspiring writers: write and read but mostly write. It’s the repetition. Its more perspiration than inspiration. Ability is a dime a dozen--it’s the work that pays off.
12: You mentioned earlier that you had a lot of material and not all of it made it into the book. Can you share with us some of the material that did not make it?
Wally Carew: I did a chapter about the wives of Dr. Eddie Anderson and Dr. Bill Osmanski but my Editor cut those out.
CROSSPORTS: I am sure that the readers of CROSSPORTS would enjoy reading this material. Would you mind sharing these chapters with us?
Wally Carew: I would be pleased to. [Note, Mr. Carew did send the materials as promised and what follows is the first public release of the “missing chapters” from “A Farewell to Glory.” On behalf of all the Readers of CROSSPORTS I thank you Mr. Carew!
by Wally Carew
Copyright © 2003 Walter R. Carew, Jr. All Rights Reserved. No part of the following text may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission from Walter R. Carew, Jr.
What do Mary Broderick and Mary Gavin have in common? The answer is
much. In addition to sharing the same first name, cultured, affluent
backgrounds and proud Irish heritage, they were the wives of two of the
greatest legends in the history of Holy Cross football - Dr. Eddie Anderson
and Bill Osmanski, a pair of giants, both members of the National Football
Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
The two women, both of whom grew up in the midwest, were also the wives
of men with dual professions. Football told only part of the story about
both men. Anderson was a medical doctor and Osmanski was a dentist.
Mary Broderick, who was born in Manchester, New Hampshire and later
settled in the midwest, was a professional model and an aspiring actress
when she met a dynamic and dashing young man and Notre Dame graduate named
Edward N. Anderson. The couple met while he was a medical student at Rush
Medical School at the University of Chicago and they married around the time
of the stock market crash in 1929.
In a November 11, 1951 Sunday Worcester Telegram feature story, Mary
Broderick Anderson was described as "she's 5-feet-4, weighs a neat 120
pounds, has clear brown eyes, auburn hair and an easy smile." The story also
painted a word picture of a pretty classy lady, a woman who "from her
modeling days she has carried over a vast amount of poise and a flair for
clothes. Her weakness is simple but well-tailored suits."
The soft Sunday newspaper feature story was a typical puff piece, light
reading for a lazy Sunday afternoon after the family had gathered around the
dining room table for the traditional big Sunday dinner. The writer, while
preparing the story, probably while sipping tea in the parlor of the
Anderson family home, didn't pepper Mary Anderson with any hardball
questions, just soft balls, as easy to return as a tennis lob. Nevertheless,
the great coach's wife did express her pet peeve, an annoyance she shares
with legions of coaches' wives, past and present.
Her most persistent beef? Fans who rudely criticize the coach, especially
the Holy Cross football coach who also happened to be her husband and the
father of their four children.
"I know it is an old American custom to taunt and jeer the coach and the
team," she said. "They pay for the privilege when they buy their ticket. But
I just can't get used to hearing my husband's judgment criticized by a fan
who probably doesn't even know the fine points of the game."
On Saturdays during the fall, on the day of the game, Mary admitted that
she was a nervous wreck, rising early and eating a hearty breakfast of
juice, eggs, toast and coffee because, by noon time, "she knew from
experience that she would be too overwrought to eat anything for lunch."
For her the hours before kick off were endless. Torture. Time seemed to
stand still. Sew? Tidy up the house? Read? "Before games, I have trouble
concentrating on anything," she said.
Almost as if she were coaching the game herself, she paced back and forth.
Around the kitchen. Upstairs. Downstairs. When she did manage to sit down,
she admitted that she "drank six cups of coffee and smoked half a pack of
Once the game started the tension became exacerbated, but at least she
was there, inside the stadium, feeling like she was part of the action.
During the game, she sat on the edge of her seat, furrowing her brow and
continuing to smoke one cigarette after another.
Down below, on the sideline, her husband, the great coach, paced in front
of the Holy Cross bench. Like his wife, an incessant smoker, Dr. Eddie
Anderson often smoked more than a pack during the game. With her puffing
away in the stands and him smoking one butt after another on the sidelines,
the American Cancer Society should have issued an all points bulletin to
citizens of the Worcester area.
But that was a different era. The hazards of smoking were yet to be
discovered and it was considered cool to smoke cigarettes in those days.
Wonder how many cigarettes the coach and his dear wife smoked on the day
Carnegie Tech nipped Holy Cross 7-6 in 1938, the team's only loss which
ultimately denied the Crusaders a bid to play in the Sugar Bowl? Bill
Osmanski was captain of that 8-1-0 Holy Cross team, one of the school's best
Mary Anderson saw her first professional football game in 1926. It was
at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Her future husband was a participant, the
captain and starting end for the Chicago Cardinals in an NFL game against
the Chicago Bears. At that time, the couple had not met.
Like Mary Anderson, Mary Gavin Osmanski, the wife of Holy Cross great
Bill Osmanski, saw her husband play football before she ever met him. Her
brother Bob was a classmate of Bill Osmanski's at Holy Cross. Robert Gavin,
a Navy medical officer, was killed during World War II when his destroyer
was sunk in the Pacific by a typhoon. Mary Gavin was just a schoolgirl when
she became enamored with the big football star at Holy Cross, number 25,
"Bullet Bill" Osmanski.
"Being Bob¹s kid sister," she was quoted as saying in an October 18, 1948
story in the Worcester Gazette during Osmanski's first season as head coach
at his alma mater, "I had a terrific schoolgirl crush on the football star
at his college. I even wrote Bill a few fan letters which he answered. I
kept a scrapbook about him, but later I threw it away because I thought "oh,
what is the use of this anyway!" In 1939, when I was fifteen, I finally met
Bill when he came to Chicago to play in the college All-Star game."
Soon after that game, Mary Gavin went off to college and Bill Osmanski
went off to war. When they met again, after the war, she had graduated from
St. Mary's College of Notre Dame and she was attending the Katherine Gibbs
School in Chicago. As for him, he was playing and starring for the Chicago
Bears. He got her tickets for a Bears game, they started dating and the
daughter of a midwest medical doctor and the football star at an Eastern
Jesuit college were married on February 15, 1947.
During the two seasons that Bill Osmanski was the head football coach
at Holy Cross, Mary Osmanski faced many trials. She didn't find it easy
living in Worcester and being separated from her family and friends. "I like
Worcester and the people are friendly," she remarked in the Gazette story.
"But I'll be glad to go back to our home and friends in Chicago."
It wouldn¹t be long before she would get her wish and her husband would
return to his fulltime dental practice just outside the Windy City.
Osmanski, maybe the greatest player in Holy Cross football history, who
scored touchdowns the first and last times he touchdown the football for the
Crusaders, was a bust as a college football head coach. His record during
two seasons at Holy Cross was just 6-14. In his final game, Boston College
crushed the Crusaders, 76-0. Shortly after that game, Holy Cross fired
Osmanski and bought out the final three years of a five-year contract he
signed prior to the 1948 season.
For Mary Osmanski, a young wife and mother of an eight-month-old daughter
at the time the article in the Worcester Gazette was published, those days
must have been especially difficult for both her and her famous husband.
|E-mail the Webmaster with questions or comments about CROSSPORTS|