Friartown Features Hosts Williams and Burke
Two Greats Share Valuable Pieces of Advice in Being Successful
Scott Jarosz ’21
On April 26, professional tennis player Serena Williams joined Providence College alumna and NBA broadcaster Doris Burke virtually to take part in a conversation that was broadcasted to the entire PC community. This conversation was part of a series of virtual events hosted by PCe entitled “Friartown Features.” Throughout the conversation, Williams and Burke shared many valuable insights that made this event well worth attending.
A native of Saginaw, MI, Williams began playing tennis at a young age and has not looked back since. Now 39 years old, Williams has solidified herself as one of the best tennis players of all time. Throughout her professional career, which began in 1995, Williams has won a total of 73 matches, including 23 individual grand slams.
Her 23 grand- slam victories are the most by a player in the Open Era and are the second-most of all time. In addition to her on-court performance, Williams is highly involved in social activism and charity work. Her outstanding career on the court, as well as her efforts off the court, have established her as a premier role model for people across the globe.
Given her outstanding accomplishments, Williams’ conversation with Burke was an opportunitysomething that many members of the PC community could not pass up. The conversation was designed for Burke to serve as the interviewer and Williams as the respondent. Burke asked Williams a wide variety of questions, to which Williams responded with thoughtful answers. Burke also offered her own input following Williams’ responses.
The conversation began with Burke asking Williams for her biggest piece of advice that has led her to have such an outstanding career. Williams responded, “You have to be willing to put in hours when other people are not. You have to be willing to miss out on something when other people are not.”
She continued her answer by sharing some additional insights. “I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve wanted to do other things [instead of working] and now I’m so grateful that I spent my time doing what I had to do, not necessarily what I wanted to do.” Williams’ response to this question gave the PC community an inside look into what allowed her to have such a successful career, which was inspiring to hear.
When Burke asked her about what tennis means to her and whether she strives to earn the all-time record for most grand slam victories, Williams said, “At the end of the day I don’t really care if I’m known [for] how many grand slams I’ve won, I definitely want to be known more for things I did off the court and people’s lives I was able to influence.” An admirable sentiment, this shows how passionate Williams is about making an impact on the world at large , and how she understands that there is more to life than on-court achievements such as grand slam titles.
Overall, the virtual conversation between Doris Burke and Serena Williams was an amazing experience for the PC community. Both Burke and Williams have had outstanding careers as women in sports and hearing their input on a wide variety of topics was immensely valuable.
Listening Tour: An Interview with Nick Sailor ’17
PC Administrator Talks Social Change in Sports
By Jack Belanger ’21
This article is part of The Cowl’s Listening Tour, a series that aims to amplify the voices of BIPOC members of our community and bring awareness to social justice initiatives on campus.
Three years ago, Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham infamously said, “Shut up and dribble” on her TV program in response to criticisms made by NBA star Lebron James of former president Donald Trump. Ingraham argued it was unwise to take political advice from someone who gets “paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball.”
Fast forward to now and countless professional athletes across the country are using their platforms to speak out against issues plaguing our society and to make change. Where at one point socially active athletes stood out like a sore thumb, today’s environment has opened the doors for all athletes to have a voice, even providing young college athletes with the opportunity to make changes in their own communities.
At Providence College, the athletic department has become a leader in pushing for change and promoting conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thanks to much of the work of director of training and education for DEI, Nick Sailor ’17, a former PC athlete himself, being an athlete at the College has come to mean more than excellence in the gym and in the classroom.
“Student-athletes are starting to recognize they do have influence and they do have a voice,” said Sailor. “They don’t have to wait on someone else to do something. They recognize they can be advocates for change.”
Ever since Sailor came back to PC 18 months ago, he has worked to create a space where everyone in the athletic department can be part of an inclusive environment. What separates PC’s athletic department from other schools, Sailor believes, is the support and participation from the senior staff, starting with athletic director Bob Driscoll, to make diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority.
“We are really fortunate we have someone like Bob Driscoll who is passionate [about promoting DEI],” Sailor commented. “This work doesn’t happen without our senior staff.”
Sailor recalled a conversation with Driscoll during his final interview for director of training and education for DEI in which Driscoll expressed that he wanted to expand the goals of the athletic department.
“[Driscoll] says to me, ‘We have the national championships, we have built great facilities, now we need to enter this new frontier.’ He wants to be an innovator and a leader when it comes to creating these inclusive spaces on campus.” Driscoll and the rest of the senior staff have done their part to attend workshops and be a part of the growth process.
Needless to say, the staff’s work has turned into student-led action that has made a real impact. In the fall, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council worked to ensure every single student-athlete at the College registered to vote in the election, achieving 100% voter turnout for eligible athletes.
The access athletes had to vote was a major change from when Sailor, in 2016, had to take a train from campus into Boston just to get onto a bus to Connecticut in order to vote in that year’s election. Sailor notes that he would never want a student-athlete to go through what he did just to vote.
Sailor believes that the work the athletic department has done could prove to be sustainable as long as everyone remains committed to it long-term, and that includes smaller departments like marketing or even business development. While racial injustice became a hot topic during the summer, the athletic department has shifted their strategy to how they can keep pushing for change in a post-pandemic world where it does not take tragic events to grab people’s attention.
“I want us to be able to talk about these issues and take action without having to unearth deep pain. What is it that we can do long-term?”
Sailor believes that everybody in the department has a role in helping promote change, and he is passionate about helping people find their specific role. Even for those who are not experts in DEI, there are actions individuals can take to be part of the solution.
“You probably aren’t going to be up here giving an hour-long lunch and learn about intersectionality. You can make sure you have diverse candidates when hiring for [graduate assistant] positions. There are ways everyone in our department can do something to help where we are trying to go.”
More recently, SAAC created a new initiative called United Friars Week that ran from April 6-11. Each day during the week, student-athletes ran workshops that covered topics such as allyship, LGTBQ+ inclusivity, and anti-xenophobia. Athletes also wore Friars United warm-up shirts before games.
What makes college athletes especially amazing is how different the landscape is for them from just four years ago when Sailor was at school. Much of Sailor’s work now can be traced to his time as a student on campus.
“There are times I think how nice it would have been to have someone focused in DEI in an athletics role such as the one I am in now when I was a senior. Somebody that I could have looked up to as a Black student-athlete.”
Sailor’s time at PC coincided with events like Eric Garner’s death and when Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem. As a Black student, Sailor found Garner’s death was hard to process, and PC was still learning how to talk about events involving racial injustice. There were times Sailor felt isolated when it came to processing these kinds of events. He did point out, though, that the College is now much better equipped to talk about events involving racial injustice.
Trying to navigate through those tough conversations as a student-athlete “was definitely a tough time,” Sailor remembers. “Even then, the notion of athletes using their voice was not as commonplace as it is now.”
Looking to the future, a driving theme that Sailor envisions for student-athletes is “being bigger than the sport” and utilizing their sport for change.
“Our favorite athletes are obviously good athletes, but they have a voice bigger than their sport. Whether that is gender equity with Serena Williams, or the work Lebron James has done or Muhammed Ali. Of course, they are once-in-a-generational talents but we are drawn to them because we recognize their sport is just a part of what they are doing for a bigger cause.”
Sailor wants every student-athlete to find their voice at PC. Much like these inspirational athletes, Sailor encourages every student-athlete to help change their community for the better.
Former Friars Make History as First Female NHL Scout
A True Trailblaxer, Cammi Granato ’93 Is No Newcomer to Breaking Barriers
by Liam Tormey ’22
Cammi Granato ’93 has been the first to achieve a lot of things in her life. She was one of the first women to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, she was the first to captain the United States Women’s Hockey Team to an Olympic Gold Medal, and now, she is the first female scout in National Hockey League history.
Growing up in Downers Grove, IL, Granato was one of six siblings. Her household was hockey-centric, as her entire family loved the sport.
“My family had a direct impact on who I was as a person and an athlete. I grew up in a team environment. Everything was family first,” Granato said while describing her upbringing. Her brothers were very influential in shaping the hockey player she would become. Tony Granato would go on to have a very successful career in the NHL and is now the head coach of the University of Wisconsin’s Men’s Hockey Team. Her other brother, Don, is now an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabers in the NHL.
Although it was never easy having to play with her brothers all the time, Granato admitted, “I followed my three older brothers everywhere they went. They never took it easy on me, I always had to keep up if I wanted to play.” When they started to give her a hard time, she recalls her brothers saying, “Do not tell mom.” When she was halfway up the basement stairs, ready to express her frustrations to her mother, she realized, “They will not let me play again if I do this.”
The hardships of being a woman in a male-dominated sport never made Granato back down. Her brothers helped shape her into a player who was confident enough in herself to play at the highest level. Granato says she is most appreciative of “the standard they set for me.”
Her journey came with challenges, however. As a teenager, Granato was “the only girl. [She] never played against a girl until [she] was 18.” Playing with her brothers for a club team, she had to deal with constant whispers and snickers from a whole host of people. Granato recalls getting to the rink one day only for the figure skaters to “turn off the lights on me in the bathroom and call me weird and giggle at me.”
This was only one of the many obstacles she met in the rink. Granato remembers getting intentionally blindsided on the ice one time and suffering a concussion as a result. Another time, a coach told her before the game that he would break her collarbone if she played. A teammate’s father even told Granato’s coach his son would not play if a girl was playing.
“At the same time, I was shielded by all of the noise,” said Granato. “My coach was terrific, I had my family behind me, and they all accepted me.”
Granato’s path to Providence College was one she never thought possible. It all started when another PC graduate caught her eye. Cindy Curley ’85 was Granato’s first inspiration as a woman in hockey; Curley quickly became her role model. “I knew about her when someone sent me a pamphlet in grade seven. My mom said, ‘Did you know girls played hockey in college?’ In Illinois, we had no idea that women played.”
Granato came to PC in 1989 and admitted she was homesick the first month because she was so close with her family. Everything changed when she was able to get on the ice and be with her team. “Once hockey started,” Granato said, “I realized I had this instant team and the friendships started to form. The memories for me were formed within the day-to-day.”
The records show Granato found her home at Schneider Arena. During her time at PC, she won Rookie of the Year, ECAC Player of the Year three times, and helped PC win back-to-back conference titles. She still leads the program in points (256), goals (139), and remains second in assists (117). She was inducted into the PC Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013. “Those four years were amazing,” recalled Granato.
In the 1998 Winter Olympics, there was a women’s ice hockey competition for the first time in history. Granato got the opportunity to captain the inaugural USA Women’s Hockey Team. The result: a gold medal.
“Being able to participate was surreal and being able to compete for a gold medal, who would have thought it was even possible?” Granato said. She sees playing on the Olympic team as one of her biggest accomplishments. “It doesn’t get any better than that,” she said. “The pinnacle for me, playing in the Olympics and winning the gold was incredibly memorable. It is something I am very grateful for.”
In 2010, Granato was one of first two women to ever be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. It was never her goal while playing to get into the Hall. She admits, “I never thought about that, about getting into it. I had never aspired to do it because I didn’t know it was possible.”
When the opportunity finally arrived, it meant more for her than just being inducted: “I was humbled and honored. I knew it was not just about me, it was about women. I knew there were women before me who deserved it. It was a representation for women, and I see it as a day of recognition of women. It was special.”
Granato is now the first female scout in NHL history. While living in Vancouver, she heard that Seattle was the destination for the new NHL expansion team and immediately thought it would be the perfect fit.
Rob Francis, the general manager for the Seattle Kraken, played with Granato’s husband, Ray Ferraro, and asked for Granato’s number. “He offered me the position and I just thought it was a great fit,” she recalled.
After Granato was named one of the Kraken’s scouts in 2019, Francis spoke to the media and told them that, “I know she’s a female pro scout for us, but her résumé is why she got the job— not because she’s female.”
Currently, Granato is scouting the professional players in the NHL, specifically in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. “The position itself was super natural to me,” she said. “I love analyzing the game and that has come from being in a family of coaches and brothers who love watching game tape.” She added that “sitting up in the press box with ten other guys is not something I’m not used to.”
Granato is very excited for the opportunity to continue to be involved in the game of hockey. She says for the future, “I definitely want to stay in the game and be at the level I am at. It is really enjoyable being a part of an organization especially like Seattle. The environment is great.”
After all, hockey has been a part of Granato’s life since day one. “Hockey in general is just a part of me. I don’t know life without hockey. It’s second nature to me.” Granato says she has more goals for the future, ones she wishes to keep to herself, but for now she is happy with the balance between her family at home and her team in Seattle.
A trailblazer in every sense of the word, one can only wait and see what barrier Granato will break next.
Going Courtside with Cayleigh Griffin
Griffin Talks About Transition to NBA
by Jack Belanger ’21
Cayleigh Griffin ’14 can still recall the first time she ever spoke to Providence College legend Doris Burke ’87, ‘92G, & ‘05Hon. It was during her senior year at PC, and Griffin had every intention to break into the sports media industry after college. She reached out to Burke, not to ask for a job, but to make a connection, to show Burke the work she completed during internships for media companies such as Fox Sports. After all, what better opinion could you get than from the first woman to become a full-time National Basketball Association (NBA) game analyst who has been working for ESPN since 1991? What Griffin got was the start of a relationship that has helped her launch her own career into the top of the broadcasting industry.
“She is so supportive of young people trying to get in the industry,” Griffin said of Burke. “Especially young females trying to break into the field. And to have a young female that also went to PC, she was really eager to talk to me.”
With all of the accomplishments Burke has compiled over her storied broadcasting career, her lasting impact will be the path she paved for women like Griffin to have opportunities for top-level broadcasting jobs. Griffin, herself, put in the work before coming to PC to prepare for a career in media.
In high school, Griffin wrote for her local newspaper, covering high school sports whenever she could while juggling competing in volleyball and basketball at the same time. Even though PC lacked any sort of communication or journalism major, she grew up loving the College, as it is where her mother played basketball. Griffin knew she would have to create her own opportunities when it came to finding internships and hands-on experiences.
During her time at the College, Griffin would intern as a runner during Red Sox and Yankees games for Fox Sports. She also interned for the local “Rhode Show” during her senior year and for NBC Universal. Despite working for some of the biggest networks in the country, Griffin believed her “big-break” was when a station in New Jersey contacted her to commentate for high school volleyball and basketball. This provided her with her first chance to broadcast games live.
“It was a really fluke thing that these people reached out to me. It was an unbelievable experience for me as a college student,” Griffin recalled.
It was there Griffin worked with Ed Cohen, who would later go on to become the radio announcer for the New York Knicks and a colleague with whom Griffin has continued to keep in touch. Whenever the Knicks face a team that Griffin is working for, the two reminisce about their time together calling games in front of audiences that pale in comparison to those at the sold-out arenas they travel to today.
Griffin moved on from New Jersey and got a job working for the Big East Digital Network as an on-air correspondent. After working her way up in the company for two years, she felt that she had reached her peak and it was time to move onto bigger endeavors: the NBA.
During the summer of 2016, Griffin was searching for jobs when she turned on an NBA summer league game which happened to feature the San Antonio Spurs. Coincidentally, the team posted an opening for the position as the team’s sideline reporter that same day. Once again Burke was there to lend a hand for Griffin, as she was one of several people who reached out to the Spurs on Griffin’s behalf.
Griffin was able to land an interview with the Spurs and fly down to San Antonio. Sure enough, after a three-month application process, at age 23, Griffin landed her first job for an NBA team.
In the two years she worked for San Antonio, Griffin was able to work up close with stars such as Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. Some of her favorite memories include working with Manu Ginobili during his final season in the league and getting to interview Patty Mills, one of her favorite players to interview.
“[Mills] is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He was always willing to do an interview. I have been so fortunate to work with teams that had players who were easy and respectful. They knew I had a job to do and they were willing to help.”
After completing two seasons with the Spurs, Griffin spent a season working for the Cleveland Cavaliers before settling into her current job with the Houston Rockets. She earned her first chance to work baseball games as a fill-in reporter for the Houston Astros. Even with the two traveling around the country every week, Griffin has been able to maintain a strong relationship with Burke.
“I see her so often at games. It’s so cool to be working with her at games at the same time. I try to take tidbits from her in all aspects. I will randomly call or text her and she will text right back. She is so great.”
Despite establishing respect from her peers, Griffin admits there are times when people will doubt her knowledge of the game even though she spends every day following the same team upclose. It is incidents like this which remind us that women still have to work harder than men just to earn the same level of respect from outsiders.
Griffin has learned to stay positive despite the detractors, though. She is quick to praise her colleagues who have been nothing but supportive and to compliment the players who make her job easier. While she may still be in the early stages of her career compared to her older counterparts, Griffin has proved that she has the talents to become a mainstay in the NBA for years to come
Shammgod ’15 Shaping Future NBA Star
Former Friar Flourishes in New Role with Dallas
by Thomas Zinzarella ’21
It has been over 20 years since God Shammgod ’15 donned the Friar black and white on a basketball court, yet he continues to carry lessons learned in Friartown with him in his career as the player development coach for the Dallas Mavericks. Indeed, Shammgod plays an integral part in the development of players not only on the Mavericks, but around the NBA as well.
To see where it all began, the clock must be turned back to 1997. The Providence College Men’s Basketball Team, led by head coach Pete Gillen, was en route to the program’s fourth-ever Elite Eight appearance. The team had a core of players that featured a shifty point guard from New York City named God Shammgod. It was in the Elite Eight game against the eventual champion, the University of Arizona Wildcats, that Shammgod would make his name known nationwide. Shammgod, famous for his exceptional ball handling skills, dribbled the ball towards the baseline from the wing. He then moved his body in the other direction while simultaneously pulling the ball back in towards the paint. This move would be coined, “The Shammgod.”
Shammgod elected to forgo his final two years at PC to take his talents to the NBA. He was drafted in the second round by the Washington Wizards and played for a few seasons before moving on to play overseas. After his playing career ended, his first order of business was to finish his undergraduate studies. Shammgod re-enrolled at PC in 2012 and started working on Ed Cooley’s staff. Cooley had just been named head coach of the men’s basketball team in 2011. Shammgod, at the time, was uncertain as to what he wanted to pursue following his NBA career. His time in Friartown pointed him in the direction of coaching. “The way Coach Cooley and his staff coaches…they’re all hands-on coaches and hard workers,” Shammgod stated. “Ed Cooley is a great coach, motivator, and innovator for the sport. He gets the best out of his players.”
During his time as a coach under Cooley, Shammgod played an important role in the development of some brilliant Friar point guards, including Bryce Cotton ’14, Kris Dunn ’16, and Kyron Cartwright ’18. Shammgod explains, “Their success is a testament to all of their hard work and what they put in… [That’s what will happen] if you’re willing to listen and to grow as a person and a player.” He pointed to each of the player’s successes in Friartown, but also to their successes in the professional leagues as well. Whether it was Cotton winning MVP awards in Australia or Dunn excelling with the Chicago Bulls, Shammgod was sure to recognize the talents of the Friar family.
Though he now works at the professional level, Shammgod still recalls the passion and pride that comes with being a Friar. “The energy from the fans makes people play a certain way and with pride,” he said. “PC is the biggest show in town. You have to play with a sense of urgency and pride.”
In his current job with the Mavericks, Shammgod coaches some of the best young talent in the world. He works with stars such as Kristaps Porziņģis and Luka Dončić, perhaps one of the best international duos to ever grace an NBA court. Dončić won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 2019, was named to the All-Star team in 2020, and with his recent play in the NBA bubble, looks to be an MVP candidate for years to come. “I feel blessed and honored,” said Shammgod, “for kids to listen and take advice from me no matter what I have done in my career…I take a lot of pride in that…to see dreams come true…knowing all of the hard work they put in, for me it is wonderful.”
Although he is currently on an NBA staff, Shammgod has worked with players on all levels of basketball. He recalled working with a young Kobe Bryant when they played on the same Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team for a summer in high school. Bryant’s dad actually approached Shammgod to ask him to help his son work on his dribbling skills. Shammgod and Bryant became friends and remained so well after. When asked about Bryant, Shammgod reflected fondly on their relationship. He talked about the attitude that many referred to as the “Mamba Mentality.” “[Bryant] said one day he would be better than Jordan,” Shammgod recalled. “And he believed it. Even if nobody else did. We had a friendship because we had a certain bond about work ethic.”
Another major influence on Shammgod was the late-great John Thompson ’64, a legendary collegiate coach and PC basketball star. Thompson and Shammgod connected through their love of hoops and passion for coaching. Thompson made sure to instill in Shammgod the idea that there was no one way to coach, that there was no perfect blueprint that you could easily follow. Shammgod took this advice to heart.
These days, everybody wants to learn “The Shammgod.” Shammgod gets asked about the eponym everywhere he goes. Though he is perhaps most famous for this specific move, Shammgod refuses to let it define him and continues to strive to achieve even more than he has already. He hopes to one day be the general manager of an NBA team. “I keep studying and working hard, developing…my foundation is strong,” said Shammgod. “I come from a great tradition, a foundation of family and sports at PC…I don’t see how I can lose.”
A Story of Resiliance: Keasel Broome ’14
Former PC Goalkeeper Talks Soccer Career and New Interests
by Jack Belanger ’21
When we see athletes celebrate after winning a championship, it shows us what it looks like to reach the pinnacle of sports. We witness these athletes in their finest moments. What we miss are the struggles and challenges they must endure just to step on the field. For every MVP season, there is a story behind the athlete. Fans hear about the transformation the player makes on the field to become the best at their craft, but what often goes unnoticed are the trials they had to face behind the scenes. In some ways, the trials make those successful seasons more remarkable.
In 2014, the Providence College Men’s Soccer Team had their best season in program history. Not only did the team win its first-ever Big East championship, they also made a run in the national tournament where they made it to the College Cup Semifinal. During the Semifinal, they pushed the University of California, Los Angeles into double overtime but fell short of making the championship, losing 2-3. It was a record-setting year for the team, in large part thanks to the man in the net, Keasel Broome ’14. Broome had his best season with the Friars that year, posting a career-best 1.10 goals against average to go along with eight shutouts. He ended the season being named to the Big East All-Tournament Team and getting picked by the San Jose Earthquakes in the third round of the MLS Draft, not to mention leaving PC with a degree in hand.
The fans who watched Broome in person during the late season run saw one of the best goalkeepers in college soccer doing his job and giving his team a chance to win every game. What many missed is Broome’s journey to become the starting goalkeeper and the challenges he faced during his college career.
Broome came to PC back in 2010 when the Friars still played their games on the grass field outside of Guzman Hall. The two schools who recruited him were PC and Penn State University, but once Broome visited campus, it was clear PC was where he would continue his career.
“I felt right at home,” Broome said. “The coaches made me feel really good. I loved the campus and how it was small.”
Despite being the No. 2 ranked recruit out of Delaware with an opportunity to play right away, Broome did not see any game time during his first two years at PC, taking a redshirt year to get an extra year of eligibility. Even though he did not get to play in a match for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Broome committed himself to work every day during the school year and summer to get ready for the chance to get into the game.
Going into the 2012 season, Broome was primed for the starting goalkeeper spot. Unfortunately, he separated his shoulder during a preseason game, causing him to miss the first game of the season. Just as he worked himself back into the starting spot, Broome pulled his quad in another game. He once again rehabbed and worked back into the starting spot. Broome managed to play in 14 games that season, though he had a 1.42 goals against average and the team only posted a 3-8-2 record in the games he appeared in. Still, Broome had two more seasons at PC and was going to keep improving. It looked like all his hard work would pay off.
That was before he got the text.
In December of 2012, Broome was in Las Vegas with family when he got the text that his father was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver. He immediately locked himself in the bathroom and started to cry. Millions of questions raced through his head.
“Never in a million years did I think someone close to me would be affected by cancer. I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know what to do next.”
Over the course of the next semester he would split his time between living at PC and at home. During the week, he took classes and worked out at PC, then drove five hours home to Delaware on the weekends to spend time with his father. Broome’s schedule was so packed that he was on “auto-pilot” up until spring break.
“There came a point in time I couldn’t sleep anymore. There was too much going on in my head; anger, frustration. I couldn’t sleep naturally.”
While it was tough to see his father sick, Broome learned to be his dad’s biggest support system, just like his dad had been for him.
“It wasn’t easy to watch someone you love struggle, but the thing I kept reminding myself was that if he wasn’t complaining, I’m not complaining.”
Getting to spring break was tough for Broome, who was trying to keep up with his normal schedule as a student-athlete while also taking care of his father. Fortunately, around the break, it was announced that the 2013 Big East Tournament was moved to Philadelphia, a short drive from Broome’s home in Delaware.
Broome’s father had only once seen his son in action for the Friars, and playing near home would have been a special moment for both of them. Broome and his teammates’ new goal was to get to the semifinals that season to give Broome’s father one last chance to see him play.
Sadly that chance never came. In the final weeks of the semester, Broome’s father’s health took a turn for the worse. The cancer had spread aggressively and his blood sugar began to drop. Broome’s family began to make phone calls to friends, family, and former co-workers to have them say their final good-byes. Soon, the hospital room became so packed that his father’s roommate had to be moved in order to accommodate the amount of visitors. Broome’s father passed away shortly after with Broome right at his side.
While Broome was devastated about losing someone so close to him, he focused on the special moments he had with his dad and appreciated the time they spent together. That season, the Friars improved to 12 wins, with Broome starting in 22 matches despite dealing with shoulder injuries. The Friars managed to make it to Philadelphia in the tournament, and Broome’s family made sure to pack the stands. That night Broome played one of his best games, leading PC to a 1-0 win over Georgetown University in penalty kicks to head to the finals. From the moment he stepped onto the field, he knew that it was going to be a special night.
“That night I felt him [my dad] with me. I felt his presence next to me protecting the net.”
After his breakout season, Broome continued to push himself. He spent more time at PC during the summer to get better. Everything came together for him and the Friars in 2014. It was a monumental season that changed the direction of the College’s soccer program.
After getting drafted, Broome bounced around several American soccer teams in hopes of eventually making it to the MLS. Even though he was drafted by San Jose, Broome made his professional debut for the Harrisburg City Islanders in 2016. Unfortunately, injuries began to pile up and he struggled to stick with any team. His last appearance was in 2017 in a game for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in the United Soccer League.
In June of 2015, Broome made his debut for the Barbados National Team, shutting out Aruba in a World Cup qualifying match. Since his father was of Barbadian heritage, Broome was able to apply for citizenship and represent his family on the big stage. Playing for a national team gave him the opportunity to travel the world and play against some of the greatest soccer players. One of his favorite memories playing for the team was traveling to El Salvador and playing in front of 40,000 passionate fans.
Now, Broome has a job in sales and continues to coach on the side. His newest endeavor is making his own podcast called “Keepin’ It Real w/ Keasel.” With each new episode, he shares his life experiences in hopes that his experience can help people get through struggles similar to those he faced. Some of his themes include: dealing with adversity in sports, relationships, picking the right college, and being thankful for the things we have in life.
“Over the past couple years, whenever I got together with my friends I could talk about any topic for hours. My friends told me I should become a motivational speaker or start my own podcast.”
Since he has gotten plenty of positive feedback, Broome is not worried about the direction of where the podcast is heading in the future. His goals may be different from when he was in college, having shifted from running goalkeeper reaction drills to working on building his professional network, but no matter what the goal, Broome has the resilience to tackle any obstacle in his path.
Where Are They Now?
Former Basketball Players Making Waves With Overseas Teams
by Sullivan Burgess ’20
As media day approaches for the new NBA season, both fans of the Chicago Bulls and Providence College Friars are looking foward to seeing former Friar point guard Kris Dunn ’16 as he prepares for his fourth season in the NBA and third season with the Chicago Bulls.
Dunn, the fifth pick of the first round of the 2016 NBA draft, is a well known name in the Friar community, recognized for his accomplishments on and off the court. However, when we think of a player such as Dunn, we also remember the other former Friars that are making a name for themselves globally in the world of basketball.
One of the Friars that comes to mind is former guard Bryce Cotton ’14. Cotton led the Friars to their first Big East Tournament win since 1994 and was named two-time First-Team All-Big East player in the years 2013 and 2014, averaging 19.7 and 21.8 points respectively.
While Cotton went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, he bounced around from the G-League Austin Spurs to the Utah Jazz, to the Phoenix Suns, and to the Memphis Grizzlies. On the Austin Spurs he was named to the NBA G-League All-Star team, the All-Rookie First Team, and the All-NBA G-League Second Team in the year 2015. He eventually made a name for himself in the Australian basketball league known as the National Basketball League, where he is a two-time champion for the Perth Wildcats. Cotton also was awarded the Grand-Final MVP in 2017 and was named to the All-NBL First Team in 2018 and 2019. One of the best players in the league, Cotton will look to defend the Wildcat’s championship in the coming season.
Former Friar point guard Kyron Cartwright ’18 has also made a name for himself overseas. The 5’11” point guard remained a Friar for his four years of eligibility and was awarded Second Team All-Big East in 2017, as well as Most Improved Player. In the 2018-2019 season, Cartwright signed with Alba Fehérvár of the Hungarian basketball league where he averaged 9.1 points and 4.4 assists before leaving in 2019. Currently, Cartwright is signed with the Leicester Riders of the British Basketball League, and is waiting for his new season in a new country to begin.
Coincidentally,Cartwright’s teammate and former Friar forward Rodney Bullock ’18 has signed with Alba Fehérvár in the 2018 season.
The last Friar alumni to watch is former second-round pick for the Boston Celtics, Ben Bentil ’16. After traveling from G-League teams,to China, to the Dallas Mavericks, Bentil currently resides on the Greek EuroLeague team known as Panathinaikos B.C. In his last season in the EuroLeague, he averaged 12.5 points and 6.7 rebounds, making him a dominant force in the league.
While some Friars found success in the NBA, some were able to make a name for themselves around the world on international basketball teams, all carrying on the Friar values they were instilled with in their time here at PC.
Former Friar Named to Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame
Ernie D Becomes the Third Friar Inducted Into Hall of Fame
By Jack Belanger ’21
Last week, the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2019 who will be inducted into the elite group on Nov. 24 in Kansas City, Missouri. Among the inductees this year will be former Providence College Men’s Basketball guard Ernie DiGregorio ’73. DiGregorio was a key part of the 1972-73 Final Four team that reached the national semifinals for the first time in the college’s history. He led the team with 24.5 points per game and 8.6 assists per game.
“Ernie D” was born and raised just up the street in North Providence, where he won a high school state basketball championship in 1968. After high school, he came to his hometown Friars and started three seasons at the College from 1970-1973.
Known for his spectacular ball handling and passing abilities, DiGregorio holds multiple school records from his playing career including, field goals made in a season with 348, assists in a season with 267, and assists per game for a career with 7.7. He also averaged 20.5 points per game for his career, never averaging lower than 17.7 in a season.
During the 1972-73 season, DiGregorio, along with teammate Marvin Barnes ’74, led the Friars to a then-program record 27 wins and brought the team to the national semifinals where they lost to the University of Memphis 85-98. After the season, DiGregorio was voted a First-Team All-American.
After his career with PC, DiGregorio was drafted by the Buffalo Braves as the third overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft. His career lasted five seasons, four with the Braves, and one season split between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
He had an incredible rookie season where he led the league in free throw percentage at 90.2 percent and assists per game with 8.2 stats that led him to be named the 1973-74 NBA Rookie of the Year. He also set a record for most assists in a game by a rookie with 25, a statistic that has been matched by only one player.
DiGregorio is the third Friar of all time to be elected into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Former player Lenny Wilkens ’60 and DiGregorio’s head coach, Dave Gavitt, are the other former Friars in the Hall of Fame.
Former Friars: Where Are They Now?
Pro Ambitions Hockey Developers
By Cam Smith ’21
Jeff Serowik’s ’90 professional hockey career came to an abrupt conclusion 10 years after he graduated from Providence College. It was then that Serowik suffered his career-ending concussion during a breakout season in the National Hockey League (NHL). He had tallied six assists in 26 games as a smooth skating defenseman for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Instead of taking time off from the ice following his injury, Serowik jumped right back onto it. “I graduated from Providence and that summer is when I started my camps, 29 years ago,” Serowik said in a recent interview with The Cowl. “I started off with one or two camps per summer while I was playing [professionally]… After the injury my wife and I took a lot of the money we saved over the years and invested it in this Pro Ambitions and really blew it up.”
Pro Ambitions Hockey is now the largest hockey development company in the world, offering dozens of different specialized training camps from “Hybrid Powerskating” to “European Micro Stick Skills.” Their Division I AAA Camp features Serowik and many other Hockey East alumni as coaches in a camp that is the official development program of Hockey East.
“We really took it throughout the country and into Europe and into Canada and kept expanding,” Serowik said of the now massive scope of Pro Ambitions. “Each year we tinker with it… We try to keep up with the times. The game is so fast now that we’ve created these different types of power skating camps and we try to keep up with the technology. We’ve been doing this for so long, you don’t want to get stale.”
Serowik and his team certainly have the technology nailed down, as they even offer the Pro Ambitions app that supplies on and off the ice training right from your phone. With these technological feats, in addition to the masterful training kids get on the ice, it is no wonder that Division I hockey and the NHL boasts numerous Pro Ambitions alumni. But, to Serowik, achievement on the ice is not the only way to measure success.
“It’s great when you see kids have victories, going off to prep school or going off to college to play,” Serowik explained. “But, the most rewarding thing for me is something like where a dad called me recently and said, ‘Hey, my son came to your camp 10 years ago. He’s working on Wall Street now. He said his boss gave him the job because of the handshake that he had.’”
At every camp he hosts, Serowik holds a handshake competition. There, he teaches the kids the importance of looking someone in the eye and maintaining a good firm grip. As his Wall Street anecdote shows, it certainly pays off down the line.
“Hockey’s hockey, we do a great job out on the ice, but I think you can differentiate yourself off the ice with your relationships with your coaches. These kids are there, and they want to learn. They’re little pieces of clay and you just got to mold the clay into the good people that you know they can be,” Serowik explained. “All that stuff is rewarding.”
While a lot has changed for Serowik since he last skated for the Friars, the PC experience remains dear to his heart. “Providence was just a fantastic experience. It’s a great school,” he lauded. He also commented on the transformation the campus has undergone since his time in Friartown, citing his amazement about all the new changes. “There’s a lot of chatter about it everywhere you go,” he went on to say. “A lot of applicants, a lot of great things going on in Providence. Kudos to them, I’m proud of it.”
In a testament to his good-natured disposition, Serowik closed his interview with some profound words about the lessons he hopes his campers take away from the camps they participate in. “Be the best you can be. Nothing replaces hard work. I want these kids working hard and being humble,” remarked the PC alum. “The biggest thing: I want them to improve. I want them to be a great person off the ice and I want them to enjoy it and be passionate about it on the ice.”
With this philosophy of hard work and all-around improvement, it is clear that the next generation of hockey players are in good hands with Jeff Serowik and Pro Ambitions Hockey.