The Providence Gridiron Club, which was founded in the mid-1940’s as a dinner-social club designed to promote the game of football at a number of different levels in Rhode Island, added another chapter to its already storied history last Wednesday evening at the Quonset O Club in North Kingstown.
It was “Captain’s Night” and in keeping with tradition, club officials treated the captains of Rhode Island Interscholastic League teams to its annual macaroni and meatball dinner.
The event was also another learning and social session presented by an all-volunteer, non-profit gridiron group whose members were once players themselves and are now coaches who are trying to give back the knowledge and experiences they once enjoyed on the state’s schoolboy gridiron.
Take club president Dick Fossa, who played his high school football at La Salle Academy then, after graduating in 1977, walked on and made the football team at Arizona State University in 1978 and later transferred and graduated from Notre Dame.
Likewise, one-time URI standout and Little East selection Charlie Gibbons, who used to coach at Rogers High, and his former rival, Joe Magliocco, who for years coached at Middletown, are just a few PGC Board Members who work tirelessly to keep the Providence Gridiron Club alive and active for today’s athletes.
Last Wednesday’s “Captain’s Night” also included two special speakers – Brown University outside linebackers coach Paul Frisone and Rhode Island High School Football Officials President John Abatte, ho spoke of the importance of holding the captain’s title – sportsmanship and above all else, leadership. Joe Leslie, the right ends coach at Brown, also attended the dinner but did not speak.
“Both speakers were impressive,” said Fossa, who is also the head football coach at Narragansett High School. “They really stressed the importance of a team captain being a special leader and how a lot of former team captains have gone on to succeed in the business and corporate world.”
Among those Warwick-based schools whose captains and coaches attended the dinner were Bishop Hendricken, Toll Gate and Warwick Vets.