Patriot League Football 25th Anniversary Profile
Holy Cross Crusaders
Patriot League seasons: 1986-present
Overall Record in Patriot League Era (1986-2010): 146-130-1
Patriot League Record (1986-2010): 78-61
Patriot League Record in 1980s (1986-89): 15-1
Patriot League Record in 1990 (1990-99): 26-27
Patriot League Record since 2000 (2000-10): 35-33
All-time coaches and records (overall and Patriot League)
Mark Duffner (1986-91): 60-5-1 overall, 25-1 Patriot League
Peter Vaas (1992-95): 14-30 overall, 10-10 Patriot League
Dan Allen (1996-03): 26-63 overall, 15-35 Patriot League
Tom Gilmore (2004-present): 45-33 overall, 26-16 Patriot League (entering 2011 season)
Postseason History: 0-1
2009: First Round (Villanova, L, 38-28)
Patriot League Player of the Year (1986-00)
1986: Gordie Lockbaum, RB/DB
1987: Gordie Lockbaum, RB/DB
1990: Joe Segreti, FB
1991: Tom Ciaccio, QB
Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year
1987: Jeff Wiley, QB
1990: Tom Ciaccio, QB
2005: Steve Silva, RB
2007: Dominic Randloph, QB
2008: Dominic Randloph, QB
2009: Dominic Randloph, QB
Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year
1986: Jerry McCabe, LB
1988: Rob McGovern, LB
1989: Dave Murphy, CB
1990: Craig Callahan, LB
1991: Corey Vincent, DL
1992: Tom McDonald, DL (Co-Defensive Player of the Year)
1994: Pat Smith, FS
Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Year (2004-06)
2005: Steve Silva, KR
Patriot League Rookie of the Year
1992: Andy Fitzpatrick, QB
1994: J.R. Waltz, TB
1999: Brian Hall, QB
2002: Gideon Akande, RB
Patriot League Coach of the Year
1986: Mark Duffner
1987: Mark Duffner
1989: Mark Duffner
1991: Mark Duffner
2006: Tom Gilmore
2009: Tom Gilmore
Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year
2008: Ryan McGuire, TE
All-time All-Patriot League selections: 217 (127 first / 90 second)
All-time All-America selections (AFCA, Walter Camp, Sports Network and AP): 44
Dominance. In the first six years of Patriot League football, Holy Cross won five titles and was rarely changed by its foes both within and outside of the League. The Crusdaers posted a 60-5-1 record overall and a 25-1 League mark under Head Coach Mark Duffner. After going 10-1 overall and 4-0 in the Patriot League in 1986, and outscoring opponents by more than double for the season, the Crusaders took off the next year with a season that put them as the No. 1 team in the national polls. Holy Cross earned a win at Army to start the 1987 season, and outscored its opponents by a ridiculous 511-110 margin during a perfect 11-0 campaign and 200-34 in a 4-0 Patriot League stretch.
"That team had few graduates as we got ready for the 1987 season and the senior leadership and commitment really made that team so strong," said Duffner. "That season of course was undefeated, but we were behind just one time all year in the first quarter of the first game against Army. They had a real commitment to competing as hard as they could and trying to be the best that they could. It was a real talented team but also a very strong team in terms of people knowing their roles. I think we led the country in scoring, scoring defense, total yards and passing yards so it was a very talented but also very close team.
Holy Cross followed with its only season in the tenure that did not produce a Patriot League title, losing to Lafayette early in the 1988 campaign and then watching the Leopards go undefeated to claim the League title.
"We talked about it that losing was not something we had any interest in and we talked about how we felt at that time and what we were going to do to not allow that to happen."
And over the next three years, they didn't. The Crusaders completed Duffner's tenure with titles in 1989, 1990 and 1991, going 30-2-1 overall and a perfect 14-0 in the Patriot League in that span. Holy Cross capped off its amazing run in style with a perfect season at 11-0 overall and 5-0 in the Patriot League in 1991.
The Crusaders remained competitive in the first season with Peter Voss as head coach in 1992, finishing 4-1 in the Patriot League and losing only to League champion Lafayette. But it was quickly downhill from there, as Holy Cross only posted two winning Patriot League marks and one winning record overall in the next 11 years under Voss (1992-95) and Dan Allen (1996-03).
The 2004 season looked like many of the same before, with the Crusaders going 3-8 overall and 1-5 in the Patriot League. But in retrospect, the season put the building blocks in place for a resurgence of Holy Cross football under Tom Gilmore. After that first losing campaign, Gilmore has led the Crusaders to a winning record in each of the last six seasons, and an above .500 mark in the Patriot League for the past five years.
Despite the success, there was frustration in coming up just short of the Patriot League title from 2006-08. The Crusaders placed just one game behind the League leaders in each of the three seasons, including a loss on the final day of the regular season at Colgate in 2008 when both teams came in undefeated in League action. Finally, the Crusaders got over the hump in 2009 in the final season for storied quarterback Dominic Randolph. The Crusaders opened League play at 4-0, and had the title on the line on the penultimate weekend of the regular season at home against Lafayette. This time Holy Cross and Randolph delivered, holding off the Leopards 28-26 to win the school's sixth Patriot League title and first since 1991.
Some of the younger Patriot League followers may not know it, but the words "Heisman candidate" were thrown around the League in the first two seasons because of multi-purpose Holy Cross star Gordie Lockbaum. A member of the Patriot League Football 25th Anniversary Team as the running back, Lockbaum played both offense and defense during his two Patriot League seasons in 1986 and 1987. He starred as a running back and defensive back, and still holds the Patriot League record with 15 receptions in his final collegiate contest in 1987 against Villanova. Lockbaum earned Patriot League Player of the Year honors in each of his seasons, finished in the top five in the Heisman trophy voting each year and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
And according to Duffner, there was never a plan to put the talented Lockbaum on the field for 60 minutes.
"When we got into spring ball that year, my first spring practice, we knew Gordie had been a talented running back in high school," said Duffner. "We had him on defense in 1985 so we figured in the spring we would teach him a few running plays in the case that someone got banged up. In the first couple of days of spring ball when he ran four or five running plays the offense just took off. The offensive coaches wanted him to be there and of course we couldn't let him go from defense, so it was just by preparation planning to spawn the idea for him to be a two-way player."
Holy Cross' successful run of 1986-91 and the accomplishments from the past few seasons were due to many factors, but like any football team the quarterbacks played an integral role. And for the Crusaders, Jeff Wiley, Tom Ciaccio and Dominic Randolph all live in school and Patriot League lore.
Wiley led the Crusaders for 33 games from 1986-88, and remains fifth in the Patriot League record book with 8,714 career passing yards. Ciaccio followed, leading the Crusaders to Patriot League titles from 1989-91 while playing 34 games and throwing for 8,603 yards, coming in just one spot behind Wiley in the Patriot League record book.
For Duffner, the ability of both quarterbacks to lead the team to great success remained far more important than the impressive statistics.
"They were both healthy and to be able to start for three years and play every game was a tribute to both of them," said Duffner. "They had the ability to understand our offensive attack and were mobile enough to get to different positions to throw. They both had very good arms and a very good understanding of the offense. They both had leadership and ability to make plays sometimes when there wasn't anything there."
"They were just real competitive, athletic, smart and good-thinking quarterbacks which fit any offense and it certainly fit ours as well."
When it comes to statistics, no one in Patriot League history can touch Randolph. And it's not even close. Holy Cross' starting quarterback from 2006-09, Randolph threw for 13,455 yards in his career, more than 3,500 more than any other player in League history. He also holds League records for completions (1,131), attempts (1,786), passing touchdowns (117), total offense (14,240) and touchdowns responsible for (133), ranking among the best in FCS history in every category. Randolph earned three straight Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year awards from 2007-09, and became known as one of the top quarterbacks in the country by earning All-America honors as a senior.
Most importantly, it was Randolph that was under center for the re-birth of Holy Cross football. He put the Crusaders on the cusp of the Patriot League title in his first three seasons, then played brilliantly again as a senior to help his team to the championship. Randolph closed his career in fitting fashion, playing an outstanding final game as the Crusaders were edged, 38-28, in the first round of the FCS playoffs at eventual national champion Villanova.