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The University Magazine

From RIT to Super Bowl history

Coach Tom Coughlin
Coach Tom Coughlin with two prizes: RIT reunion T-shirt and Super Bowl trophy. (Photo courtesy N.Y. Giants)

More than 70 former members of the RIT football program gathered at the Radisson adjacent to the RIT campus on Superbowl Sunday this year.

They included players and assistant coaches, athletic trainers and cheerleaders. They came from Texas, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Ohio and all over New York to watch their former coach, Tom Coughlin, reach the pinnacle of the football world.

Coughlin, coach of the New York Giants, led his team to a 17-14 victory over New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

“We all went crazy. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place,” says Mark McCabe ’75 (criminal justice), who played linebacker and defensive end for Coughlin from 1972-1973. “We all looked at each other and said, ‘From RIT to the Super Bowl.’ We were the team that he started with and we were there to celebrate it together.”

Coughlin’s RIT connection made national news in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. It was featured in newspapers such as The New York Times, Newsday and Chicago Tribune.

The day before the game, word of the RIT reunion reached Coughlin in Arizona. He took the time to answer a question about the reunion that was posed to him through a team spokesman.

Coughlin was “really touched by this,” the spokesman told the Middletown, N.Y., Times Herald-Record. “Those guys played the game in its purest form,” Coughlin told him. “It was club ball going to varsity. To think that they learned some life lessons that they still practice and are passing along to the children means a lot to me. That was a special group of young men who loved the game for the game.”