PROVIDENCE (WPRI) — After a historic season for the PC men’s hoops team making it to the Sweet Sixteen, there was a big buzz around this year’s Friends of Friar Basketball reunion. On top of the program’s continued success, Friar legends were welcomed back to Providence for a highly-anticipated coaches round table.
“This is being at the family dinner table, I don’t need to introduce legends, that’s what we have here today,” said NBA broadcaster and PC alum, Doris Burke.
Pete Gillen, Tim Welsh, Ed Cooley, Rick Barnes, Doris Burke, Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan all reminiscing at the old stomping grounds.
“It’s amazing, a small school like this, just the legacy and history of basketball,” said Billy Donovan, the Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls (who also led PC to the Final Four in 1987).
The “Friar Family” is unique.
“They don’t have the closeness that we have,” said Rick Pitino, former head coach at PC, now leading the men’s program at Iona. “The fans here, the people supporting the program, the town. I was getting the greatest kick out of watching Providence on TV and they’re singing Taylor Swift songs, and every seat is filled.”
Current PC players were at the event, and saw the importance of the special bond.
“I think it gives them a taste, and a window to see what the possibilities are,” said PC head coach Ed Cooley. “It wasn’t about the wins, it wasn’t about the losses but it was about the connectiveness of everybody and how close everyone is, and it went back decades. “
Coach Cooley left the audience with a few statements, but had a silver lining.
“We have friends, we have donors, we have supporters, but we have family here and that means everything to me,” said Cooley.
The event runs through Saturday, where there will be golf tournament to cap off a special three days for former Friars.