Sport Management Student Kevin Rossi Examines the History of Drexel Football
February 27, 2014
Why doesn’t Drexel University have a football team? This is a question that routinely comes up in conversation on campus among faculty, students, parents and alumni. Most people don’t know the history of Drexel football, the reasons behind the decision to cut the program, or why it has remained dormant for the past 40 years. That question now has an answer after Kevin Rossi, sport management ‘14 decided he wanted to research and write about the history of Drexel football.
Rossi, a sports reporter for The Triangle, Drexel’s student newspaper, pitched the idea to his editor and he loved the idea. “Luckily, the sports editor was kind enough to allow me to write without a word count, and when he saw the length of the final copy, we decided to split the story into three-parts for the purpose of the print issue,” said Rossi.
The process of researching the article began with University archivist, Rob Sieczkiewicz. In the archives, Rossi found football-related material including old issues of The Triangle, press releases and photographs. “Reading through old issues of The Triangle was probably the most important piece to the whole story because they had all of the reactions from players, coaches and administration all there,” said Rossi.
There was also assistance from Director of Athletics Eric Zillmer, PhD and Pat Joy 66’, former managing editor of The Triangle. Zillmer provided the current’s administration’s position on football and the challenges of reinstituting the program. Joy was able to provide a historical sense of how football was a part of campus life.
Going into the process, Rossi knew that speaking with former Drexel football players themselves would be important. “The most crucial interviews, Steve Spagnolo and Barry Cole, came to fruition when Spagnolo actually reached out to The Triangle's editor unbeknownst to me right around when I pitched the story. Cole happened to be a good friend of Spagnolo, so after a bit of email communication, the three of us met for lunch and the rest is in the pages,” said Rossi.
For Rossi, the most rewarding aspects of writing the piece were piecing together the puzzle of what really happened and finding out the facts behind the decisions that were made.
And the reaction from the Drexel community? “The reaction from the Drexel community has really been great, much more than I thought. I think that there really is genuine interest in the question of why Drexel doesn't have football. People wanted to hear the story. They are living, breathing proof of how football burdens a university's mission in athletics, and I think that their cuts reopened the Drexel community's interest in their own football history,” said Rossi.
Rossi’s three part-series in The Triangle can be read online: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.