Cavanaugh Makes Hall of Fame
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
After spending 29 years on the Southern sideline through 2013, former head football coach Rich Cavanaugh will be recognized in this year’s Southern Athletic Hall of Fame in June.
“I’m very honored to be selected,” Cavanaugh said. “I feel very privileged to be inducted with some outstanding men and women. I’m deeply honored and overjoyed.”
Cavanaugh spent a total of 32 years working at Jess Dow Field and he said he met “a lot of outstanding people” that he has maintained friendships with.
“29 years as the head coach; it’s quite an incredible number. It’s a job that’s very difficult,” current head football coach Tom Godek said. “For him to do that for that many years, and at the winning pace he did it at, is remarkable.”
Godek said him and Cavanaugh speak about once a week during the season and he has a lot of respect for his former head coach.
“I appreciate what I learn from him. As a coach it’s great but it’s good to know that he’s a friend, too,” Godek said. “It’s not always about football.”
In the eighties, Godek played for Cavanaugh as a student-athlete here and then spent time as the team’s offensive coordinator.
“I’m really happy that Jay [Moran] had the foresight to bring [the Hall of Fame] back. There’s certainly a lot of people out there and it’s important,” Cavanaugh said. “There’s a number of quality candidates that’ll hopefully get in one day.”
This year’s inductees also include women’s basketball head coach Kate Lynch, Jeff Stoutland and the 1990 men’s soccer team that was coached by present-day UConn head coach Ray Reid.
“[Cavanaugh] has good relationships with guys from the eighties, nineties and 2000s and there’s people that he’s just as close to as myself,” Godek said.
As for next year’s team that’s currently training and held their spring game last week, Godek said they’re “trying to create competition in all areas.”
“We broke the team into four different groups and we had four different teams within the team,” he said. “Now that spring practice has ended we move into the summer phase.”
Former Owl John Moscatel appeared in The Spring League this year, the same league which featured former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel.
“It’s another opportunity to showcase yourself in an actual football setting,” Godek said. “You never want to give up on that football dream.”
Next year’s squad will be without stars in quarterback Ray Catapano, wide receivers Shaquan Hall and Isaiah Dockett and linebacker Michael Cerisano. They return 21 juniors, 12 sophomores and 36 freshmen and lose 12 seniors to graduation.
The 2018 campaign will begin Aug. 30 with Gannon and a new athlete under center in either Matt Sanzaro, Brian McNeill or Matt Sapere.
And going into the new year, Godek believes there’s been a bit of a culture change behind the program.
He said “kids have brought up grades left and right” and have spent their time wisely in the weight room, classroom and in community service efforts.
Photo Credit: southernctowls.com