Chief Sports Editor
On October 14, Athletics Director Nate Pine announced the firing of Head Football Coach Tom Gilmore, effective immediately. Gilmore was hired right before the 2004 season and spent 14 years as head coach of the Crusaders. During his tenure at Holy Cross, the team sported an overall record of 72-81 with a 41-39 mark in Patriot League play. “These are never pleasant decisions, but ultimately I believe this is the best course of action for our student-athletes and for the success of our football program moving forward,” said Pine. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tom for his tireless efforts on behalf of our student-athletes and service to the College.”
Gilmore’s best season at Holy Cross was undoubtedly the 2009 season, when he led the Crusaders to their first Patriot League title in 18 years. The ‘09 ‘Saders (who were ranked 13th at the time) narrowly defeated No. 20, Lafayette, 28-26 at Fitton Field to claim the League Championship, helping them advance to the NCAA playoffs for only the second time in school history.
Although 2009 was a gigantic achievement for the program, in recent years, Gilmore had failed to recreate this success. In the past five years, Holy Cross has had only one winning season: They were 6-5 in 2015. More importantly, the team was coming off four straight losses at the time of Gilmore’s firing, including a 32-0 defeat at the hands of Yale, which turned out to be his last game at the helm.
Gilmore was relieved of his coaching duties the Sunday morning after the Yale loss. Pine delivered the news to the rest of the team. “It wasn’t easy to deliver and it wasn’t easy for them to hear,” Pine told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “They probably would have liked it to be different, but they understood we’re doing what we think is in the best interest of the program and I think hopefully this can be a spark. They understood that, but it was a solemn room, no question.”
Although Pine has himself stated that he’s not a fan of mid-season coaching changes, he saw no other viable option. “I’ve seen our play decline and I have seen energy and enthusiasm also decline. And I think that was no more evident than in the defeat at Yale,” said Pine in the Telegram. “I do not want to see that trend continue and I thought it was important to make the change now and give us a chance to rebound down the finish line with four conference games.”
Most recently, the team lost to Colgate 45-7 last weekend. But with three Patriot League games left (Georgetown, @Fordham, @Lehigh), the Crusaders aren’t giving up hope that they can end this rollercoaster of a season on a high note. Offensive coordinator Brian Rock has taken over the interim position until the end of the year, as a national search for a new head coach has already begun. Although this season wasn’t what many had expected out of the Crusaders, the future still remains bright atop Mount Saint James.