By Adam Levine
Asst. Sports Editor
This 2022 season, Framingham State celebrates 50 years since the founding of the football team at the University.
Friends, family, players, alumni, and coaches were all invited to gather together for an evening commemorating the success of the team throughout the years.
There were approximately 165 alumni in attendance at the event, along with the five current team captains - Cully Curran, Isaiah Hanks, Brian Callery, Jack Canney, and Nick Ashley.
In 1972, Framingham State University started the football program under the team’s first head coach, Dennis Golden.
Three years prior, in 1969, Golden said he “was invited to be interviewed for the first dean of students position ever in the history of the college.”
After accepting the position, Golden began work on July 1, 1969, while also attending Boston College for his doctorate degree starting in 1970.
In 1972, Steve Ryder, the athletic director at the time, told Golden that the athletic council voted to start a football program and asked him to take the head coach position.
Golden was skeptical that President D. Justin McCarthy would allow him to be a dean of students and a head football coach at the same time.
Ryder informed him not only had McCarthy already allowed it, but he said, “If you don’t do it, we’re not going to have football.”
Golden held the head football coach position from 1972 to 1981, and went undefeated for his first season. He had a record of 47 wins and 36 losses.
He was happy to see players and coaches dating back to his first season with the program at the event. He also made time to acknowledge the team’s current captains and their importance to the program’s legacy.
Curran, one of the current captains, joined the Rams football program in 2019 when he came to Framingham State his freshman year. As a senior this season, he plays safety on the defensive unit.
He described how great it felt to be a part of the historic 50th season of the program. He said he is looking forward to being able to “carry on the tradition that they have here and build on it.”
After their victory over Mass. Maritime earlier in the day, Curran met alumni and also caught up with former teammates from his early years on the team.
He said he was most looking forward to talking with older alumni during the celebration. He added he wanted to “learn more about the history that they have with the program.”
This seemed to be the common theme of the night. Many alumni were reconnecting and sharing stories, but the comradery could be seen when the alumni met with players from generations after them.
Tom Kelley, the Rams’ current head coach, called the anniversary celebration a “joyous occasion” for him.
As a 17-year-old freshman, Kelley played on the first team of the Rams’ football program.
He has been involved with the football program since 1972. Even during a brief two-year hiatus, Kelley was still involved with recruiting.
Kelley summed up the evening, saying it was filled with “overwhelming emotions.” He said he was so happy to see everyone reunite for the celebration.
Mark Vajcovec, a 1976 alumnus, joined the team the first year the program began.
He said, “The best memory that would stick with me today was how, as a first team member, we went 5-0.”
Coming together at the celebration, Rams players of all generations praised the program dating back to its beginnings with Golden as head coach.
Vajcovec said Golden “was a leader beyond leaders. We all learned how to become a team.”