Hoya Forever

February 8, 2006

Twenty-four years ago, the Hoyas were headed for basketball immortality behind the torch-hot shooting of guard Sleepy Floyd and the inside dominance of freshman phenom Patrick Ewing. Hoya Fever was rampant and we all became afflicted with the incurable epidemic. The legendary markers from the 1982 season finale in New Orleans are still hardwired onto our memory chips: Bourbon Street; the SuperDome; the coaching match-up; the goaltending rejections; the shot; the pass; the hug.




In the midst of that buildup to one of the greatest championship games ever, Jack Hagerty, a Hoya sports legend and administrator of an earlier generation, quietly passed away. So quietly in fact that most, including myself, did not learn of his death until much later. Even today, I am saddened that virtually of all the then-current Georgetown athletics staff, senior University officials, and many Hoya fans were out of town for his funeral mass, presided at by Fr. Brian McGrath, S.J. In the mania and preparation that surrounded our first final four weekend, the opportunity never presented itself to give homage and pay respects to this gentleman of Georgetown, who had competed so well as a student on the Hilltop and then spent his entire professional life here as well.

I recount this story now because at Georgetown, in our ongoing efforts to build community, we regularly come together to recognize and celebrate accomplishment. Last weekend, there was so much of this celebration taking place on campus that it was quite impossible to take it all in. Still we cannot fail to pause now and give honor to a fallen Georgetown gentleman.

Alumni leader Charlie Fazio,
son of Georgetown
Last Friday evening, Charles R. Fazio C'57, an alumni leader for over two decades, died in our midst. While mastering the ceremonies at an on-campus dinner to recognize alumni leaders for their service, Charlie's heart gave out, doing what he loved, at the school he loved, with the people he loved, his wife Carolyn and many close friends in attendance.

I first met Charlie twenty-five years ago when I started working at the Alumni Association. He was a grad of Brooklyn Prep and had himself worked for Georgetown after graduation. The Association was about to undertake a major initiative to create a reunion-giving program as was common among our Ivy League brethren. Charlie, about to celebrate his own silver jubilee reunion, was handpicked by one of my colleagues as the right person to lead this effort. Today, we would describe his selection this way, "He gets it!"

From that leadership post, he progressed to chair of the annual fund, to president of the Alumni Association, to emeritus status on the Board of Governors. As is evident from his demise, Charlie never retired from Georgetown service. He stayed active and involved to the end.

Less than a year ago, I wrote to Charlie to tell him of the loss of a Hoya basketball alum, who had attended Georgetown with him. He wrote back: `Thanks Pat!! I knew and served with him on THE HOYA and at WGTB where I was Program Director for two years. In addition to an excellent jump shot, he was a fabulous guy and a wonderful human being. He left us too early." I can't speak to the jump shot, but Charlie could have been writing his own epitaph.

Those whom Charlie inspired will continue to celebrate accomplishment and to build community here at Georgetown. He was such a natural at it. In fact, with his Hoya boots on, Charlie died doing exactly that. Requiescat in pace.



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