Sept. 12, 2011
WASHINGTON - WASHINGTON - On the night prior to the Georgetown University football team's dramatic 14-13 victory over Lafayette College, President John J. DeGioia hosted the team, coaches, as well as the family of Joe Eacobacci and several former No. 35 jersey recipients for a dinner and ceremony at Copley Hall to commemorate Joe's life and his impact on the Georgetown football program.
Eacobacci, who was an energy trader at Cantor-Fitzgerald, headquartered on the 105th floor of the South Tower at the World Trade Center lost his life on September 11, 2001. Though with help from his family and the Georgetown football coaching staff, including Eacobacci's teammate and current Defensive Coordinator Rob Sgarlata, the No. 35 jersey has served as a living memorial embodying the intensity, toughness, passion, determination and character that Joe lived by.
Returning to the Hilltop to take part in the ceremony was the first No. 35 jersey recipient Matt Fronczke (C'04), the 2008 recipient Nick Umar (B '09) and the 2009 recipient Robert Lane (B '11) along with current No. 35 jersey honoree senior safety Wayne Heimuli (Euless, Texas/Trinity).
President DeGioia addressed the attendees, welcoming the Eacobacci family and former No. 35 jersey recipients back to the Hilltop. Head Coach Kevin Kelly followed, talking about Eacobacci's legacy and impact on the program and how his values are still very much alive within the football program.
Following dinner, President DeGioia introduced an emotional tribute video, highlighting Eacobacci and the seven former No. 35 jersey recipients, full of game highlights and quotes from the former players the honor of being selected to wear the No. 35.
Joe's older brother, Tom, addressed the team for the first time since weeks following the tragedy in September 2001. He talked to the team about life and how he hoped for a better result on the field than the last time he spoke to the team. President DeGioia closed out the evening before the current Hoyas had a chance to speak to the former No. 35 jersey recipients and the Eacobacci family following the dinner.
"Coming in and seeing all of the former No. 35's and meeting Joe Eacobacci's family and former teammates was great," Heimuli said following the dinner. "It was emotional. I got to meet a lot of the guys that played with Joe and all of them told me the same thing, great guy, great character, great player. Everything they said about him makes me want to live up to that standard and represent him well and do as he would have done."