By Shawn Proctor
Irish runners and Villanova Athletics. For more than five decades, the pairing was synonymous, resulting in medals and championships in the highest levels of collegiate and world track competition.
Yesterday Marcus O’Sullivan ’84, Villanova Men’s Track and Field Coach, and Beaudry Rae Allen ’13 MA, Preservation and Digital Archivist, discussed this era of fleet Irish feet at the talk “Irish Pipeline: Irish Athletics at Villanova,” co-sponsored by the Center for Irish Studies and Falvey Memorial Library.
In all, this pipeline of talent, beginning in 1948, included all 50 states and 715 athletes, and was a benefit to both scholar-athletes and the programs they joined. Dig deeper into this storied tradition with these resources:
- Ian O’Riordan. “How US scholarships won over Irish athletics; For many years the American scholarship trail was signposted as the only way for Irish athletes to succeed in the sport.” The Irish Times. April 27, 2020 Monday. https://advance-lexis-com.ezp1.villanova.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:5YS6-4MV1-DYS1-037W-00000-00&context=1516831.
Excerpt: “The Pipeline, as the American scholarship trail was originally known, soon spread far beyond Villanova University, the small rural-like campus 12 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Villanova, however, is where the connection still runs strongest.”
- Christopher Graziano. “Track Record of Excellence: More than ever, Villanova is a destination school for the world’s finest student-athletes in track and field”. Villanova Magazine. Spring 2016. https://www1.villanova.edu/content/dam/villanova/ucomm/documents/VM_Spring2016.pdf.
Excerpt: “Wildcats also have vaulted to glory in global competitions, including at least one Villanova Track and Field Olympian in every Summer Olympics since 1948. Beginning with the 1956 Summer Games…Villanovans have won 11 gold and silver medals in track and field events.”
- “George Guida, 93; Track Star Was Key to ’Nova’s ‘Irish Pipeline.’” Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), 2015. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezp1.villanova.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgov&AN=edsgcl.428634855.
- Irish Studies Resource Guide: https://library.villanova.edu/research/subject-guides/global-interdisciplinary-studies/irish-studies.