Founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, Providence Rhode Island is filled with rich history. The small city 170,000 people call home is both old and modern. With institutions like Brown and RISD it’s hard not to get caught up in how intellectual the city is. Don’t let this swanky city fool you though. Providence is a basketball town.
The Providence Friars, currently 6-4 in the Big East, make the the city of Providence their beloved home. The Friars play at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, commonly referred to as The Dunk by locals. Since 1972, The Dunk, located in downtown Providence, has been the home of the Friars. Many great players have played in the small 14,000 seat arena and millions of fans have flocked to see their beloved Friars.
The Friars mark on the Big East is a lot greater than most people think. The conference was founded by legendary Friars coach, Dave Gavitt, in 1979. Gavitt lead the Friar’s to 8 straight postseason births in the 80’s and lead his team to the Final Four in 1973. The Big East honor’s the legendary coach every year during the Gavitt Games, which is named after the conference’s creator.
After the Gavitt era, hall of fame coach Rick Pitino took over as head coach. Pitino brought the Friars to the Final Four in 1987. Lead by now Oklahoma City Thunder head coach, Billy Donovan, the Friars made it to their second Final Four in school history. The Friars ended up to Syracuse which ended the Pitino era in Providence.
Providence has seen its fair share of great players. Ernie DiGregorio, Lenny Wilkins, God Shammgod, Kris Dunn and Marvin Barnes all played for the Friars. Even former Boston mayor, Ray Flynn, played for the Friars in the 60’s.
In recent years the Friars have been a force in the Big East. Led by head coach Ed Cooley who took over the team in March of 2011, the Friars have made it to the NCAA tournament four years in a row. In 2014 the Friars, led by Bryce Cotton, won the Big East Tournament which was a tremendous accomplishment.
Cooley has been a perfect fit for Providence, after all, he is from the city. The 48 year old head coach is adored by both players and fans. Cooley’s teams have almost perfected the flex offense which is part of the reason why they have been so successful in recent years.
This year the Friars have seen a lot of success with a 15-8 overall record and a 6-4 record in conference play. The Friars have defeated top teams like Creighton and Xavier and are looking to head to their fifth straight NCAA Tournament. Led by seniors Jalen Lindsey, Kyron Cartwright and Rodney Bullock along with Alpha Diallo and Isaiah Jackson, the Friars are a force to be reckoned with as we approach the Big East tournament.
The success of the Friars has strengthened their fanbase. The Friars have given their diehard fans a product to be proud of. Thousands of fans continue to pack The Dunk every time they hit the court.
Which is why Providence, is a basketball town.