From St. Xavier University football coach Mike Feminis, the marching orders were a bit out of the ordinary.
Instead of, “Play hard.” It was, “Have fun.”
Feminis and the SXU football team marched in the South Side Irish Parade on Sunday, March 11, as honored guests in recognition of the Cougars’ run to the NAIA national championship. Well, not exactly.
The Cougars were allowed to ride in a high style befitting a champion. Coaches and players climbed aboard the SXU float. The float was fifth in line as the parade stepped off at 103rd Street and Western Avenue in Chicago.
“Coach Feminis and the football team truly enjoyed being an honoree of the South Side Irish Parade,” said Robert Tenczar, vice president of university relations in a news release.
“We are so incredibly proud of our football team’s historic 2011 NAIA national championship. So, we were thrilled the parade committee would bestow such an honor to our team. This was a great way to celebrate the team’s historic accomplishment with the community while also celebrating Irish American Month.”
St. Xavier defeated six-time NAIA national champion Carroll College (Mont). 24-20 to win the title in a thriller on Dec. 17 in Rome, Ga. The victory capped the Cougars’ run to a 14-1 record and enabled St. Xavier to become the first national championship football team from Chicago since the University of Chicago last won a national title in 1913.