Article by Sharon Rice | Additional Reporting by Basir Jamil | Owl Staff
If you have ever been to a Baltimore Ravens football game, you have seen and felt the excitement from the tens of thousands of fans all around you. The swarm of purple and black everywhere and the sounds of people cheering at the top of their lungs gets the adrenaline pumping when the Ravens are about to score the winning touchdown.
Well, imagine if you could experience a moment like that at Harford Community College once again. It may be surprising to know that from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, HCC actually had a football team. At one point, the team was coached by Richard Fordyce, who is currently the Associate Professor of Health and Physical Education at HCC. Harford’s football program lasted 21 years and was revoked in 1985.
“The program started in 1965, the second year the college was on this campus,” explains Coach Fordyce, who served as Head Coach from 1973 to 1985. “President Al O’Connell started the program in an effort to try to recruit students” to the school. The team started with only about 15 players who were first coached by Jack Carl. The most notable player from Harford’s football program was Randy McMillan, from North Harford High School who led the team to back- to-back undefeated seasons in 1977 and 1978.
After his time at Harford, McMillan was heavily recruited, and went on to play at University of Pittsburg before being drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the 12th overall selection in the 1981 Draft. After McMillan left, the team had the opportunity to play in the NJCAA National Championship in 1983 and 1984, before folding in 1985.
After learning this information some of you may wonder why the football team folded. Football is an All-American sport that most cannot help but admire. Why not aim to bring it back, not only for the fans who love the sport, but also for students coming to Harford who were passionate about football in high school?
After playing football in high school, students who plan to attend HCC would have the opportunity to showcase their talent on the field, while preparing for a football career after HCC. Aaron Noble, an Aberdeen High School football player who plans to attend HCC says, “A football team at Harford would help me to improve my skill and prepare me for my football career.”
Adds Coach Fordyce, “By and large, a lot of kids benefited from that program and had a good experience here and moved on and played college football.”
Bringing a football team to Harford would build team spirit, while bringing the community together. Students, parents, and alumni would have the opportunity to support a local team. Alumni Rachel Ezell attended HCC when they had a football team. She shares, “I would support bringing a football team back to the college. It would attract more students and it could provide scholarship opportunities for deserving students. Overall, it would be good for the community.”
Former Fallston high school football player and current General Studies student Corey Baylor says, “A football team would benefit the student body; it’s a popular sport with potential to boost student enrollment.”
HCC Athletic Director Ken Krsolovic explains that due to funding, there are not any junior colleges in our area who have a football program. He adds, “Chances are slim” that there will ever be a team here at Harford; however, “never say never, the ground may turn over time.”
We may not have a football team currently, but it is possible that one day the Harford Fighting Owls will be back on that plush green turf giving Harford County something to gather and cheer about, and maybe we can inspire other community colleges in our area to do the same.