Former Football Player, 9/11 Victim Honored
September 13, 2011 – Georgetown football players, coaches and family members recently gathered together for a dinner to honor the memory, life and contributions of Joe Eacobacci (B’96), who died on 9/11 in the World Trade Center attacks.
Following Joe’s death, his brother, Tom Eacobacci (B’93), and football assistant head coach Rob Sgarlata (C’94), decided to annually award Joe’s No. 35 jersey to the student-athlete who most embodies Joe’s character and commitment to Georgetown and the football team.
“I cannot think of a better way to remember my brother, the commitment, love and happiness he shared with his, friends his teammates, his family than through the Joseph Eacobacci Memorial Award,” Eacobacci said this past Friday night.
President John J. DeGioia said at the dinner that the No. 35 jersey “has come to symbolize the very best of Georgetown.”
Tom Eacobacci described the award as “a gesture that allows his memory to live on year after year, but more importantly provides an opportunity for his spirit to continue to grow and develop through all of the fine young men who have worn the jersey throughout the years.”
‘Great Guy, Great Player’
This season defensive back Wayne Heimuli (C’12) is wearing the jersey. Awardees have described him as “one of the toughest kids around” from a physical and mental standpoint.
“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. “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.”
Head Football Coach Kevin Kelly read a letter from Alex Buzbee, who wore the jersey in 2006 and was later signed as an undrafted free agent for the Washington Redskins.
Buzbee said that the recipient must display great character.
“You must be a leader both on and off the field,” he said. “You are expected to compete at a very high level every Saturday while excelling in the classroom all throughout the year.”
Also returning to the Hilltop to take part in the ceremony were 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).
“Most of the players who enter our program have the goal to one day be a recipient of this prestigious award,” Kelly said.