Holy Cross Scholar-Athletes Follow in the Footsteps of Athletic Hall of Fame Relatives

From the golf course to the softball field to the football stadium, these second-generation Crusaders live up to their family name
October 5th, 2017 by 

Maxine Harney '18, Mike McCaffrey '18, Allie Smiley '20, Megan Swords '20 and Gabby Muniz '18 pose in front of the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame wall inside the Hart Center at The Luth Athletic Complex.
Maxine Harney '18, Mike McCaffrey '18, Allie Smiley '20, Megan Swords '20 and Gabby Muniz '18 pose in front of the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame wall inside the Hart Center at The Luth Athletic Complex. Photo by Tom Rettig

At Holy Cross, scholar-athletes represent a strong tradition of excellence, and nowhere is this more evident than in the College’s athletic legacy families, where dual passions for athletics and alma mater often reach back generations. In a student body where approximately 25 percent of the campus population participates in varsity athletics, it is not uncommon to meet student-athletes whose parents or grandparents have donned the Crusader uniform before them.

Such is the case with the five scholar-athletes profiled here each of whom boasts not only a family member who played for the school, but one who has also been inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame. These achievements are a source of great pride for the students and a measure of the rich sporting tradition that Holy Cross has long enjoyed, something that makes Director of Athletics Nathan Pine justifiably proud.

“Our student-athletes commit tremendous time, effort and energy to succeeding within their sport while also upholding the College’s rigorous academic expectations,” says Pine. “Many of our students are first introduced to Holy Cross through athletics, and we are proud that the Crusader tradition is passed down through the generations of so many families.”

Meet five students who proudly carry their family name, as well as that of Holy Cross, onto the fields of competition.

Maxine Harney ’18

Maxine Harney ’18 and her grandfather Paul Harney '52 showcase a similar driving style.

Maxine Harney ’18 and her grandfather Paul Harney ’52 showcase a similar driving style. Photos courtesy Holy Cross Athletics and Archives

As a freshman, golfer Maxine Harney was the only first-year on the team representing Holy Cross at the Patriot League Championship. “It’s typically all upper-class students – gaining a spot is usually something you work up to, so I was honored to be included,” says Harney.

Now a senior, Harney remains delighted that she has the opportunity to represent Holy Cross in a sport so intimately linked with her family name. Her grandfather, Paul Harney ’52, was captain of the College’s golf team and went on to play on the PGA Tour, travelling full time from 1955 to 1962 and part time from 1963 to 1973 and landing four top-eight finishes at The Masters in the 1960s. He was inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1963.

Paul Harney passed away in 2011 before having the opportunity to see his granddaughter play, a source of great disappointment for Maxine. “I didn’t start playing golf competitively until my sophomore year in high school, and by that time my grandfather was ill. It’s one of the biggest regrets of my golf career that he was never able to watch me compete.”

Harney is nevertheless thrilled to carry on his legacy. “It’s an incredible privilege to be able to represent Holy Cross in this way. It means more than I can say to carry the Harney name with pride.”

Mike McCaffrey ’18

 Jim McCaffrey '86 and his son, Mike McCaffrey '18, both evade the competition in their efforts to score.

Jim McCaffrey ’86 and his son, Mike McCaffrey ’18, both evade the competition in their efforts to score. Photos courtesy Holy Cross Athletics and Archives

When Mike McCaffrey began applying to colleges, Holy Cross was high on his list. The alma mater of both his father, Jim ’86, and mother, Gina ’84, the campus was familiar territory. “Knowing that my dad played basketball at Holy Cross really helped me to connect during the recruitment process,” says McCaffrey. “He and I relate on many levels about sports, and he’s been a great mentor to me.”

A defensive back on the Crusader football team, McCaffrey admits that friendly competition is a way of life in his house. “My older siblings both played sports as students at Boston College – my sister Stephanie played soccer and my brother James played football.”

It was on the basketball court, however, that father Jim distinguished himself. He was inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1992 and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. “A lot of purple blood runs through the McCaffrey family,” says Holy Cross head football coach Tom Gilmore with a chuckle. “They’re a very athletic and competitive family, and they’re Holy Cross through and through.”

As a player, Mike brings this intensity to every game, Gilmore continues. “He’s a very determined guy – he’s focused as a student and as an athlete.” Gilmore is quick to add, however, that although McCaffrey is very serious about his sport, he doesn’t take himself seriously. “Mike is very down-to-earth. He’s one of the most popular guys on the team.”

Gabby Muniz ’18

Matt Muniz '87 and his daughter, Gabby Muniz '18

With the captain’s “C” on his jersey for two years, Matt Muniz ’87 was one of Holy Cross ice hockey’s all-time scorers. Now his daughter, Gabby Muniz ’18, is lighting it up on the softball field. Photos courtesy Holy Cross Athletics and Archives

Gabby Muniz admits that when she first arrived at Holy Cross, she was a little nervous about following in the footsteps of her father, Matt, a member of the class of 1987 and a well-known hockey player who was inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 2005. “His accomplishments are extraordinary,” she asserts, “but Holy Cross is my experience now.”

It is the College’s strong athletics tradition, Muniz says, that has enabled her to create her own memories, while also celebrating her father’s triumphs. “I can’t say enough about how supportive the Holy Cross Athletics community is.”

An outfielder on the Crusader softball team, Muniz says her teammates are like family. “I came to Holy Cross first and foremost because of its outstanding academic reputation, but after I graduate, it’s all the experiences I’ve shared with my teammates that I’ll remember most.”

Matt Muniz is delighted that his daughter is at Holy Cross; attending the College is practically a family tradition, he notes. “It’s not just Gabby and me,” says Muniz. “Nine other family members have attended Holy Cross as well.”

But he insists it was her choice. “It’s great to be back on The Hill, but our priority was to have Gabby attend a great school. Fortunately, at Holy Cross she can get a first-rate education and participate in a wonderful sporting tradition as well.”

Allie Smiley ’20

 Allie Smiley '20 bolts her way down the track; her late grandfather, Arthur Andreoli '58, was a basketball star

Focused on the finish line, Allie Smiley ’20 bolts her way down the track. Her late grandfather, Arthur Andreoli ’58, was a basketball star who notched 737 points and 277 rebounds over the course of his college career. Photos courtesy Holy Cross Athletics and Archives

For sophomore Allie Smiley, Holy Cross felt like home long before she became a student. The campus was a familiar haunt for the Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, native throughout her childhood. She visited frequently with her mother, Elizabeth ’86, and father, Mark ’87, as well as with her grandfather, Arthur Andreoli, a member of the class of 1958 and a 2009 inductee into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame.

“My grandfather played basketball for Holy Cross and was a devoted supporter of the school for his entire life. Although he passed away before I started college, being able to share this connection with him is still very special,” says Smiley.

She says she shares another connection with her grandfather — an intensely competitive streak that the Crusader track and field runner says has been with her since childhood. “I give 110 percent every single day, whether in practice or in meets, and that’s a work ethic I learned from my family.”

Not that going all in for her team is difficult, says Smiley — she’s simply mirroring the dedication and commitment exhibited by teammates and coaches. “I absolutely love being a student-athlete at Holy Cross. My teammates are happy, supportive and goofy, just like me, and our coaches are incredible. They do everything they can to help us succeed.”

Megan Swords ’20

Megan Swords '20 takes the court for the Crusaders, and, 35 years prior, her father, Kevin Swords '82, took to the rugby pitch

Megan Swords ’20 takes the court for the Crusaders, and, 35 years prior, her father, Kevin Swords ’82, took to the rugby pitch. He is the only rugby player to be inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame. Photos courtesy Holy Cross Athletics and Archives

For Megan Swords, Holy Cross is a family affair. Her father Kevin is a graduate, class of 1982, as are a host of uncles, grandfathers and cousins. But the Swords family doesn’t stop there — the 6-foot-3-inch sophomore views the members of the Crusaders women’s basketball team as kin, too.

“Being away from home and adjusting to a new environment was tough, but the team feels like family, which made it much easier to make the transition.”

As a student-athlete, Swords is constantly challenged to balance her studies with the demands of her sport. “Playing varsity is like having a full-time job, even in the offseason,” observes her father. “The commitment is profound.”

The younger Swords admits that her commitment extends beyond the school year. “I’m in the gym at 6:30 every morning for weight training year-round,” she says.

Her father, a 2002 inductee to the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame, couldn’t be prouder. “Meg has it much harder than I did, and I’m very impressed with the way she’s handling everything. I played rugby as a club sport at Holy Cross, so the demands on my time were much less,” says Swords. “Meg’s done a great job balancing school and her sport – she keeps her head and maintains a positive outlook.”

Kevin is especially pleased with the way his daughter has handled the ACL tear that benched her for the second half of her first-year season. “She’s shown great mental toughness coming back from that injury; her attitude makes her mother and me very proud.”

The respect runs both ways. “I think it’s really cool that my dad played a sport here at Holy Cross,” says Swords. “I always try to play at a level that would make him proud.”


Written by Lori Ferguson for the Fall 2017 issue of Holy Cross Magazine.

About Holy Cross Magazine

Holy Cross Magazine (HCM) is the quarterly alumni publication of the College of the Holy Cross. The award-winning publication is mailed to alumni and friends of the College and includes intriguing profiles, make-you-think features, alumni news, exclusive photos and more. Visit magazine.holycross.edu/about to contact HCM, submit alumni class notes, milestones, or letters to the editor.

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