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Grateful Alumnus Steps Up in support of Kerry Blues Football

As the new season starts for the storied Kerry Blues Jr. and Sr. football teams, St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) alumnus Adrian Rocca ’00 has stepped forward with a major donation to the programme.

Adrian Rocca, SMCS and Kerry Blues football alumnus

“I’ve always wanted to give back to SMCS, including the Kerry Blues football programme,” says Rocca, a former Kerry Blue who played from 1995 to 2000.

The major gift will be used for non-budgetary items and will directly impact the players and their experience participating in the programme for years to come.

“I hope the donation illustrates how meaningful the programme is to all the alumni who have worn the double blue jersey,” says Rocca. “I want to help rejuvenate the very proud programme and bring back its success.”

SMCS debuted its first high school football team in 1927. The team’s name, Kerry Blues came later in 1953 when the St. Michael’s Quarterback Club sponsored a contest with the purpose of re-naming the high school football team. The name had to incorporate the ideas of ‘Irish’, ‘fight’, and ‘blue’. A city-wide contest resulted in the winning nickname ‘Kerry Blues’, after the Kerry Blue Terrier, the national dog of Ireland known for its blue coat and tremendous courage.

“Looking back at the critical steps in my upbringing, St. Michael’s and the Kerry Blues played major roles,” says Rocca.

“The friendships are what had the biggest impact on me. The guys I played with are still my closest friends today,” he says adding that another fond memory was winning the 1998 Metro Bowl at the SkyDome (now the Rogers Centre). “It was such a strong, skilled team. Three players went on to play in the CFL, one to the NFL, and 20 went on to play on their university teams.”

The 1998 victory was the school’s second time winning the annual Metro Bowl Championship. In total, the SMCS football programme has taken home the championship title seven times.

SMCS alumnus, Adrian Rocca and high school football team
Adrian Rocca (second from the right) with his friends at SMCS.

“Football is a special sport in that it allows student-athletes of differing sizes, skill sets, and positional responsibilities to work together towards a common goal,” says Alex Frescura ’92, SMCS Director of Athletics. “Most Kerry Blues alumni can think back to lessons learned on the field and the direct translation to their professional lives. This gift will help the school continue this strong tradition for current and future student-athletes.”

In the 2021-22 academic year, after a year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Jr. Kerry Blues had an undefeated season that finished with a CISAA championship title. The 2022 season began on August 29 with the Jr. and Sr. teams attending their annual training camp at SMCS.

SMCS Jr. Kerry Blues football team winning 2022 CISAA
The Jr. Kerry Blues high school football team after their 2021-22 CISAA championship victory.

“We would like to thank Adrian for this gift to the football programme, and we owe him a special debt of gratitude. The benefit of this donation has already been felt on the football field and in the lives of our current student-athletes,” says Daniel Lumsden ’96, Community Engagement and Learning Lead and football coach at SMCS. “This shows the strong alumni support that we have here at the school. Together, and with their support, we continue to create positive experiences and opportunities for current and future student-athletes.”

Rocca adds, “It’s important to look back at the support you received in the past and recognize it as well as acknowledge the experiences that helped shape you into the man and person you are today. Then pay it forward to the next generation so that they also have the opportunity for similar experiences.”

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