Tonight, as the football team hosts Harvard under the lights for its home opener at Brown Stadium, the Bears strive to both look to the future and commemorate the past. Bruno has not won an Ivy League game in 677 long days, but Head Coach Phil Estes is optimistic about the upcoming season, which features nine more contests after the team played California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, last weekend.
Estes, whose football teams won Ivy League Championships in 1999, 2005 and 2008, put much of the blame for Bruno’s losses on himself, saying that he “did a really poor job of coaching and motivating this team last year.” Through the long off-season, Estes says that he “had to make improvements with himself first, and then with the team.”
The Bears dropped the first game of their 140th season to Cal Poly last weekend, but Estes had many positive takeaways from the loss. “There are some really good things that we saw,” he said. “Michael McGovern ’21 threw the ball very well, and we made a lot of good plays out there. But we didn’t finish in the red zone, so that’s something that we’re going to work on for this game.”
Estes stressed that his squad needs to finish off scoring chances but showed confidence in his kicker if the game comes down to field goals. “Dylan Brady ’22 was three-for-three kicking field goals,” he said. “So we know that we have a weapon there.”
The game against the Crimson will be broadcast on national television. This will not be Bruno’s first time in the media spotlight — the Bears battled Dartmouth under the shadow of the Green Monster at Fenway Park last season. Entering tonight’s contest, Estes believes that the prospect of facing Harvard will motivate the team to play hard.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re playing under the lights or playing in the backyard,” he said. “It’s just a game that you’re going to get up for. … This is the time for the team to step up.”
Tonight’s game will also feature a half-time ceremony for Professor Emeritus of Engineering Barrett Hazeltine, who has been a member of Brown’s faculty since 1959. The ceremony will include a commemorative video on the Jumbotron and an announcement that the football locker room will be named in his honor.
Hazeltine “has taught and mentored generations of students,” said Athletic Director Jack Hayes. “His impact on Brown is immeasurable.”
Hayes went on to say that Hazeltine has been a partner in providing “an outstanding academic and athletic experience to students” and that “his longevity at Brown is a symbol of academic excellence, stability and a willingness to work with and teach so many students over so many years.”
Hazeltine said that he was “overwhelmed” when he learned that he would be recognized. “It’s a tremendous honor,” he said. “Surprised is not strong enough of a word for how I feel about it. I think it’s a very kind and thoughtful gesture.”
Over his long teaching career, Hazeltine has held athletes at Brown in high regard. “People who play sports at Brown tend to be remarkably decent and thoughtful and effective students,” Hazeltine said. “Something has happened on this campus that has made our athletes really good, solid citizens and good people in the classroom and people that we can look up to.”
The Bears and the Crimson will kick off tonight at Brown Stadium at 7 p.m., and Brown and Rhode Island School of Design students will receive free admission to the stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN-Universities.