Crusader Collegians - 7

1985 UNO Baseballers

This 1985 photo shows Crusader baseball alumni at UNO.

UNO Baseball Alumni 1985

L-R: Brian Muller ('84), Keith Schmitt ('84), Jon Maestri ('88), son of then UNO AD and former baseball coach Ron Maestri, Tom Schwaner (A '57), UNO coach 1985-99, Nick Macaluso ('85), and David Ward ('83).
Hall of Famer
Rosario Drago 1947
Rosario Drago 1947

Rosario Drago ('48) was inducted into the Pearl River Community College Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Here is his entry on the school web site.

Drago was a 5-foot-9, 215-pound tackle out of St. Aloysius High School in New Orleans. His high school coach ["Wop" Glover] was friends with [Coach] Holden, so Drago and five of his buddies made a visit to Pearl River. Only Drago and one of his pals, Lou Campos, signed with the Wildcats.

Like most linemen in those days, Drago had to play both offense and defense. No easy task when you consider that players in that era wore helmets that had no face guards. "It was hard-nosed football," Drago said. "I broke my nose about nine times."

Drago, who still resides in New Orleans and works as an independent appraiser, has many fond memories of his days at Pearl River. One of those was the Memorial Bowl game in Jackson, which saw the Wildcats upset nationally-ranked Lamar (Texas) Junior College 21-20.

Rosario also attended Texas Western College (now UTEP). He and his wife Mona had a son and three daughters. Mona died in 1999. Rosario is now retired and living in River Ridge.

Campos played football and baseball for Southeastern Louisiana in 1951-2. Like Rosario, Lou went to El Paso, but he stayed. He was selected to the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame as a coach. Lou continues to work for the Ysleta Independent School District as a Computer Lab teacher.
Lou Campos 1947
Lou Campos 1947
1987 Gridders - I

DE Tommy Clapp, LSU
Tommy Clapp

Mike Hebert LSU
Mike Hebert

Twelve Crusaders played college football during the 1987 season. Ten of them saw post-season action.

Three grads played for LSU in the Gator Bowl against South Carolina, a 30-13 victory for Mike Archer's Tigers.

  • Tommy Clapp ('83) lettered four years (1984-5-6-7) at DE/OLB. Starting in 2009 when his son entered the 8th grade at BMHS, Tommy has helped coach the current Crusader gridders.
  • Mike Hebert ('84) played OLB where he earned three letters (1986-7-8).
  • George Henriquez ('83) lettered three times (1984-6-7) at DT/DE.

Troy Malbrough ('83) played for another Louisiana college in a different type of post-season contest.

  • Northeast Louisiana, the Southland Conference champs, won the Division I-AA national title.
  • The Monroe school defeated Northern Iowa 44-41 in double OT in the semifinals, then edged Marshall 43-42 in Pocatello ID in the final.
  • Troy earned four monograms (1984-5-6-7) at LB for the Indians (now the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks).

To be continued ...

George Henriquez, LSU
George Henriquez

Troy Malbrough, NELA
Troy Malbrough

1987 Gridders - II

Warde Manuel, Michigan

Rod West, Notre Dame

Twelve Crusaders played college football during the 1987 season. Ten of them saw post-season action. Four were featured in Part I. Here are the rest.

  • Warde Manuel ('86) played DT for Michigan, which went to the Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa against Alabama. Warde lettered in 1987 and 1988 before a shoulder injury derailed his football career and redirected him into athletic administration.
  • Rod West ('86), a sophomore LB, played in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas for Notre Dame against Texas A&M. Rod lettered three times for the Irish.

The Tulane roster included four Crusader grads for the Independence Bowl in Shreveport against Washington.

Additionally, two other alumni played college football that year.

Pat Stant
Pat Stant

Jon Heidenreich
Chance Miller
Chance Miller
RB Chance Miller
Chance Miller, hurdler
Hurdler Chance Miller

Chance Miller ('88) was an outstanding RB for Bob Conlin his junior and senior years. He also contributed as a hurdler for Chubby Marks.

  • Chance's best game was the 1987 opener, a 47-28 walloping of Slidell, in which he gained 201y.
  • But that wasn't even the highest total on his team as FB Erroll Sanders racked up 217 against the Tigers.
  • A third runner, Chad Larose, topped the century mark with 115.
  • The Saders amassed 568y without throwing a pass!

Miller lettered four years at Tulane despite several injury setbacks.

  • 1989: Playing FB for Coach Greg Davis, Chance gained 99 yards in the opener at Hawaii before injuring his knee. He missed the next six games after undergoing surgery but ran for 106 yards against Memphis in his second game back.
  • 1990: Chance had a big year for the Wave as his 805y rushing were the most by a Tulane runner since 1981. His 158y against archrival LSU were the most by a TU back since 1978.
  • 1991: Miller was elected a co-captain as a junior.
  • 1992: A captain again under new coach Buddy Teevens, the FB rushed for 306y despite being hampered by injuries and ended a fine career as the fifth-leading rusher in Tulane history with 2,023y.

Chance lives in Metairie and runs a building company.

Arena Named for Him

Nat G. Kiefer started high school at Cor Jesu, within walking distance of his home across Franklin Ave. After several years, he transferred to St. Aloysius, where he played C for Andy Douglass his senior year (1957-8).

Nat lettered in football at Tulane in 1960.

  • Starting in 1969, Kiefer carried a brash style into the Louisiana Senate, where he became one of Governor Edwin Edwards' most effective floor leaders.
  • Nat was instrumental in passing legislation to allocate state money to build the University of New Orleans' Lakefront Arena, which opened in 1983.
  • Kiefer died of a liver ailment at age 46 in 1985. The arena's name was changed to honor him in 1987.
  • Except for several years following Katrina, Brother Martin has conducted its graduation exercises at the Kiefer Arena since it opened.
Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena
Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena

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Tulane Football Captains

Jimmy Thibaut
Jimmy Thibaut

Eddie Bravo
Eddie Bravo

Bennie Burst
Bennie Burst

The list of Tulane football captains includes seven Crusaders.

  • HB Jimmy Thibaut ('38) captained the Green Wave in 1941 when Lowell "Red" Dawson's team finished 5-4.
  • G Bobby Nuss ('48) captained the Greenies in 1952, a 5-5 season under new coach Raymond Wolf.
  • E Eddie Bravo ('51) served as a captain for new coach Andy Pilney in 1954, a 1-6-3 campaign.
  • MG Leon Verriere ('61) co-captained the Wave in 1965 for coach Tommy Boyle.
  • DB Bennie Burst ('81) was a leader for Wally English's 3-8 1984 squad.
  • Another DB, Emmanuel "Tookie" Spann ('84), was a captain for Mack Brown in both 1986 and 1987. After going 4-7 in '86, the Green Wave posted a 6-5 regular season record the next year to earn at spot in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport.
  • RB Chance Miller ('88) functioned as captain in 1991 for Greg Davis (1-10 record) and again in 1992 for Buddy Teevens (2-9).

Chance Miller
Chance Miller

Bobby Nuss
Bobby Nuss

Leon Verriere, Tulane
Leon Verriere

Tookie Spann
Tookie Spann

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Tulane Captain

Leon Verriere '61
Leon Verriere at St. Aloysius

Leon Verriere, Tulane
Verriere at Tulane

Leon Verriere ('61) played RB at St. Aloysius. An Aloysian article on him when he was selected Senior of the Month had this to say about him.

  • "A proud look of achievement filled the face of Leon Verriere as he was told he had been chosen Senior of the Month. That same look was there before when he had been appointed one of the tri-captains this year."
  • "Leon, a senior of Room 6, intends to go to college, but is undecided as to which one he will attend ... 'Trig,' Leon says, 'is my best subject,' and he enjoys it very much."
  • "Taking his football seriously, Verriere is on the first team at the halfback position and has played top notch football on both defense and offense for the Red Knights. Leon is an excellent contender for a football scholarship to college."
  • "Leon takes an active part in the Junior-Senior Confraternity. In his sophomore year he was the secretary of that organization."

The Aloysian reporter (Thomas Gordon) hit the mark in predicting that Leon would obtain a football scholarship.

  • Verriere received a grant-in-aid from Tulane where he was moved to the line.
  • He lettered in 1963, 1964, and 1965 for the Green Wave. During this period, the NCAA eliminated all substitution restrictions, which allowed players to specialize on offense or defense.
  • Leon made all-SEC second team in 1964 at middle guard.
  • Street and Smith's Football 1965 preseason publication said: "Leon Verriere, Tulane co-captain, looms as best middle guard in conference."
  • 1965 was Tulane's last season in the SEC.

Unfortunately, Tulane's football media guide does not list Leon as one of the co-captains for 1965, a situation Leon is working to correct. He has succeeded in getting his name added to the list of Crusaders who have been football captains for the Olive Green and Blue.

Bravo, Bravo! - I



Lou Bravo 1946-7
Lou Bravo 1946-7



Lou Bravo 1947
Lou Bravo 1947

Lou Bravo ('48) and his brother Eddie ('51) both starred in football and basketball at St. Aloysius. This article will tell Lou's story.

  • Lou was cut from both the football and basketball teams his freshman year. "I was skinny," he recalled.
  • Instead, he participated in boxing and tennis. (Yes, boxing was an interscholastic sport at that time, although SA discontinued the team after Lou's freshman year because so few schools in New Orleans fielded squads.)

Heftier the next year, he escaped the cut in both JV football and basketball, advancing more quickly on the court.

  • Lou led Brother Armand's JV basketball team to the prep championship as part of a remarkable run of 12 JV titles in a row for the Crusaders.
  • Bravo's 203 points broke the JV prep record of Fortier's Bobby Piper in 1943 by 20. Lou scored a high of 30 in a 71-21 rout of Warren Easton.
  • He was selected the MVP of the Item's JV All-Prep team.

The highlight of Lou's junior year was a state championship in basketball.

  • Johnny Altobello took over as head coach following Brother Ralph's transfer to Catholic High. After the Crusaders defeated the Loyola freshman team in December, no one would underrate them.
  • Lou took over a F spot in the starting lineup from the beginning of the season and earned All-State honors for his play at the state tournament in Baton Rouge.
  • The team was scary good, defeating Nicholls 74-7, Fortier 84-22, and Peters 67-29 in successive games. However, Jesuit upset the Crusaders in the next contest 28-25 to finish in a first-place tie for the prep championship at 13-1.
  • The Crusaders bested Lake Charles 35-24 in the state finals after the Wildcats shocked Jesuit 33-29 in the semifinals, a loss that so upset the Blue Jays that they went home, forfeiting the third place game to Istrouma.

1947 was Lou's year to shine on the gridiron.

  • The 160 lb Bravo took over an E spot on both O and D, as was the custom at that time before two-platoon football became the norm.
  • Lou took special delight in being part of the stonewall D that corraled Jesuit's All-State RB John Petibon, Lou's good friend. The Crusaders managed a 7-7 tie against the heavily-favored Jays.
  • Lou caught a pass from Nick Revon for Aloysius's only score in a 14-6 loss to Fortier. The Saints finished 4-4-1.
  • Bravo made the Times-Picayune's 1st team All-Prep squad and earned 2nd team All-State honors.
  • Lou's basketball participation ended after the first round of prep action because of the "8 semester rule." He lost his last semester at Aloysius because he played a semester at Fortier before transferring to Esplanade Avenue.
  • The Crusader cagers tore through the season undefeated until they were upset in the state semifinals 55-42 by Holy Cross, a team they had defeated twice in prep play with Bravo in the lineup.
  • Lou ended his high school football career by participating in the Louisiana North-South All-Star game in Lafayette. Here's an excerpt from Charles Brennan's article on the game: "Defensively, there was nothing like Lou Bravo of Aloysius. Coach Stanley Galloway of the North, famous for his sweeps, finally gave up trying to turn Bravo’s corner and concentrated on the middle."
1947 St. Aloysius-Fortier

Lou received an athletic scholarship to Loyola, which had no football team.

  • He was the only freshman to make Jack Orsley's varsity basketball squad, joining two Crusaders from the class of '43, Robert "Blackie" Rehm and Bill Treuting.
  • Lou played another season for the Wolfpack before transferring to St. Ambrose College in Iowa so that he could play football.
  • Before completing his degree there, he joined the Army for three years. He received the Bronze Star for Bravery in action during the Korean War.
  • He made the post football team which allowed him to live "the life of Riley" before his airborne division deployed to Korea for a year.
  • He finished college at Tulane after his discharge.
Bravo, Bravo! - II

Edward Bravo ('51) followed in his older brother Lou's footsteps as a football and basketball star at St. Aloysius.

  • Eddie lettered on the varsity football team as a freshman in 1947.
  • As a sophomore, he took his graduated brother's place as a starting end on Wop Glover's last Crusader squad.
  • Eddie didn't play in the 1948 finale against Bogalusa because he was among seven players the principal, Brother Martin, suspended from the team because they failed to attend school the previous Monday following the Sunday night game against Nicholls.
  • Bravo earned spots on both the Times-Picayune and New Orleans States third team All-Prep squads.
  • The next season, Eddie grew to 170 lbs and, even though only a junior, was elected a captain. Under the tutelage of new coach Eddie Toribio, Bravo moved up to the first team All-Prep squad.
  • Elected the captain of the team for the 1950 season by a 23-1 vote of his peers, Eddie helped the squad improve its record from 1-6-2 to 4-6. He again filled one of the terminal spots on the various All-Prep teams.

Eddie also stood out on the basketball court.

  • Bravo played on the 1946-7 JV team of Buford "Boo" Jones ('43). Eddie led the JV league in scoring just as his brother had done before him. Because he played that season, he would not be eligible for basketball the second semester of his senior year.
  • Eddie repeated as top scorer on the1947-8 JV squad, which repeated as league champs.
  • Bravo moved up to the varsity for 1948-9 and contributed off the bench for Johnny Altobello's 18-0 squad that won the state championship.

After the first semester of his senior year (1950-1), Eddie transferred to Tulane on a full grant-in-aid for football.

  • Eddie lettered four years at E for the Greenies and served as sole captain his senior year (1954). The first two seasons he played alongside G Bobby Nuss ('48).
  • To close his senior season, Eddie played in both the Blue-Gray All-Star Game in Montgomery and the Senior Bowl in Mobile. (Two other Tulane Crusaders played in the Blue-Gray game before him: Jim Thibaut in 1941 and Nuss in 1952.)


Eddie Bravo
Eddie Bravo




1985 UNO Baseballers

Hall of Famer

1987 Gridders - I

1987 Gridders - II

Chance Miller

Arena Named for Him

Tulane Football Captains

Leon Verriere

Bravo, Bravo! - I

Bravo, Bravo! - II

Crusader Collegians - 1

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