Campbell, Sullivan and Forlini: Hope Always Springs Eternal

NEW YORK-- Columbia football fans have made up a tatter de mallion brigade in recent years but a weekend spent here patrolling Morningside Heights turned up some indications that their ranks are growing.

The man trying most to recruit a legion of Columbia football devotees is head coach Bill Campbell, who pitched camp at 116th Street and Broadway after a stint as an assistant coach at B.C.

"I think community support has been nothing short of tremendous," Campbell said Saturday after his squad bowed to the Crimson 21-7. "People have been aware that we're building and have been reasonably patient. I think we'll slowly get better and better."

Campbell was not exactly overjoyed with the Lions' performance on Saturday but after absorbing 57-0 and 34-10 drubbings at the hands of Harvard over the past few seasons, Saturday's loss came as hard-won advance. "I haven't lost sight of any of our goals," Campbell said. "This is the first time we've played a defensive game against Harvard since I've been here."

The person who provided the offensive firepower for the Lions was another transplanted Bostonian and a product of B.C. High-- split end Fred Sullivan. Sullivan hauled in a 41-yard Kevin Burns aerial to set up the score that put the Lions ahead 7-6.


Sullivan decided to enlist under Campbell's banner instead of hitching up with Joe Restic and company for four years because, as he said Saturday, "I don't like Harvard."

Sullivan apparently has not lost much of his disdain for Crimson football. "I thought their defensive backs were lousy," he said. "They were really easy to block."

Sullivan attributed the insipid play of his teammates to strategic shortcomings. "Our offense has no imagination. I don't think Campbell called a very good game on offense," he said. "Harvard adjusted to us in the second half and I think we should have thrown a little more instead of just running."

Another recruit who has flocked to Campbell's camp is Andy Forlini, the proprietor of Forlini's pizza parlor. Forlini has been in business on Broadway for 16 years but only became a staunch supporter of Columbia football when Campbell took over.

"I'm their biggest fan," Forlini said. "Nobody backs up these kids in this neighborhood except me." Forlini proudly noted that the team made him an honorary member of their fraternity house. "When the players come in here Saturday night with their parents, they thank me for taking care of their sons," he said.

"Coach Campbell told me his goal is next season but my goal is now. I'm a year ahead," Forlini continued. Unlike most fans, though, Andy Forlini has taken direct measures to make Columbia's goals became a reality this year--he has decided to serve the Lion gridders free pizza on Sunday only if they win the day before.

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