SXU football, pride of the Southland
SouthtownStar editorial December 22, 2011 8:58PM
Updated: January 24, 2012 9:46AM
Thirteen certainly isn’t an unlucky number for Mike Feminis.
That’s how many years he has coached football at St. Xavier University, gradually building the school on Chicago’s Southwest Side into a national power.
And this was the year that he and his team achieved the goal that had so narrowly and frustratingly eluded them during three of the past five seasons — an NAIA championship.
The Cougars (14-1) defeated the defending champion, Carroll College, 24-20 in the title game last Saturday in Rome, Ga.
It capped a dream season for the Cougars, who were the top-ranked team for a large part of the year and were determined to get beyond the semifinals — where their season had ended in disappointment in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
The victory over Carroll, located in Helena, Mont., was perfect revenge for St. Xavier because Carroll eliminated it in last year’s semifinals.
And the Cougars also avenged their only loss this year in beating Marian University, of Indianapolis, to reach the title game. Kinda sounds like something out of a movie script, doesn’t it?
We note with considerable pride that half the St. Xavier roster consists of Southland residents. While it does offer some scholarships, St. Xavier is typical of small colleges that rely on homegrown talent to make up much of their teams.
While Southland high schools have won many state championships, for a college team here, or anywhere in the Chicago suburbs, to capture one is rare. Joliet Junior College took the NJCAA football title in 2002 and Lewis University won the men’s volleyball championship in 2003 — only to have it withdrawn because of a recruiting scandal.
St. Xavier is the first team from a four-year college in the Chicago area to win a national football championship since the University of Chicago shared an NCAA crown in 1913.
So this was a very big deal for the Southland, and we offer hearty congratulations to Coach Feminis, his staff and the players for a magical season they will never forget.