By Steve Klamkin WPRO News
Providence College men’s basketball coach Ed Cooley was given the key to the city of Providence Tuesday, in an after-school ceremony.
Cooley led the 27-6 Friars team to the Big East title, then on to the NCAA Tournament in March and was named Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year, but he recalled his upbringing in Providence as he accepted the award.
“I feel honored to be here, not as the Providence College coach, I feel honored to be here as a Sackett Street School kid, a Roger Williams Middle School kid and a proud, proud, incredibly proud graduate of our high school, Central High School,” Cooley said to applause from several hundred Central and Providence Career & Technical Academy students in the PCTA field house.
Mayor Jorge Elorza presented the key to the city, and Cooley was honored by his own Central High School coach, retired state Senator Harold Metts. Also in attendance were several of his players, a contingent of PC cheerleaders and “Dom”, the PC Friar mascot.
“This is to me more about our community and giving young men and women from our city and from our communities faith and hope,” Cooley told WPRO News.
“And I think when you appreciate what you have and you’re not looking for more, you end up getting the keys to the city. You know, you appreciate what you have. And, if I can give that message to everybody: don’t ever, ever think you can’t do it, because you can,” Cooley said.
Asked what he’s going to do with the key to the city, Cooley said, “I’m going to try to open up doors to men and women who think they don’t have hope, and I want to open that hope door to them to tell them they are special. I want that to be a key to the future for other young men and women to believe.”