Behind Taylor Swift’s Unexpected Love for the Providence College Friars
How do you sweeten the success of a college basketball championship? You get a personal letter delivered to you from Taylor Swift.
After securing a conference championship for the first time in history, the Providence College Friars found renewed inspiration to keep trucking forward. Although they were defeated in the Big East Tournament on March 11 against the Creighton Bluejays, 85-58, the Friars moved on with an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, scoring a win against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, 66-57.
Providence had one more win up its sleeve against the Richmond Spiders, 79-51, before ultimately getting sent home with a 66-61 loss against the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks.
PC was the miracle team that just kept advancing.
Their fight captured the attention of Swift, a part-time Rhode Island resident, with a congratulatory letter.
"What an amazing 2022 season!" Swift wrote. "Congratulations to you all on your incredible and inspiring success. Sending you all hugs!"
Swift signed the note, typed under letterhead featuring the title "I'm Feeling '22" and an illustrated cat.
"Getting this letter from Taylor was pretty amazing," said Arthur Parks, senior associate athletic director Arthur Parks said. "The players were excited to get it. And the three guys in the photo, Nate Watson, Aljami Durham and Justin Minaya, when I told them they were getting a gift from her (Swift), they were so thrilled. It was a special feeling for the team, the staff and the college."
The back story begins with three female Friars students who had an undying love for Swift's music. During the 2021-2022 basketball season, they approached the Friars' DJ and requested "You Belong With Me."
Parks has been with the Friars since 1995. In 28 years, he never felt such electrifying energy from the crowd as when Swift's song played over the speakers.
"We had an amazing season, and when the song came on, the place went nuts and everyone started singing together," Parks said. "It (Swift's song) grew and grew, and as the team got better, it caught on and became part of the team.
"Nothing was planned, and it came out of nowhere. It was nothing I've ever seen during my time at Providence College."
To paint the perfect picture, this song amps us the Friars just as "Sweet Caroline" does with Boston Red Sox fans, only on a whole different level of energy and unity.
Coach Ed Cooley led Providence College to the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament as a No. 4 seed.
Cooley was also gifted the Key to the City by Mayor Jorge Elorza back on May 17 as a token of appreciation for leading the Friars into NCAA battle and securing a piece of history the school had yet to witness before 2022.
As of now, Parks says the starting five seniors have graduated and are continuing to work out off-season, some even with the NBA. The rest of the team left for home after finishing up finals and will be back on the court on June 15.