Football is here to stay at Villanova. Thirty-four years after the powers-that-be shuttered the team as Howie Long was being fitted for his cap and gown, the Wildcats' gridiron legend returned to campus with a big check. It was announced at an event near campus that Long would be making a seven-figure donation to the Villanova football program.
A formal announcement of the gift is expected to be made by the school next week.
The standout ex-defensive end was in town this week to support The Capone Classic golf and tennis event that was put on to help raise money for another Villanova football alumnus, Bob Capone. After his playing days were over, Capone stayed involved with the program, and with the school generally, providing coaching over the years and running the Blue & White Scholarship Foundation. The proceeds of the fundraiser are going to help pay for extended care for the now-ill alum who left a lasting mark on generations of Villanova alumni.
Long played in the NFL for the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders from 1981 until 1993. He earned just $35,000 in his first year in the NFL after being drafted in the second round, which is a tiny fraction of what his sons, Chris and Kyle, make nowadays, playing for the Rams and Bears, respectively. Nonetheless, Long became a standout player over his career, and since retiring, he has dabbled in acting (some may argue that RadioShack's downturn began when Long stopped appearing in their ads), as well as serving as a regular studio-host on Fox's weekly NFL coverage.
We'll have more on the donation on Tuesday. To be clear, the latest donation isn't Long's first to the school, but it is a significant one that will go a long way to support Andy Talley's program.
Updated 6/9 3pET: Per an official release in recognition of the Longs' $1m gift, the University will name a new weight room in Villanova Stadium "The Howie Long Strength Training Center."