PRIDE: A History

PRIDE is an acronym that has come to symbolize Heelan and Heelan football in particular. It is an acronym that has united a community and been a "way of life" in the hallowed halls of Heelan for some 45 years. Anywhere you go in Siouxland or around the state of Iowa, people associate the word PRIDE with Bishop Heelan. But many do not know the story of the PRIDE acronym or how it came into being and has been used at Heelan High School.

The acronym PRIDE came to Heelan with the arrival of Head Football Coach and AD Beanie Cooper in 1969. 
Cooper used the acronym PRIDE to stand for:

P - Practice

R - Running

I - Initiative

D - Desire

E - Enthusiasm

The idea took hold and was used in different forms throughout the football program and the school. The acronym was used in the Yearbook in 1971 when referencing all Heelan athletics.

1971 yearbook

While the acronym was in use as early as 1970, PRIDE did not appear on the Heelan football uniforms until later. As can be seen in this photo of Coach Cooper with his son, the Crusaders wore last names on the back of their jerseys.

CoachCooperandson before PRIDEon jersey

In an odd note - the Crusaders also had a logo on the helmet for a few years in the early '70s as well. By the late '70s Heelan would go back to the traditional all gold helmets.

The first appearance of PRIDE on the uniforms was on the away uniforms in 1974.

1974 away jerseys

That would be Coach Cooper's final year on the Heelan sideline, as he would move on to USD as head football coach in 1975, and would eventually be the athletic director at Indiana State. In his later years, Coach Cooper returned to Sioux City and ran Trinity Heights. While Coach Cooper passed away recently, the legacy he left behind with PRIDE will live on forever at Bishop Heelan. 

beanie cooper

PRIDE first was used on the back of the home football jerseys in the fall of 1976 under second year head coach Dave Triplett. After wining a state title in 1975, Coach Triplett decided to remove the names on the backs of the blue jerseys and add the PRIDE acronym. Here are some photos of the 1976 squad and the PRIDE on their jerseys:

Coaches with player stretching 1976

Coach Triplett 1976

1976 yearbook

This would begin a tradition that would last for 40 years at Bishop Heelan. Below are some photos of PRIDE on the back of football jerseys over the years:

State Champions in 1982:


One of the coolest jerseys to be worn at Heelan, this gold one was worn for the O'Gorman game in 1986

Gold jersey for Gormangame

Here is a team photo from the UNI-dome at the 1989 state final

1989 Sate title game

Coach Malsam talking to the team in 1996

Coach Malsam with team 1996

Away jerseys worn in late '90s and early 2000s

white jersey

Home blue jerseys worn 2003-2013. Photo from state semi-final in 2013 vs. Clear Lake

old blue

Away jerseys with the gold numbers worn 2007-2008 (including 2008 state title)

state final 2008

Current road jerseys - photo from 2014 State Championship game

state final vs. Pella 2014.

With a new ruling coming down in August of 2016, the Crusaders will no longer be able to wear PRIDE on their football jerseys. It will mark the end of a 40 year tradition, but the use of PRIDE will certainly continue on at Heelan High School. While it may not say it on the jerseys anymore, the Crusaders will continue to honor the legacy of those who have gone before them by representing the ideals that wearing a Heelan jersey encompasses:






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