Introduction of Jeff Cicia, presented by Tim Whelan, Former Football Student-Athlete, 2018 Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee
Included in the Bylaws for the Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame is a provision that permits the Selection Committee to present an award designed to recognize alumni, donors, benefactors, staff, friends and supporters who have made significant contributions to the success of Tufts Athletics over the years.
The name of this very special award is “The Brown & Blue Award”.
The two previous winners of this award were Jumbo legends and dear friends to Tufts Athletics for many years, Ben Sands and John Baronian.
And I’m sure they’d be delighted that the third winner of the Brown & Blue Award is their friend, Jeff Cicia.
Raised in Somerville, Tufts has always been a part of Jeff’s life. He enrolled at Tufts in 1950, played on the freshman and junior varsity basketball teams, and met his wife Nancy at Tufts. After volunteering for the Army, he returned to Tufts and received an economics degree in 1958. And in 1962, Jeff began his many years of service to Tufts Athletics by working part-time in the athletic training room while doubling as a high school English teacher. In fact, Jeff was one of the athletic trainers for the 1979 football team, which will be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this evening.
From 1984 until his retirement, Jeff served as the Athletic Department's Coordinator of Operations and Facilities. He played a leading role in the renovation and improvement of many of the athletic facilities, including Ellis Oval, the Lunder Fitness Center, and Chase Gymnasium. He was also a long-time member and past president of the Tufts Jumbo Club.
To say that Jeff is an ardent fan of the Jumbos is a bit of an understatement. On one Saturday afternoon at the Oval when Jeff was working on the sidelines as an athletic trainer, a referee’s call went against the Jumbos. It must have been a particularly bad call because Jeff just couldn’t contain himself – as the story goes, Jeff stormed onto the field to share his thoughts about the call directly to the official. A flag was thrown, and Tufts was penalized for the manner in which Jeff expressed his opinions that afternoon. Perhaps not so humorous to the coaching staff at the time, but years later, it’s a funny story that reveals the level of passion Jeff has always shown for the Jumbos.
Jeff has had many other passions outside of Tufts, too. He was a clarinet player for the Middlesex Concert Band, and in May 1990, he played with the Waltham American Legion band which became the first American ensemble to march in Moscow's annual Victory Parade through Gorky Park and Red Square.
Jeff received the Tufts Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1988 to recognize his many contributions to Tufts. Retired since 1996, Jeff has remained a loyal and vocal fan of the Jumbos -- but he now yells at the referees from the bleachers instead of the field.
It has been said many times that “no one bleeds brown and blue more than Jeff Cicia.” With that in mind, I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Brown & Blue Award than Jeff.
In recognition of a truly great Jumbo and his lifelong devotion to Tufts, it is my great honor to present the Brown & Blue Award to Jeff Cicia.