By Matt Jenkins
---- — Bishop Fenwick three-sport athlete and recent graduate Fran Hannon didn’t earn a full athletic scholarship to the college of his choice.
Athletics, however, definitely played a part in Hannon earning another tremendous collegiate opportunity.
Hannon applied for, and was subsequently awarded, a rare four-year ROTC scholarship to attend Providence College beginning this fall.
The final sum essentially amounts to a full scholarship with Reserve Officer’s Training Corps paying full tuition, fees, a book stipend and a monthly stipend, with Providence College picking up room and board.
Hannon will have to complete three early-morning workouts per week, military training once a week, an additional class for military training, and one weekend each semester spent at a military base doing drills. After graduation, Hannon would be commissioned as an officer in the United States Army and would serve active duty for four years, plus an additional four years as a reserve.
Hannon was interested in joining the military for as long as he can remember, in large part because both of his grandfathers were in the armed forces. He feels his background in athletics has prepared him well for his future.
“Discipline is the biggest thing, the sacrifice of yourself to the greater purpose, also staying in shape and the competition mentality,” Hannon said. “Someone was telling me (ROTC) kind of replaces high school sports because it’s something to compete in and you set goals along the way. The mentality of discipline and values that come with sports helps, and being accountable to people on the team and taking responsibility, all those aspects play into the whole military lifestyle.”
This particular opportunity almost passed Hannon by. Originally he hoped to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, and it wasn’t until later that he applied for the ROTC scholarship.
There are only 2,000 scholarships awarded (with over 15,000 applicants), but even upon being awarded the scholarship Hannon faced a potential decision.
“As far as I know, there were three selection boards and I didn’t think about Army ROTC until a little later. I got (my application) in right before the third selection board,” Hannon said. “You apply for the scholarship and select 5-7 schools where you want to apply and if they award you the scholarship, they choose which schools they’ll give it to you for. I originally applied and was awarded the scholarship for Florida State.”
Hannon was obviously thrilled to be selected, but there was a problem: by then, he had fallen in love with Providence College.
“I had gone on a visit to Providence and it’s closer and I didn’t want to go that far away. I talked to the leader of Corps down there and he helped me transfer (the scholarship to Providence),” Hannon said. “That wasn’t a given. I got kind of lucky in terms of the work they did for me behind the scenes.”
Clearly, Hannon was a well-rounded student-athlete that was hard to overlook for this scholarship.
In addition to being a standout quarterback/linebacker on the gridiron for Fenwick, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Hannon also captained the basketball team and played lacrosse for the first time as a senior. In the classroom, he graduated with a 4.3 grade point average. He also served as senior class vice president and was a peer mentor.
Providence appealed to Hannon because of its close proximity to his Melrose home, the beautiful campus, and the entertaining Division 1 athletics.
With younger brothers Kevin (who will be a senior) and Daniel (who will be a sophomore) still playing football at Fenwick, the Crusaders will still have a fan in Fran Hannon. The Bishop Fenwick experience couldn’t have worked out any better for Hannon, who transferred to the Peabody school after two years at Malden Catholic.
“He did well at Fenwick and people at Fenwick put him in a position to do well,” said Paula Hannon, Fran’s mother.