Fr. Markey’s Boston Celtics Draft Letter

The alumni featured in this issue have taken varied, and sometimes unexpected, paths in life after Holy Cross. None more so than Rev. Earle Markey, S.J., ’53, who declined a spot on the Boston Celtics’ roster to become a Jesuit priest.

A standout player and senior captain of the basketball team during his undergraduate days at Holy Cross, Fr. Markey was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the fourth round of the 1953 NBA Draft. There was no live TV broadcast of the draft, and none of the multimillion dollar salaries NBA players make today. Instead, Fr. Markey learned of his selection to the team by letter, and he still has the now tattered correspondence.

The letter is on official stationary of the “Boston Celtics Basketball Club Incorporated” and includes a reference to famed Celtics coach Red Auerbach: “Doubtless you will be hearing from ‘Red,’ if you’re interested, within the reasonably near future.”

At the time of the draft, Fr. Markey was weighing a number of options for his future. At first, he thought about going to law school, but the Celtics administration told him he couldn’t both play and go to school. Fr. Markey also happened to play guard, the same position as two Hall-of- Famers already playing for the Celtics, Bill Sharman and Holy Cross’ own Bob Cousy. “I had no assurance that I would make the team, and if I did, I had no assurance that I would get much playing time,” Fr. Markey says.

In addition to these uncertainties, the Korean War had just ended, and Fr. Markey recalls feeling a desire to make a difference in the broken, post-war world.

“My Jesuit education from the age of 13 at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J., and at Holy Cross led me to discern the way I could best live a life of Christian commitment. My studies, my family example and my Jesuit models all led me to serious consideration of a priestly life,” he says. “While my consideration was often painful, it was also encouraging. I entered the Society of Jesus on July 31, 1953. I accepted the challenge and have felt God’s blessings ever since.”

In his years as a Jesuit, Fr. Markey has worked at two of his alma maters, first as principal at St. Peter’s Prep, and then in a number of roles at Holy Cross, including vice president of student affairs. He currently serves as the associate director of Jesuit relations in the College’s Office of Admissions. ■