Three Fordham alumni have begun a fundraising challenge to support the construction of state-of-the-art office and conference rooms for the football program’s coaches and student-athletes.

Donors John Zizzo, FCRH ’69, John Costantino, GABELLI ’67, LAW ’70, and John Lumelleau, FCRH ’74, have joined forces to launch the Costantino, Lumelleau, and Zizzo Football Office Challenge.

As part of the challenge, any gift earmarked for the Football Office Renovation and Improvement Project of at least $1,000, to a total of $625,000, will be matched by them on a 2:1 basis.

“Providing the best facilities to‎ our students, student-athletes, and coaches is an important element which enhances their experiences at Fordham and also drives the journey to excellence in all aspects,” said Costantino, a trustee emeritus.

A rendering of a room for the Football Office Renovation and Improvement Project.
A rendering of an office and conference room for the Football Office Renovation and Improvement Project.

It’s a move that could advance recruitment and help to build a championship-level football program at Fordham, said head football coach Andrew Breiner.

“It would enable us to house the entire coaching staff in one location and provide more meeting space for the players,” he said. “This project would be a major step forward for the future of Fordham football.”

Over the past five years, the Fordham Rams have made many strides. In 2014, a record-breaking year for Fordham athletics, the football team made an NCAA appearance and was awarded the Patriot League Championship.

“Given the success of our program, we want to provide our students and coaches the necessary tools to remain competitive,” said David Roach, director of intercollegiate athletics.

For Zizzo, a former defensive tackle who helped lead the Rams to the 1968 National Club Football Championship, playing football is about more than just winning and losing.

“Football taught me discipline, courage, responsibility, and leadership,” said Zizzo, a retired real estate attorney and member of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Looking back at his years playing football at Fordham, Zizzo said teamwork was the main ingredient of the Rams’ success. Through the Football Office Challenge with Costantino and Lumelleau, that couldn’t be truer.

“Those kinds of collaborative skills, and working together to succeed in any business or any aspect of life, are very important attributes,” he said. “Student-athletes have to understand what it takes, and playing football teaches you that.”