Gicking Leaving Villanova The Quarterback Will Transfer To A Division Ii Or Iii School. He'll Have Three Years Of Eligibility.

Posted: May 15, 1998

Chris Gicking has thrown his last pass at Villanova because he didn't get a chance to throw many while he was there.

Gicking, who received a full scholarship from Villanova after starring at quarterback at Marple Newtown, was released from his scholarship recently by Wildcats head coach Andy Talley.

The release allows Gicking to play for any Division II or III school this fall without losing any of his three remaining years of eligibility. Gicking would lose a year of eligibility if he signed with a Division I program or a school at Villanova's Division I-AA level.

``I just want to go somewhere where I can play three years,'' Gicking said.

Gicking probably wouldn't have had a chance to do that with the Wildcats. After redshirting in his first year at Villanova in 1996, Gicking and Californian Chris Boden went into training camp last summer in a battle for the starting quarterback position.

The decision went to the final week of camp before Boden, a sophomore last year, got the job and had a national-highlight season. He completed 281 of 419 passes for 3,707 yards, mixing in 42 touchdown passes with only five interceptions. Gicking, as Boden's backup, completed 21 of 31 attempts.

``Anyone that's in the sport wants to play,'' Gicking said. ``But I was the second-string quarterback. I just tried to do my job, helping Chris get ready for games.''

Boden, who still has two years of eligibility remaining, and Villanova performed well in those games. Maybe spectacularly would be a better adjective. The Wildcats were undefeated, ranked No. 1 for most of the year, and won their first 12 games before falling to Youngstown State, 37-34, in the second round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.

Gicking, 20, decided to leave Villanova after playing in the Wildcats' spring game last month. His father, Harry, has made a number of calls to Division II and III schools.

His father ``said he understood that I wanted to play,'' Gicking said. ``Whatever I wanted to do, he's supported me.''

Gicking has to play below the Division I-AA level to retain all of his eligibility. He risks not recouping his scholarship money.

But he wants to play. The last time he got an extended opportunity, at Marple Newtown, he passed for 5,912 yards and 53 touchdowns during a stellar high school career.

Still, Gicking said he doesn't regret the experience at Villanova.

``We had a great year,'' Gicking said. ``We were 11-0 during the regular season. We won a playoff game and we won the Atlantic Ten [Conference]. It was fun. It was really exciting.''

But Gicking derived much of his excitement watching others make plays. He wants to line up behind center, like he did at Marple Newtown, making his own plays.

Toward that end, Gicking said that Talley promised to help. The coach was not available to comment on the matter.

``They were nice about it,'' Gicking said. ``They said they'd call colleges for me, they'd send tapes from practices. They'll do whatever they can to help.''

Gicking, who lives in Broomall, said he doesn't care whether he stays in the area. He cares about something else: He wants to play, something he didn't do often at Villanova.

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