Cal-Hi Sports: Battle for the Bruce Mahoney

January 9, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Taylor Lambert
Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area

This week I wanted to talk a bit about the Bruce Mahoney Trophy and the rivalry between San Francisco schools St. Ignatius Prep and Sacred Heart Cathedral.

It's a passionate rivalry which is so highly attended during basketball season, that the schools have to play it at the University of San Francisco's War Memorial Gym and still just about sell the game out.

First a little info about the Bruce Mahoney Trophy. The two schools play a three game series throughout the year, one game each of football, basketball and baseball and whoever wins 2-out-of-3 games takes home the Bruce Mahoney Trophy. This year St. Ignatius won both the football and basketball games to take back the title this season, their 46th in school history to SHC's 19.

It's a pretty neat idea to keep the series going all year long and most definitely heightens the excitement for both schools. Just look at the above picture. About every student from each school shows up for the games and even when playing at the large War Memorial Gym during basketball season, there's still no empty seat in the student section. The atmosphere is so intense it feels like a big time college hoops game.

The history behind the Bruce Mahoney Trophy is important as well. Bill Bruce graduated form St. Ignatius in 1935 and excelled at the school. At the start of World War 2, Bruce enlisted in the US Navy and flew over 50 combat missions before he was killed in 1943 in a plane crash.

Jerry Mahoney graduated from Sacred Heart in 1944 after being named All-City in both basketball and football. He enlisted in the Navy as well after high school and was killed not long after that in 1945 when his ship was sunk by a German U-boat.

Both Bruce and Mahoney exleplified what it was, and is, to be stand out student-athletes of these two schools. Bruce and Mahoney were 9 years apart in age but both died within a year of each other in WWII, now their names live on forever in this heated competition between the two City schools.

The Bruce Mahoney games are just on a different level than most other match-ups in the Bay Area. They mean something, and students past and present show up in droves. During this week's B-M game, the gym announcer had a woman stand up in the crowd who has been to the last 43 Bruce Mahoney basketball games. 43 years!

It truly is a great series, so if you can catch one of these games throughout the year I'd highly recommend it. The electricity in the air is enough to get the hairs on you arms to stick straight up.

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