Helping the Mayor of Terrier Nation
GoFundMe campaign in support of number one BU fan Elliot Driben
After a lifetime attending more than 6,000 Terrier sports contests, from women’s basketball to diving (men’s ice hockey remains his favorite), Elliot Driben has earned the title Mayor of Terrier Nation. Generations of athletes fondly recall him cheering them on in rain and sleet, whether they were winning or losing.
Now Driben is in need of help. The 72-year-old, who has had cerebral palsy since childhood and struggles with hearing, speech, and muscle control, had to give up his apartment near Case Gym and move to Evans Park at Newton Corner, an assisted living facility in Newton, but he needs financial assistance to remain there. A GoFundMe campaign—launched in June by Driben’s close friends Dick Pasteur, women’s hockey head coach Brian Durocher (SED’78), and women’s soccer head coach Nancy Feldman—has since raised more than $27,200 to help pay for Driben’s long-term care.
While the initial $25,000 goal has been met, organizers say that any extra funds will be greatly appreciated. “There will continue to be financial needs in the coming months,” Feldman says. “People stepped up big time and gave a reprieve from his fiscal situation, but there will continue to be costs that exceed his income.”
“Elliot has been very generous over the years to all the athletic programs at BU, but his financial savings have been dwindling these last few years as his expenses have risen beyond his means,” the GoFundMe page says. “The money raised will help Elliot remain at Evans Park.”
The fact that more than 270 people have donated doesn’t surprise Durocher, who drove Driben to supermarkets and took him for monthly haircuts when he lived near campus. “When you talk sports, you talk teams. Anyone who found a way to get to 6,000 events over five decades is part of your team,” Durocher says. “His support for the kids is clear from the volume of times he showed up. So many people know him.”
“Anyone who found a way to get to 6,000 events over five decades is part of your team. His support for the kids is clear from the volume of times he showed up.”
“BU current and former student-athletes, friends of BU, BU past and present coaches, and the Brookline community have reached deep in their pockets to support Elliot,” Feldman says. Former men’s hockey Terrier and Hobey Baker winner Matt Gilroy (MET’09), for instance, who has played in the NHL, the AHL, and currently the Kontinental Hockey League, and his wife, Jenny (Taft) Gilroy (COM’10), former women’s lacrosse Terrier and sideline reporter for Fox Sports, donated $500.
Feldman says Driben is doing “really well” and will make it back to BU for some upcoming athletic department events, such as the recent Boston University Athletic Leaders Celebration on September 15.
Driben’s first BU athletic foray was a 1958 football game at Nickerson Field—and he was hooked. After graduating from Brookline High School, he worked a clerical job at John Hancock until retiring, all the while cheering at as many BU athletic events as possible, often clad in scarlet and white.
He’s not only BU’s number-one fan, but has been a generous financial donor to the athletics department for decades. Driben has been a member of the Friends of BU Hockey since 1972, and began an annual tradition of donating money to every BU athletic program—from basketball and lacrosse to dance and pep squad—a decade later. He also gave to the student-athlete academic support center fund each year, and his support of the athletics communications department has earned a plaque in the Agganis Arena press box in honor of his parents and sisters.
In recognition of his decades of commitment to BU, he has twice been honored by the BU Athletic Hall of Fame—in 1993, with a Special Recognition Award, and in 2010, when he received the Roger “Moose” Washburn Memorial Award.
In 2012, the Case Center lobby was renamed the Elliot Driben Lobby. Student-athletes, coaches, former players, friends, and family flocked to the ceremony to thank him for his legacy of friendship and support.
“I would venture to say that Elliott has probably given a greater proportion of his income to Boston University than any other person that ever gave to the University, and sometimes people give $20 million,” said retired longtime men’s head hockey coach Jack Parker (Questrom’68, Hon.’97) at the lobby dedication. “He’s been a fabulous friend and a supporter—he’s with you whether you win, lose, or tie.”
Donate to the GoFundMe campaign to support Elliot Driben’s care here.
What a great man. I hope everyone will get on the train!
Jim English (CLA,84)