Pat Abruzzi is considered one of the best athletes to come out of Rhode Island. Born in Warren on August 29, 1932, Pat was raised in Warren and attended local schools. He played football for Warren High School and was named All Class C football running back in 1948 and 1949. During his senior year he was also named All State football running back. In addition to his talent on the football field, Pat also played catcher for the 1949 Warren/Bristol American Legion Baseball team, winning the Eastern United States regional championship.
Following his graduation from Warren High School, Pat attended the University of Rhode Island where he continued his sports career. As a member of the Rams football team, from 1951 to 1954, he became an all star running back. He holds the all-time University of Rhode Island football rushing records. He was chosen as a Little All-American gridiron while still in college. He also lettered in baseball and basketball. He was named All-Yankee Conference every year and was also named a New England All-Star from 1952 to 1954. Pat was also named the Rhode Island Athlete of the Year in 1954 and honored as the Rhode Island Italian-American Athlete of the Year for two years in a row in 1953 and 1954. While attending URI, Pat was also featured in the basketball halftime show as a trampoline performer.
After graduating from URI, Pat was drafed by the Baltimore Colts, but ultimately chose to play with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. His incredible career led him to become a long-time record holder and also be named to the All-Star team.
When Pat retired from professional football, he returned home to Warren, replacing Charlie Burdge as the high school football coach. “Doc,” as he was known to his players, led the team to divisional championships eight times in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. in 1975, they won the Class B Super Bowl Title. Doc then retired but soon returned to act as assistant coach for the Pop Warner Football Junior Midgets. The Junior Midgets won the Northeast League title in 1993 and Mount Hope High School Football’s 1995 Class B Co-Champions. Doc Abruzzi also coached the Warren High baseball team.
Pat/Doc Abruzzi recieved many honors in his lifetime, including the URI Athletic Hall of fame (1972), The Rhode Island Schoolboy Coach of the Year (1975), the Rhode Island Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1976. He was later elected to the Sons of Italy Athletic Hall of Fame. In addition to the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, he was also posthumously made a member of the State of Rhode Island Heritage, the Providence Gridiron Club, and Warren Halls of Fame.
Pat Abbruzzi died on June 3, 1998.