Skip to main content

Breadcrumb navigation:

Miracle in Miami, Legacy at the Heights


It is, simply, one of the greatest moments in college football—one of the most memorable plays, perhaps, in the sport itself.

Thirty years ago this November, quarterback Doug Flutie ’85 snapped his golden arm back to heave a last-second 48-yard pass to receiver Gerard Phelan ’85—and Phelan caught it. BC won, 47-45, over the University of Miami, and, as they say, the crowd went wild.

The “Hail Mary” pass. The Miracle in Miami. For three decades it has been a legend and a legacy, cherished by Eagles then and now, a story remembered and retold with reverence.

For Shaw Society member Rita Mahony and her friend John Galvin ’56, it remains one of the most exciting moments they’ve ever witnessed.

“It was pouring rain in Miami that day. With time running out, John thought it was lost, but I said, ‘Just give Flutie one more play,’” recalls Mahony, a true Superfan who has attended 365 consecutive BC football games with Galvin since 1983.

“There was no time on the clock, and Flutie threw that crazy pass that you couldn’t imagine would be received. I was so proud and overjoyed. I still get emotional when I think about it now.”

Doug Flutie went on to win the Heisman Trophy that year—the only time for a BC player and a fitting end to an incredible 9-2 season that also saw the Eagles win the Cotton Bowl over Houston. And coming just as BC was emerging as a major national university, the Miracle in Miami made household names of Flutie, the Eagles, and Boston College.

Today, whether at the Heights or at games across the country, Shaw Society members are among the Eagles’ most loyal fans. Like Mahony, many show their pride by designating their legacy gifts to BC’s athletic programs, a key priority of the Light the World campaign. And much like Doug Flutie, these Shaw Society members leave an enduring legacy at Boston College that enhances the greatness of BC now and for generations to come.

Light the World Campaign