Dear Coach Cooley,

It's been almost a year since you left Providence College for a new opportunity at Georgetown. Not gonna lie, your departure was heartbreaking, right up there with that of Tom Brady and Christmas Tree Shops. While we can't speak for the rest of Rhode Island, there are no hard feelings here, Coach Cooley — welcome home. While you're settling into one of our beautiful hotels before the big game, here's a little update on what you missed since you've been gone.

Buy Local RI

10. Nothing screams "Rhode Island" like Del's, the Providence College Friars and the Buy Local chicken (or is it a rooster?). Now roosting under the PWCVB, the iconic Buy Local RI campaign has launched "100 Ways to Buy Local." You can even do your shopping online, from D.C., to support your favorite businesses back home. Now that's a slam dunk!

9. We're bi-coastal, baby. Breeze Airways announced a new direct flight from here to LA, one of 100 nonstop flights you can now catch from Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport. And Breeze also just announced a nonstop to San Diego.


8. I know you miss the amazing restaurants here in Providence. A few new ones have popped up since you left, including Gift Horse, the new raw bar and restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef Ben Sukle. His other restaurant, Oberlin, moved next door.

7. We are now home of the "Good Burger (2)." That's right — "Good Burger 2" filmed in a bunch of spots around here this past summer, including at the old Friendly's on Mineral Spring Avenue. Kenan and Kel were super friendly and were spotted having a good time at local restaurants, taking photos with fans and enjoying their time here. So, next time you're feeling homesick, just turn on "Good Burger 2" and it'll bring you right back.

6. Speaking of restaurants, sorry, you just missed our winter Providence Restaurant Weeks, which was a huge hit with more than 70 restaurants participating. You also missed our summer Providence Restaurant Weeks this past July AND our second annual Providence Pizza Week in April. #FOMO. But, come back for the next round!

2023 Stella Awards Winner: Voted Best CVB in the Northeast

5. The Providence Warwick CVB won the NCAA Championship of the meetings industry, The Stella Award. We were voted Best CVB in the Northeast by our customers, which is a pretty big deal. Go team!

4. Providence was in the spotlight during the Army-Navy Game playing in New England for the first time ever. We welcomed hundreds of U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen to the capital city, as well as many military families and veterans who stayed here before the big game at Gillette. It was a shining moment for the city, and we were proud to play host to some of our nation's finest future leaders. Also, rumor has it, when the midshipmen arrived in Providence and got off their buses, they could be heard whispering, "That's where Ed Cooley used to play," as they walked by the AMP. That's just hearsay, I don't know.

3. I don't want to brag, but we got Fogo de Chão AND Level 99, right at the Providence Place Mall. Listen, I'm no lawyer, but if you want to talk about getting out of your contract and coming back up here, I probably can connect you with some people.

Roger Williams Park Zoo Red Panda

2. Oh, and Roger Williams Park Zoo is getting a bunch of new animals. Like, really cool ones. Norman the bat-eared fox and Yuji, the Kirk's dik-dik, moved in this past summer. Then came Velma the serval. Next up is a new home for the adorable red pandas and a new home for the ... wait for it ... PENGUINS.

1. There once was a man who stood tall and proud, a symbol of hope — one that Rhode Islanders looked up to. He was a man who always called Providence home, and one who we never thought would leave. Then, a big crane came and took him away. We're talking about the Independent Man, obviously. He was taken down from his perch atop the State House in December for some much-needed TLC. Don't worry, he'll be back up soon, probably in time for your next visit.

I think that gets you up to speed. We will have more fun news to share come next year's matchup.

Even though "You Belong with Me" by Taylor Swift just hits different now, thank you for all you did at the helm of PC Men's basketball. We can't technically wish you good luck in Saturday's game, but we can hope you enjoy your visit back to Providence. Maybe you'll even be back when we host Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2025 NCAA Tournament. Catch ya later.