You might ask what is a Gyrene?
Ave Maria Gyrenes football coach Marty Quinn can tell you: "It is a code word for a Marine."
Quinn, a Mount Carmel grad and former Caravan assistant, has his fledgling program take on Robert Morris University at 4 p.m. today at Soldier Field as part of the Prep Bowl Kick-Off Classic.
The Catholic school is located in Ave Maria, Fla. and was founded by Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monahan. This is the third year for the football program, Quinn's first as head coach.
Quinn knows this is a big game and not just because it is in the home of the Bears or because it is a homecoming for him and a few players. The school is not a stage.
"This is a chance to show not only our football team, but to let Chicagoans know about our school," he said. "This is a great recruiting tool for Ave Maria. There will be a lot of Chicago-area players and students (there), and they can see what our school is all about."
Quinn knows about the talent-rich Chicago area and would like to see a few more kids make their way to his NAIA school.
"This is a great recruiting area and some kids will not only hear of us, but be able to put a name with a face," Quinn said. "For us, we are new program and are expectations are pretty high."
Last year, the Gyrenes were 1-7 and have a six-game losing streak. They lost 21-0 to Robert Morris last year.
Sophomore Frank Kelly, also a Mount Carmel grad, last played at Soldier Field when the Caravan won the 2011 Prep Bowl. He said he has been telling his teammates about playing at the lakefront stadium.
"This is just an honor to play there," Kelly said. "It will be an experience and we hope to make a good impression for our school.
"We want to start out on a good foot."