Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Nora Jane

Nora (right) and Frances, looking tough in their helmets.
Happy 4th birthday to Nora Jane Pedersen.  September 18, 2010 is obviously a day I'll never forget, but Nora's timing could not have been worse (or better, as it turned out).  For the complete story, see this blog post from last year.  Long story short, Nora was born on a Saturday in September, which is the bad timing.  However, she happened to choose a Saturday in which we'd eventually lose a game that was delayed by an hour and a half because of lightning.  The good timing is that I was at the hospital for that mess!


Nora is now in her first year of pre-school and growing as fast as you'd expect.  She'll be a Grinnell Tiger and a Grinnell College Pioneer before you know it!



Friday, September 12, 2014

I Want To See Frenzy!!


The Pioneers will take the field tomorrow for their first game of the season, taking on conference foe Beloit College.  It's been a long wait for our first game, and we are ready!  The Pioneers will take the advice of an original Pioneer, Sam Pooley, "I don't want to see enthusiasm out there . . . I want to see frenzy!"  From a coaches perspective, I hope that's a controlled frenzy, but our guys are so ready I certainly don't want to hold them back.  Can't wait!

As was recently reported in the Des Moines Register Sam Pooley was a member of the original Pioneer team in 1889.  Seventy years later, at the age of 90, Pooley returned to campus for a matchup against Carleton, and his request for frenzy was part of his pre-game speech to the team that day.

Keep following along with our season as we celebrate not only the 2014 season, but also a rich 125 year history of Pioneer Football.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

125 Years! Part 2

As we continue our season-long celebration of 125 years of football at Grinnell College, I'm re-printing a note originally written by the University of Iowa Alumni Association.  It is a brief account of the 1889 game from their perspective:


1889
September 26
Professor Sampson sponsored a meeting to organize Iowa’s first varsity team. He was unanimously 
elected both captain and coach of the first varsity eleven.

October 6
The following invitation appeared in the Vidette-Reporter, Iowa’s student newspaper: “The SUI 
team hereby challenges any college or other team in the state of Iowa to a game of football.” 
Iowa College (now Grinnell) was the only team to rise to the challenge, but they did so, according 
to a Grinnell paper, “with considerable fear and trembling!”

November 16
“HERE COME THE YELLOW CANARIES!”
Iowa met Iowa College in Grinnell for the first championship football game to be played west of 
the Mississippi.  A boastful Iowa team, confident of victory, had dressed for the occasion.
Wearing canvas pants and SUI jackets with Old Gold ribbons on the shoulders—uniforms that 
team members had secured on credit from Max Mayer’s Iowa City clothing store—the men were
greeted by shouts of “Here come the Yellow Canaries!” and “Ain’t they sweet?”
The Iowa College Pioneers showed no such uniformity in their dress that day. They wore bicycling
trousers, bib overalls, gym jerseys, and even shorts, but the ragtag team played aggressive football,
compiling 24 points against the scoreless Hawkeyes.
Edwin Sabin, 1900BA, who suited up to play Grinnell in 1889, later remembered the game. “My own
immediate opponent was gentlemanly but firm,” he said. “We butted heads and shoulders in fashion
amicable, with no damage done.”
But, even then, football could be a rough game. Rule 13 of the 1889 handbook ordered that “no 
tripping, hacking, pushing, or retaining with the hands, striking with the fists, or unnecessary roughness 
shall be allowed. Projecting nail and iron plates on shoes are prohibited.”
A week after the Hawkeyes returned to Iowa City from their first intercollegiate football game, the
Vidette-Reporter explained Iowa’s loss this way: “The home players have an immense advantage 
over their opponents, for the encouraging shouts and hurrahs of friends must necessarily inspire 
them to an almost reckless audacity.
“Again, our worthy Grinnell opponents were larger and heavier men, and played a better team 
game. Weight, activity, and headwork play an important part in a football game.
“Furthermore, there was some misunderstanding between the opposing teams as to the rules, 
which worked against the SUI players.”

Iowa students were loyal to their team!

Copyright © 2009, University of Iowa Alumni Association
Team names, logos, and uniform designs are registered trademarks of the teams indicated. No logos, photographs, videos, or graphics on this site may be reproduced without written permission.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

125 Years!

125 years ago this November 16, Grinnell (Iowa College at the time) played the University of Iowa in the first championship football game west of the Mississippi River.  The Pioneers prevailed 24 - 0.  Throughout the season we will be celebrating 125 years of Pioneer football with regular blog posts featuring some of the top games, moments, and players in our history.

To kick things off, we will feature an account of the game from Grinnell's perspective, and we'll follow that up later in the week with the University of Iowa's perspective.  The following was excerpted from: On a Field in Grinnell: A Gridiron First, written by William Deminoff.

There were no bleachers, no bands, no hotdogs, or cheerleaders.  The field was a patch of prairie with lines scratched on the turf.  One team was dressed in spanking new white-canvas uniforms, the other in shirts and pants "of all shapes and colors."

Regardless of their appearance, the players were there to make history.  The teams were both named Iowa - The State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) and Iowa College (now Grinnell College) - and the record book shows that Grinnell won 24-0.  Today, that would be David felling Goliath.  But it wasn't the score that made this a special day; it was the fact that this was the first intercollegiate football game played west of the Mississippi River.  The game took place November 16, 1889, and was played on a 330-by-160 foot field west of what is now the College Forum on the Grinnell campus.  This was 20 years after Rutgers beat Princeton in the nation's first intercollegiate football game on November 6, 1869.

Both the 1869 and the 1889 game were precursors to American football as we know it today.  Rutgers-Princeton was virtually a soccer match, while the Iowa-Grinnell contest had rugby features.  It was, in fact, much more like the Harvard-McGill game of May 15, 1874 - the first intercollegiate rugby football match played in the United States.  The 1889 contest resulted from a University of Iowa challenge to "any college or other team in the state to a game of football, American Association rules."  The challenge was published in two Iowa newspapers in late October.  Grinnell's Fred Van Gieson and Frank Everest, both of whom had played the game in a New Jersey prep school, accepted the challenge, quickly organized a Grinnell team, and scheduled a two-week series of practices.

When the Iowa team arrived on November 16 for the 2:30 pm start of the game, its personnel looked big to the Grinnell gridders - much bigger than the average 174 pounds that the local team hefted.  Big or not, most of the players were officially enrolled students at their institutions, with the exception that a few of the Grinnellians would be "special students" - that is, taking courses but not aiming for a degree.  If this was some sort of violation, it was balanced by the fact that Iowa's captain, Martin Sampson, was not a student at all - he was in fact a professor of English literature.

The rules of the day called for a game of one and one-half hours, "each side playing 45 minutes from each goal" with a 10 minute break between  halves.

At the opening of the game, Grinnell got the ball and gained ground with a flying wedge.  First used by Princeton against Pennsylvania in 1884, the formation hid the ball-carrier within a V as the entire wedge surged forward.  Grinnell used a variation by passing from the V, and before long the local team was inside Iowa's 25 yard line.  The first touchdown was scored by Otto Savage who, true to his name, fought his way through the Iowa line.  The touchdown was worth four points.  Van Gieson, who according to the rules could try a place-kick or a punt for two points, opted for a put but missed.

A contemporary account says that Iowa then "kicked the ball from center, but it was quickly rushed in their territory by (Grinnell), and a safety was soon scored."  This yielded two more points, followed by rushes that brought the Grinnell team again inside their opponents 25 yard line.  This time it was Harry Macomber's turn to take the ball in.  The kick failed, but the score at the end of the half was Grinnell 10, Iowa 0.

In the second half, Van Gieson made a long yardage play after receiving an Iowa kick.  A few plays later Theron Lyman took the ball in, and John Harvey kicked the two-pointer to make the score Grinnell 16, Iowa 0.  Iowa matched Van Gieson's big play with one of its own, Martin Sampson carrying the ball for 25 yards.  Sampson almost broke through, but a hard tackle by Grinnell's Herb Miller stopped the play, and Grinnell soon regained possession of the ball.  A few plays later, Lyman pushed the ball into the end zone, and Grinnell was ahead by 20-0 (the try at two points again failed).  Iowa couldn't bring teh ball downfield, and when the Grinnell took over, Van Gieson rushed into the end zone.  Final score: Grinnell 24, Iowa 0.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ternes Comes Through . . . and Renteria


David Ternes comes through on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that I issued.  I think he went a little small with his bucket, but at least he completed the challenge!  Sounds like he has called out the other three captains of the team, Pierce Gustafson, Richard Renteria, and Sam Poulos.  Can't wait to see them accept the challenge.

Here it is, David Ternes:  David Ice Bucket Challenge

And Renteria follows: Richard Renteria Ice Bucket Challenge


Monday, August 11, 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Sunday afternoon I was issued an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from former colleague Art Link, now an assistant coach at Lafayette University.  I had seen clips of other coaches and athletes accepting the challenge, but didn't really know much about it.  All I knew was, I had 24 hours to accept the challenge and to post the video to youtube.  Well, mission accomplished.  Coaches Martinez and Plato took great joy in aiding in the process.  Check it out!


Before completing the challenge I decided to look into it a little.  It was started by a former Division 1 athlete who has been living with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) since 2012.  The idea was to help raise awareness and to help increase donations.  According to the challenge, if you don't complete it in 24 hours you are encouraged to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice.  Though we've completed the challenge, the Pioneers will be making a donation once the season is complete.  Proceeds from gameday t-shirt and hat sales will go towards the donation.

As the final step of the challenge, I've passed it on!  Director of Athletics Greg Wallace, Assistant AD and head tennis coach Andy Hamilton, and senior student-athlete and team captain David Ternes now have 24 hours to complete the challenge.  Good luck!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pioneers Complete Their Coaching Staff

Cortney Roberts and Gene Blalock
The 2014 Pioneers have completed their coaching staff with the additions of Gene Blalock and Cortney Roberts.  Blalock most recently coached at his alma mater, Robinson High School, in Tampa, FL.  This will be Roberts first season in coaching, having just finished graduate school at Austin Peay St. in Tennessee.

I will be in my fifth season as the head coach, once again coordinating the offense and coaching the offensive linemen.  Head baseball coach Tim Hollibaugh will be the assistant head coach and will work with the defensive line.  Jason Martinez returns for his fifth season as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, while Nick Plato will be in his third season as the special teams coordinator and wide receivers and quarterbacks coach.  Nate Smith will also be in his fifth season, working with the linebackers and kickers.  Tom Brinkman '13 returns for his second season working with the defensive backs.  Blalock will also work with the defensive backs and Roberts will coach the running backs.

Blalock was an outstanding defensive lineman at Upper Iowa University and had made several coaching stops before landing back at Robinson High School.  Roberts was a walk-on defensive back at West Alabama.  He also served as a student trainer at West Alabama, and completed his Masters Degree as an athletic trainer at Austin Peay.

I'm excited to add both of these guys to the staff.  Excitement is high for 2014.  It's Time!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Autumn's Here!

Well, maybe not quite, but with the mild weather of the past few weeks, the start of NFL training camps, and the turning of the calendar to August it sure feels like autumn and football!

Our schedule is a little different this year, our bye week is technically week 1, so we don't report to campus until August 18.  Our guys are chomping at the bit to get back and get started, but fortunately for us coaches we've still got a full two weeks of preparation.  We've got a great group of guys coming in this year, and we've recently finalized the staff (more on that on Monday) and we're as excited as can be.

Regardless of your level of official involvement in the game, this video should get you in the right frame of mind.  The 2014 season is right around the corner.  For the Pioneers, It's Time!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

16 Pioneers Named Academic All-Conference

Sixteen Pioneer football players were named Academic All-Conference for the 2013-14 academic year.  With a 2013 roster of 46 players, close to 35% of the team was recognized as Academic All-Conference.  The sixteen players named was also the most we've had going back at least since 2005-06, the last year for which I have records. 

To be named to the team an individual needs to maintain a minimum 3.33 GPA for the academic year and letter in their respective sport.  Pioneers who received recognition are:

Jacob Beecher - So -Biological Chemistry
Jayson Campos - Sr - Political Science
Andrew Clark - Sr - Computer Science
Clayton Desjardin - Jr - Biology
Colton Feller - Sr - General Science-Biology
Eddie Guen-Murray - Jr - Biological Chemistry
Seth Gustafson - Sr - Psychology
Seth Howard - Sr- Psychology
Kevin Hwang - Sr- Economics
Morgan Kinsinger - Sr - Economics
Brogan McWilliams - So - Biological Chemistry
Matt Medrano - Fy - Undeclared
Will Rebelsky - Fy - Chemistry and Mathematics
Quinn Rosenthal - Sr - History and French
Greg Ruzich - So - Biological Chemistry
David Ternes - Jr - Economics

Congratulations guys!  



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Camp Season Comes to and End

The summer camp and recruiting circuit has come to an end for our coaching staff, and we are grateful to be home!

Between Coach Martinez, Coach Plato, and myself we visited six different camps or clinics or showcases.  In order: South Florida Select, Chicagoland Showcase, David Shaw Camp at Stanford University, Washington University Camp, Iowa State Friday Night Lights, and New England Elite.  We traveled close to 11,000 miles and saw roughly 4,000 campers.

A few of the highlights from this summer:
Walking the beach in Boca Raton after a long flight to Florida.


Meeting up with former All-Conference Pioneers Ryan Fletcher '11 and Robert Seer '12 in Chicago.  We also had dinner with 2012 graduates Matt John (DL) and Jimmy Borrasso (QB). 


The John Elway mural in the Stanford football offices, and staying with All-Conference punter Graham Fisher '16 and his family in Palo Alto.

Lobster roll, Big Papi at the plate, and watching a game at Fenway Park with former All-Conference QB Sean Pfalzer '07.



Back home in time for homemade ice cream (great grandma Pedersen's recipe) and the parade on 4th of July.

It's been a busy June, but we've met a ton of very good recruits and re-connected with some great Pioneers who are doing very well.  I'm looking forward to a trip home to Colorado next week, then back to Grinnell and ready to roll!



 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Two Pioneers Named to Dean's List

Jacob Beecher '16 celebrates a special teams touchdown.
Two Pioneers were named to the Dean's List following the spring 2014 semester.  Junior defensive back and two-sport athlete (baseball) Jacob Beecher, a Biological Chemistry major was named to the Dean's List for the second time.  Beecher was also named academic all-conference after his first-year, and will again this year when that is announced by the Midwest Conference. 

Ibuki Ogasawara '17 learning the finer points of the game from Jake O'Polka '15.

Ogasawara, a sophomore out of Takazeki, Japan, joined the team in the off-season and was also named to the Dean's List for the first time.  Ogasawara had an outstanding non-traditonal season this spring and should be a great addition to the team.

Two Pioneers were named to the Dean's List after the Fall Semester, Beecher and Seth Howard.  This spring, three other Pioneers, Colton Feller, Seth Gustafson, and Quinn Rosenthal, received the necessary GPA to qualify for the Dean's List, but were not recognized.  All three were in their final semester at Grinnell and didn't need to take the necessary 16 credits to be eligible for the award.  Even without the official recognition, these three deserve congratulations on a job well done.

Starting with the academic year of 2012-13, the Midwest Conference began naming an Academic All-Conference team only once per year, releasing it after all sports have completed.  That list should be released soon, and the Pioneers stand to do well. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Former Pioneer Morgan Kinsinger Featured in Senior Edition of Scarlet & Black

Kinsinger clears the way on a screen pass.
Recent graduate Morgan Kinsinger '14 was featured in the Senior Edition of the Scarlet & Black.  I couldn't find an online version, but the story follows:


Kinsinger Touches Down in London

            As an offensive lineman and team captain, Morgan Kinsinger has been overwhelmingly shaped by his football experience at Grinnell.  His role on the team has extended beyond the playing field to help build his academic and social lives, and has given him access to opportunities that allowed him to explore locations beyond his native Iowa.
            Kinsinger say s that football initially helped him find a place at Grinnell by introducing him to a group of people with whom he knew he shared in interest.  Despite this commonality, Kinsinger says, the team is a cross-section of Grinnell, which includes a range of students as diverse as the College itself.  This social support group helped mediate Kinsinger’s doubts about fitting in at Grinnell and a difficult first few months at college, during which he struggled to leave his social comfort zone.
            “Grinnell’s definitely given me a chance to kind of get out of my shell and develop a friend network, and it’s given me the ability to articulate myself more clearly, and I’m dong projects and research now that I never would have dreamed I’d be able to do, especially coming from just a small town in Iowa,” Kinsinger said.  “I wasn’t sure if I felt like I belonged at first, but then I guess as I grew and as I became more accustomed to Grinnell and the culture I really felt like I belonged.  It’s been an exciting transition, to come to be where I am today.”
            His inauspicious beginnings didn’t prevent Kinsinger from becoming the captain of the team in his third and fourth years, a leadership role he says is especially significant because he was elected by his teammates.
            After graduating, Kinsnger is keeping his options open but plans to explore banking opportunities in the Midwest.  He says that, reflecting back on his time at Grinnell, both the team’s and his own achievements have exceeded the expectations he had at the beginning of his first year.
            “I think football kind of exceeded my expectations in that I guess I just didn’t expect very much out of myself and out of the team, and we’ve been able to do a lot more than other teams have done,” Kinsinger said.  “And I was able to get a lot of playing time and experience the college sport.  It was a lot of fun.”
            Playing on the football team has also allowed Kinsinger to make connections with alumni that helped him to broaden his horizons.  As a senior, financial support by football alumni has allowed him to play with other division three football players at all-star games in Virginia and Mexico, where he also did community service work.
            His alumni connections made through the team also secured him a summer research opportunity with an alum and professor at the London Business School, where he built on his academic work as an economics major by participating in financial economic research online, working remotely from his home in Iowa.  Kinsinger says that this personal guidance helped him to explore his career options.  Ultimately, Kinsinger says, his time on the team allowed him to experience many of the new things he hoped to get out of Grinnell.  His time at college has been characterized by the exploration of new places, which was largely made possible by his friends and mentors. 
            “I just wanted to . . . experience something that would let me see the world, more than just what Iowa has shown me, and granted Grinnell is in Iowa, I’ve been able to do a ton of stuff that I wouldn’t have otherwise done.  So the way that it’s kind of exceeded my expectations is that I have been able to travel a lot and see a lot through friends that I have here,” Kinsinger said.  “You know, I’ve played football in Mexico, and then I also got to visit friends in Aspen and go skiing over winter break and I went out to Hawaii to visit another college fiend, so it’s been really a neat experience to have just these places to go and these friends that are willing to take you in, in the Grinnellian spirit.”


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Defensive Coordinator Jason Martinez at the Careers in Sports Forum

Jason Martinez drawing it up!
While former Pioneer Abby Jaeger '14 was busy learning at the NCAA Careers in Sports Forum, Pioneer Football defensive coordinator Jason Martinez served as a facilitator

Martinez has just completed his fourth year as an assistant coach at Grinnell College.  Under his tutelage the Pioneer Black Shirt Defense has seen a dramatic transformation, into one of the more aggressive and feared units in the Midwest Conference.  This past season the Pioneers finished second overall in both interceptions (18) and total takeaways (29).  Martinez has also helped physically transform many athletes from across the department as the head strength and conditioning coach.

The Careers in Sports Forum was a nice opportunity for Jason to have an impact on the development of student-athletes across the country, and to learn from them as well. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Great Opportunity for Former Pioneer Abby Jaeger

Former Pioneer soccer and basketball player Abby Jaeger '14 is participating in the NCAA Careers in Sports Forum in Indianapolis.  This looks to be a great opportunity for Jaeger, as she explores her post-Grinnell options. 

Good luck Abby!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happy Birthday Jordan!

During my time as a student-athlete at Grinnell College I learned so much in the classroom and through my athletic pursuits.  Just as importantly though, I learned from my everyday interactions with people from across the continent and across the globe.  That is what makes Grinnell unique, a special place in the heart of the midwest that brings together people and cultures from across the world in a safe but challenging environment.

Of all the things I learned, and of all the people I met, I am most thankful to have met the beautiful and talented Jordan Esbrook '01.  Having just celebrated our 10th anniversary together last week, we now celebrate her birthday.  Great student, outstanding attorney, wonderful wife and mother, and loyal friend, what more could you ask for?!

Happy Birthday Jordan!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Pioneer Track Star Featured

Ajinjeru '14 breaking the school record for the indoor 400

Pioneer track and field star Christine Ajinjeru '14 was recently featured in a story on the Midwest Conference web site.  Ajinjeru concluded a fine career by qualifying for the Division III Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Delaware, OH.  Next fall she will be heading to Knoxville, TN for a joint PhD program with the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge Institute, where she has previously interned.

Congratulations Christine!  Good Luck!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Go Out and Vote!

Update: He won!  Congrats to Charles Blake '05, new State Representative for District 36 in Arkansas.  Go get 'em Chuck!


A message from former Pioneer outside linebacker turned politician, "Go out and Vote tom(orrow). It's important, because we are going to win this the right way. With Dignity, Integrity, and Class. Go Vote for Charles Blake for State Representative 36."

Charles Blake '05 of Little Rock, AR was a Political Science major and outside linebacker for the Pioneers.  The Pioneers finished 6-4 in 2004, Blake's senior season, including signature wins over Ripon College and Carroll University.  It's great to see "Chuck" giving back to his hometown.  Good luck tomorrow!!  GC Pride.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Six Pioneers Named to the Hampshire Society

Six senior Pioneers were named to the National Football Foundations Hampshire Society.  Andrew Clark, Colton Feller, Seth Gustafson, Seth Howard, Kevin Hwang, and Quinn Rosenthal all received the honor from the NFF.

Six Pioneers being named to the Hampshire Society in one year is a new high for the program.  Following the 2011 season four Pioneers received the honor: Jimmy Borrasso, Logan Granera, Chris Jarmon, and Brian Westerlind.

Learn more about the Hampshire Society here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Grinnell Student Featured on MSNBC


Grinnell senior Ope Awe was featured on MSNBC's Women of 2014 Series.  Read the article about Ope on Grinnell College's home page, but also read about her on the MSNBC page.  Besides her role in the Student Government Association at Grinnell, Ope also started a student group called Enthusiasm to help support the varsity athletic teams.  Thanks for all your efforts Ope and congratulations on getting such national recognition!  You deserve it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lyle Bauman

The Grinnell College Pioneer football team would like to extend a large thank you to the entire Bauman family.  It has been a tough winter for the Bauman's, with the passing of two great people.  Today, Tuesday March 18th, we lost long-time College employee Lyle Bauman.  Everybody who met Lyle, whether student/staff/faculty/parent/visitor/etc immediately made a friend, and somebody that would lend a hand at a moment's notice, no questions asked.  There are no words to express our gratitude for the impact Lyle had on those around him, and no words to express the loss our community has suffered.  We thank you Lyle, and we thank the Bauman family, and we hope for peace for all of you.

This past December the Pioneers awarded the first annual Lyle Bauman Service Award to Seth Gustafson '14.  We are proud of Seth for his growth on and off the field, and grateful for what he gave to the team and to the campus, but it will be hard for Seth, and for the future recipients of the award, to live up to the example set by Lyle.  What a great man for all Pioneers to model themselves after.

Thank you one final time Lyle, for everything.

The Pioneers