Thursday, October 8, 2015


I usually like to keep these posts at least somewhat related to Pioneer Football, but I'm making an exception today.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

First School Record of the Season - Longest Kick Off Return

The first school record of the season has fallen, and it took until week four for it to happen.  During last Saturday's 28-20 victory over Lawrence, Emmi Sandoval set a school record with a 94 yard kick off return for a touchdown.  The previous long was an 84 yarder by Nick Merklin in 2007 and an 82 yarder by Kyle Perry in 2005.  Congrats Emmi!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fisher Earns Mention in Notable Special Teams Performances

Graham Fisher '16 unleashes another long punt
Each week the Midwest Conference selects an offensive, defensive, and special teams performer of the week, and also list other notable performances.  This week Graham Fisher '16 was mentioned in the notable performances.  Fisher averaged 50.2 yards per punt on four punts, with two of them being downed inside the 20 (both at the 11).  Graham was named Honorable Mention All-Conference as a first-year, and First Team All-Conference last year.  He's off to a stellar start this year, currently leading the conference by nearly four yards per punt (42.0 - 38.1)!

Keep up the good work Graham!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Nice Article in the Minor League Sports Report

Head Coach Jeff Pedersen '02 was recently featured in the Minor League Sports Report.  The article does a nice job highlighting some or our philosophies, check it out:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Myron Rolle to Visit Campus Oct. 2-3

The poster pretty much says it all, but former All-American, Rhodes Scholar, and NFL athlete Myron Rolle will be visiting campus October 2-3, which corresponds with our home game against Lawrence.  We have invited our football alumni and our local recruits to join us for the game, and we hope to have a great turnout.  Myron is a great example for our guys, as he is the embodiment of a student-athlete, excelling in every arena.  I'm excited to have him here on campus!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Congrats to Chris Brown

I also wanted to take a second to congratulate my old high school coach, Chris Brown, who earned his 300th victory as a head coach last night.  The West Grand Mustangs beat Nederland 22-7 last night, as Brown became just the third coach in Colorado high school football history with 300 wins.  Congrats Coach!!  You've been such a positive influence on so many of us over the years, and hopefully many more to come.  Although I'm know there is at least one receiver and quarterback combination (Ryan Brown and Jeff Pedersen) who though you should have thrown the ball a little bit more!

Congrats and here's to many more!

Follow the Pioneers Live!

Follow the Pioneers live today as we open the season against Beloit College at 1:00 PM Central.  We'll be playing at home on beautiful Rosenbloom Field, looking to get the season started off right!

The free webcast can be found here:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Final Summer Update

It is a little unusual to have a summer update at this point in the fall, after all we're gearing up for our first game this Saturday.  However, I wanted to make sure to include one more update, this one from Jacob Bernholtz, a biology major from Slater, IA and Ballard Senior High.  Bernie is one of only two guys from Iowa on the roster this year.  While we will always seek to have a diverse roster; a roster full of guys from all across the country (and the globe, Ibuki Ogasawara and Vinny Pavoni!) it's still a priority to have a strong group of local players.  One of the biggest priorities in our recruiting efforts this year to bring in a good group of Iowa boys.

Jacob Bernholtz '17 looking sharp on Media Day
Anyway, in his own words, here is the summer experience of Jacob Bernholtz:

I worked part time at Safe Building Compliance and Technology doing municipal building code inspections and earned an International Property Maintenance and Housing Inspector certification. I also worked to improve the inspection database by cleaning data and working on other computer related projects. It was a nice commute as I worked at the family business which is located on the first story of our new residence on Main Street in Slater, Iowa.

In the afternoons I worked as a Biological Lab Technician at the USDA labs in Ames. I worked under Dr. Julia Ridpath and Kathy McMullen studying BVDV (Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus), Corona Virus, and HoBi Viruses. It was an amazing experience being able to work with great people performing science in a lab environment.

I look forward to the upcoming season and can't wait to return to my true home at Rosenbloom field.

Thanks Bernie!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

College Football Opening Day: It's a Family Thing

Not much more needs to be said about this post.  Today is the first real day of college football games, and I couldn't be more excited.  I was just made aware of this video today, but it's a promotional video for the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, and it features former Pioneer Scott Raecker '84.  Raecker is a former Republican member of the Iowa House of Representatives.  Great stuff from Scott!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Catching Up With: Eddie Guen-Murray '15

Defensive lineman Eddie Guen-Murray '15 just graduated this past spring, and it looks like he'll be staying in Grinnell for one more year.  Eddie has been appointed the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Post-Bac Fellowship Position here at Grinnell.  The Fellowship is a great way for Eddie to continue his education and improve his options in his career field, while giving back to the current students at Grinnell.  Here's what Eddie had to say:

For the next academic year I will be occupying the HHMI Post-Baccalaureate Fellow position for the Science Learning Center (SLC) of Grinnell College. My job will primarily be composed of two main responsibilities: to oversee the 2nd year science retreat and to act as a full time mentor in the SLC. The goal of the 2nd year science retreat is to aid students in their transition into higher level science courses and inform them on how to pursue a future in science. As a mentor in the SLC, I will work to further assist student success by providing an ever-present mentor for Organic Chemistry I/II. Two courses generally regarded as some of the more difficult that students have to take as science majors. 

Thanks for the update Eddie.  It will be different to see you at Rosenbloom Field on Saturdays in your street clothes, but we're glad you'll be here in town!  Good luck!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer Update: Jacob Beecher

Yes, we're well past summer already!  Our pre-season practices are going well and the guys are in high spirits.  We've installed a lot in a short period of time, but they've done a good job keeping up.  Maybe that's because our schemes are significantly easier to learn than the advanced genetic engineering and chemical research done by some of our students over the summer!

Jacob Beecher '16 spent the summer working for Integrated DNA Technologies:

Integrated DNA Technologies is bio-tech company that supplies both RNA and DNA to universities and other research organizations for use in many different genetic experiments. With offices in Iowa, California, Belgium, and Singapore, IDT is the largest producer of oligonucleotides in the United States and is becoming quite prominent in the worldwide research community. This summer, as a Chemistry Research and Development Intern, I was conducting organic synthesis research looking at fluorescence dyes that could be attached to DNA sequences. My main projects this summer were providing the full-time researchers with intermediate materials to further their own research and conducting a study revolving around the methodology of a single step of the synthetic process.  I have really enjoyed my summer doing lab work at IDT and have learned more about the research process through a completely different research setting than I had ever experienced.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Tomorrow is the big day, the 2015 Pioneers will report in the morning.  Report day is always one of the best and worst days of the year, all at the same time.  It is one of the best, because we're finally all in the same place, ready to go for another exciting season.  At this point in the year, anything is possible!  It is one of the worst, because even though we're reporting, we're still not really allowed to start yet.  It seems like we can talk about and do anything we want, except football.  It stinks, but that's the way it is.  I'm just excited to see these guys!!

I also want to give you another summer update from one of our rising seniors.  Henry Cummings spent this past summer working at TIAA-CREF.  As an educator who has his entire retirement account with TIAA-CREF, I hope he did a great job!  Here's what Henry had to say:

For the last two summers and this last winter, I have worked for TIAA-CREF, a financial services firm, based in New York City. The firm's motto is "serving those who serve others" and their main product is the management of the pensions of teachers, doctors and people who have spent their careers serving others. I have been helping them launch a separate charitable business called a donor advised fund. This company and project fit right in with Grinnell college's values and TIAA is a common summer home for Grinnell College students looking for an internship. A Grinnell graduate who now works for TIAA makes sure to get a few current Grinnell students in with TIAA every year. It has been an incredible experience, seeing how a business is started and learning about all the different roles that exist in a company and how they function. I have worked on many different projects during my experience. In the last month I have helped write the policies and procedures for the business. I have met some incredible people who have advised me and helped me figure out what exactly I want to do after my senior year of college. I am planning on working for a consulting firm next year. My experience at TIAA has completely changed my prospects for my career and I am grateful that Grinnell has helped me find this opportunity. 

Sounds like a great internship!  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Alumni Update - Tom Brinkman

Coach Brinkman (rght) likes what he sees against Lawrence

Brinkman as a defensive lineman, bringing down a Monmouth Scot in 2011.
Tom Brinkman '13, of Rolfe, IA is just starting his third year as a college football coach, but this will be his first season away from Grinnell College.  Tom was the defensive backs coach for us the past two seasons, but has moved on to begin a Graduate Assistant program at Midland Lutheran, an NAIA school in Nebraska.

Here's what Tom has to say:

I am an offensive GA at Midland University in Fremont, NE coaching the WR's.  I am also the recruiting coordinator for the staff, and I manage our roster.  As the recruiting coordinator, my main duty is to completely revamp our old recruiting plan and create a new 52 week cycle for recruiting.  I am getting my MEd. (Master of Education) in Adult and Organizational Leadership.  This focuses on how to educate individuals that are 18 or older.  As a coach, this will help me better communicate with my players, but it will also give me the skills I need to educate and effectively communicate with staff members.  This is a 2 year position, and after the two years I hope to get a full time job as a defensive assistant coach, eventually working my way up to a defensive coordinator and head coach.

Thanks for the update Tom.  Best of luck to you!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Autumn's Here

The weather was a little cool this morning, the first NFL pre-season game was last night, and most high school teams are starting practice today.  Yep, Autumn's Here!!

For the second year in a row our bye week is actually week one, so we don't report until a week from today, the 17th.  The guys are anxious to get back and get to work, but fortunately for the coaching staff we've got a few more days of prep time.  I am very excited to get this season started though, I've got a great feeling about this group.  We will likely be outnumbered every week, but we won't be outworked and we won't be out-prepared.  I can't wait to see what happens!

For all of you who are anxious to get this season started, this video should help.  It's a few years old now, but it's a good one.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Junior Tackle Grant Koch Interns at Holmes Murphy in Des Moines

Grant seals the edge for a TD against Cornell
Junior right tackle Grant Koch, from Keystone, CO, has spent this past summer as a Loss Control & Claims Intern at Holmes Murphy & Associates Insurance in Des Moines.  Koch is pursuing a history major, but has always had an eye towards something in the insurance or finance fields.  He was excited to land the internship at Holmes Murphy, as it has given him insight into the insurance world.

Here's what he has to say:

Holmes Murphy has been in business for more than 75 years, with around 700 employees in 12 offices across 10 states. We work with a variety of commercial clients and almost 100 carriers as insurance brokers. My role as a Loss Control & Claims intern has been to assist our Loss Control & Claims Consultants in their daily work as they help our clients build safer and better workplace cultures. The service we provide not only helps our clients grow their business, but it also allows them to focus on their business, rather than worry about the insurance side of things. It is our job at Holmes Murphy to help facilitate the relationship from client to insurance carrier. Some days I'm in the office working at a computer, and other days I get to get out on the road to visit clients . My biggest project this summer has been to centralize and organize the safety documents all our consultants use to make the information they collect in the field more accessible between offices.  My most "interesting" experience though, was the trip I made to a meat-packaging facility in central Iowa. I never expected to see an operation like that in my internship (let alone in my life), but it was something to experience. I have really enjoyed my summer here at Holmes Murphy, and I've learned much more here in 10 weeks than I could have hoped for.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Staff Finalized for 2015

Greg Booth and Cortney Roberts
With the addition of Greg Booth and the promotion of Cortney Roberts, we have completed our staff for the 2015 season.  After former quarterbacks and receivers coach and special teams coordinator Nick Plato returned to his alma mater, the University of Kansas, to pursue his goal of coaching for the Jayhawks, we promoted Coach Roberts to a full-time role.  Roberts will continue to coach the running backs, but he will also cover the quarterbacks and coordinate the special teams.

Greg Booth joins the staff to coach the receivers.  Booth comes to Grinnell after spending the past few seasons coaching in Brazil.  He's been influential in the grassroots movement to introduce american football in Brazil.  Prior to that, Booth spent time at both Crespi High School in Encino, CA and Chaminade Prep in West Hills, CA.

I'm very excited to be able to promote Coach Roberts and to add Coach Booth to the staff.  Both bring great energy and knowledge that will help us both on the field and with our recruiting efforts.  I can't wait to get started with these guys.

Monday, August 3, 2015

More Academic Honors

Eloise Miller at the Outdoor Conference Championship
As we're gearing up for the 2015 school year and seasons, the academic awards of Grinnell's athletics teams keep rolling in.  The latest belong to the men's and women's track and field teams, as both teams were once again recognized as team Academic All-American.

The US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association annually awards team Academic All-American recognition to teams whose cumulative GPA is over 3.1.  This past season the Pioneers men's team came in with a 3.38 team GPA, and the women with a 3.61.  Both the men and the women have earned this recognition every year it's been offered by the USTFCCCA.

In addition to the team awards, standout sprinter and jumper Eloise Miller also earned the recognition.  This was the second year in a row Miller has been recognized.  For individuals, the cutoff is a 3.30 cumulative GPA and a top 25 ranking in an individual event.  Miller finished the year ranked in the top 25 in the triple jump as both a junior and as a senior.  As an added bonus for the track and field teams, Eloise will be joining the staff for the upcoming Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field seasons.

Congrats to Eloise and to the Pioneers!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

First T-Ball Game

First At-Bat
There has been a lot of discussion in recent years, and particularly this winter and spring, about the long-term benefits or drawbacks of pushing kids into youth sports.  Much of the discussion has centered around whether kids should specialize in one sport (I say no way!), but there has also been a lot of talk about how early you should start kids in organized sports.

Growing up in a very small town in Colorado, the opportunities for us to participate in organized sports were minimal at best.  We had Little League sponsored t-ball that started after first grade (age 7-9) and fast pitch (age 10-12).  We played ten games a year, and traveled up to about an hour away for a few of the games.  Our school district sponsored a pee wee basketball league for 4th - 6th graders.  We played only the teams within our own school district.  Finally, the sport we all waited for, organized football, started for us when we were in 7th grade.  As kids we felt like we were getting the short end of the stick; that there were kids out there in bigger towns and cities that had way more opportunities than we did and that we were somehow missing out.  Looking back, I'm glad things worked the way they did.  We stayed plenty busy as kids, and we were all hungry for any opportunity we got.  We had great participation rates all the way through high school, and most of us played at least two, if not three sports.  It was a great experience, one I'm very thankful for.

I say all this to lead up to Frances' first t-ball game.  I've been very conscious of not wanting to push her and Nora into too many activities of any kind, let alone too many organized sports.  Up to this point their two big activities have been gymnastics one day a week, and starting this summer we've done horseback riding one day a week.  That seemed to be plenty enough for them, but when Frances heard about t-ball this summer, she got very excited.  I was a little leery, but as I looked at the schedule for the league it was one hour, one night a week for five weeks.  This we could handle.  

Two weeks ago we went to our first practice, and this past Sunday night she had her first game.  It was very low-key, with Mom's and Dad's standing behind and beside their children, helping "coach" them all along the way.  Frances took her spot at second base feeling very nervouscited (her word), but she did great.  She ended up fielding several balls in the first inning, even throwing out a couple kids (though in this league everybody is safe).  Overall, she left the evening very excited about t-ball, and with a realistic sense of where she fit in with the rest of the group (not as good as some, better than others).  She's definitely looking forward to the next three weeks.

Celebrating With Her Biggest Fan
The old-school part in me fears that this type of setup for t-ball is just another step backwards in the "participation ribbon" attitude of our culture, but the father and the coach in me thinks it was a great deal.  Most of the kids in the league are of the same mindset as Frances.  They've been exposed to sports their whole life, but they're not as die-hard as some others.  Most are at an age where they could likely go either way with organized sports.  If they all had the experience Frances did Sunday night, I guarantee they'll want to come back for more next year, and that's all we can ask.  For my part, I hope both Frances and Nora will find one or two sports they can engage with, while also pursuing their interests in music or dance or horseback riding or any of a number of other activities.  Again, as a dad and as a coach, I can't wait to see what they do next!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Midwest Conference Releases Academic All-Conference

The Midwest Conference recently released the Academic All-Conference teams for the 2014-15 academic year, and the Pioneers were well-represented.  For the second year in a row we had 16 student-athletes that earned the recognition.  That ties our all-time high for one season, and it is over 1/3 of our team!  Couple that with the nine guys named to the Dean's List in the fall and the three in the spring, and it is clear the Pioneers are excelling on the field and off.

The following guys were named to the team:

Aamir Walton Sr. Sociology
Carson Dunn Fr. Undeclared 
Clayton Desjardin Sr. Biology 
David Ternes Sr. Economics 
Edward Guen-Murray Sr. Biological Chemistry 
Edward Hardman Jr. English 
Ethan Lahn So. Biological Chemistry 
Gregory Ruzich Jr. Biological Chemistry 
Harrison Hoegh Fr. Undeclared 
Ibuki Ogasawara So. Mathematics 
Jacob Beecher Jr. Biological Chemistry 
Joseph Galaske So. Biology 
Matthew Medrano So. Political Science & Economics 
Samuel Poulos Jr. Economics
Scott Beecher Fr. Undeclared 
William Rebelsky So. Chemistry & Mathematics

Hardman and Ogasawara were also named to both the Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field lists, Galaske to Indoor Track and Field, and Rebelsky to the swimming list.

Congrats to all these guys.  Great work men!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Grinnell Professor Kesho Scott Serves on CNN Panel

Kesho Scott, Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Professor of American Studies, was asked to participate in a CNN panel discussing some of the early Presidential candidates.  The panel featured five Iowans, with Scott labeled as a "Democratic Voter."  The Republican field is one of the largest in recent memory, and between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Democratic candidates should be very interesting.  Election years in Iowa are always exciting, and the hype and discussion looks to be starting even earlier this time around.  At Grinnell College, we anticipate being right in the middle of things for the next 16 months or so!

Here is a link to the video: