Thursday, April 23, 2015

Senior Fitness Testing a Success!

Pioneer Footballers Grant Koch, Kent Hoover, Jacob Beecher (bottom row), Carson Dunn, and Matt Medrano (second row)
Earlier this week a group of Grinnell Pioneer student-athletes traveled to St. Francis Manor to assist with the annual Senior Fitness Testing.  As part of an ongoing program, Grinnell's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has assisted with the Senior Fitness Testing for the past few years.  The testing gives people a baseline to ensure that they're keeping up with their health and fitness, and provides an opportunity for our student athletes to interact with the community.  I think all enjoyed their time together! 

Elijah is impressed!

My neighbor Jack Marcum has earned Robbie McCarty's endorsement

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Two-Sport Athletes, Part 3

Earlier this winter we took a look at the impact our football players were having on the track team, but it's time to recognize the efforts some of our guys are having on other sports, golf and baseball in particular.

Pioneer wide receiver Zach McGriff showing off that sweet swing
Two springs ago the men's golf team finished in fourth place at the conference tournament.  They followed that up last spring with a fifth place finish.  Currently the Pioneers sit in first place in the conference, with a team scoring average of 312.5, five strokes in front of the second place team.  Part of the team success this year can be traced back to Pioneer wide receiver Zach McGriff '17.  McGriff currently sits at sixth place overall, with an impressive average score of 77.7.  In two weeks the Pioneers travel to Rockford, IL for the Midwest Conference Championship meet, played Aldean Country Club.  Good luck to Zach and the rest of the squad.

While the golf squad is experiencing a new level of success, it seems to be more of the same old thing for the baseball team.  Consistently in the top two in the Southern Division, the baseball team looks to lock up another top finish and to qualify for the Conference Championship Tournament once again.  With safety Jacob Beecher '16 out with an injury, this year's baseball roster contains only two football players.  Jacob Bernholtz '17 has seen action in three games this year, scoring two runs as a pinch runner.  Bernholtz was also a part-timer for the track and field team during the indoor season, proving that speed is a valuable asset in all sports. 

All-Conference punter Graham Fisher '16 is having an outstanding season this spring, as both a pitcher and a hitter.  Already highly regarded as one of the better pitchers in the Southern Division, Fisher has seen increased time in the field as a junior, and has now become one of the more feared hitters as well.  Fisher is second in the conference in batting average (.441), second in slugging percentage (.735), fourth in on base percentage (.506) and sixth in home runs (4).  Pretty impressive for anybody, let alone somebody labeled as a pitcher.  Keep up the good work, Fish! 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Scarlet and Give Back Day a Success

To close out the month of March, our Office of Development and Alumni Relations challenged Grinnellians with the Scarlet and Give Back Day.  As far as I know, this was the biggest one-day push for giving in our history.  Notable alumni Daniel ’77 and Patricia Jipp Finkelman ’80 were instrumental in the challenge, pledging a gift of $250 for each unique donor.  The College received gifts totaling $136,336.10, with a total matching gift from the Finkelman's of $717,250.  The one-day total was an amazing $853,586.10! 

The official release stated "the collective impact of yesterday's effort will help support our enduring commitment to financial accessibility, academic excellence, and student success after Grinnell."  Alumni were encouraged to give to either the General Fund or to a specific program or area of their choice.  I know many former Pioneers gave back to the football program, and we appreciate their support!

Thanks to all!  It's good to be a Pioneer!  #GCPride

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Coming Back Home!

After a full two weeks on the road, I'm finally returning back home.  It's been a great time, and very productive, but I'm excited to be returning to Grinnell just in time for our spring season to get under way.

I started my trip with a few days of family vacation in Daytona Beach, FL.  We had a nice time at the pool, the beach, and at De Leon Springs State Park.  The highlight of the trip was the up close views of alligators on the river.

It's a little hard to see, but that's a big old gator staring us down.
The track team soon joined us in Daytona for a week of quality training at Embry Riddle University.  This was the fourth year in a row we've trained there, and it is one of the highlights of the track and field season.  Besides the quality training and recruiting for the football team, the trips to the beach, and the outstanding shopping at the Volusia Mall (!), the most anticipated events of the trip are Coach Will Freeman's regular trips to Krispy Kreme for fresh donuts.

"Here he comes!  The Donut King!"
Warm donuts for all
From Daytona, the team headed north to Atlanta, for the two-day meet at Emory University.  We don't traditionally have great performances at this meet, as most athletes are coming off an intense week of training, but it is nice to get in a quality meet to start the outdoor season.  The trip to Atlanta also serves as a great opportunity for me to continue my recruiting.  Besides the two student-athletes that have been admitted to Grinnell for the recruiting class of 2015, I was able to visit many area coaches to increase our prospect pool for 2016.  I put plenty of miles on the car, but I'm pleased with the results of the trip. 

937 miles and 24 total hours in the car later and I'm happy to be headed home!
For now though, I'm happy to be headed back to Grinnell.  We've got a great group of Juniors visiting campus for our Junior Day next Friday, in addition to the Admitted Student's Programs the 12th -13th and 19th-20th.  Throw in our spring practices, plus the outdoor season for track and field, and April will be a busy month!  Can't wait!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sam Poulos Enjoying His Time Overseas

Poulos waits for Meixler to come open before delivering a touchdown strike
Pioneer quarterback Sam Poulos '16 is spending his spring semester studying abroad in Denmark.  Check out his quick update from his semester:

So far the experience has been pretty awesome. Living in a different country has been very different, but over time I have began to get used to it. While seeing the differences between countries is unique, it made me appreciate the culture that I grew up in.

I would say one of the cooler experiences so far would be traveling to Berlin, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic with my international business class. In both of these cities, I was able to visit different companies to learn about business in different countries. In Berlin, I was able to visit the headquarters for the German automobile industry, and DB bahn (German train company). With each company they talked about how to market themselves in Germany, as well as different ways to market themselves in Europe and the U.S.

In Prague, my class visited Skoda car company and Siemens. At the Skoda car factory we were able to go watch how the cars were assembled, which was something I had never done before. At Siemens, they taught us about how they market their company in the U.S. and about the new technology fields they were looking to expand too.

Even though I most likely will not go into international business in the future, it was a unique experience that I would not be able to have in the U.S. I was able to learn how foreign industries think differently than U.S. companies. Hearing a different perspective of business is also a unique experience.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Former Pioneer Seth Gustafson '14 Featured on Grinnell Homepage

Seth pulls down and interception against Lake Forest in 2013
Former Pioneer defensive back Seth Gustafson '14 was recently featured on the front page of the Grinnell College web site.  Seth was a four year starter for us and finished with five career interceptions and 15 passes defended.  The article features Seth in his current role at The Pavilion Behavioral Health System as well as his research at the Beckman Institute for Science and Technology at the University of Illinois.  He is a great example of someone who made the most of his four years, both on the field and with his studies.  Seth spent one summer completing an off-campus internship and one completing a MAP.  Both experiences helped him land where he is today.  

Keep up the good work Seth! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Pioneers!  If you're looking for a little luck o' the Irish when you choose your college, keep in mind that Grinnell College is one of the Ten College's With the Most Generous Financial Aid.  The highest ranked Division III school, and ranked in the same list as Vanderbilt, Duke, and the University of Chicago, Grinnell is proud f it's longstanding tradition of making ourselves affordable to all.  Check out the article!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Former Pioneer Wins Prestigious Teaching Award

Former Pioneer defensive back Dwain Desbien '90 has been named the 2015 David Halliday and Robert Resnick Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching.  Selected by the American Association of Physics Teachers, Desbien was recongized for his "contributions to undergraduate physics teaching and awardees are chosen for their extraordinary accomplishments in communicating the excitement of physics to their students." 

Grinnell Director of Athletics, and former head football coach Greg Wallace noted that, "Dwain was a defensive back at Grinnell when I started here years ago.  He was a great guy and it is great to see him getting the recognition he deserves.  He's always been passionate about his studies and about his students, and it's great to see him getting this recognition."

Congratulations Dwain, keep up the good work!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

2015 Schedule: Part 2

Quarterback Sam Poulos scores a fourth quarter TD
After the first four games of the season, the Pioneers will jump into the southern division portion of their schedule.  We will take the short trip east to Mt. Vernon to take on the Cornell Rams.  In last years meeting we fought back to cut the lead to 14-10 at the end of the third quarter, and 21-17 midway through the fourth, before falling short.  Cornell has proven to be a physical and talented opponent since re-joining the MWC in 2012, and we look forward to the challenge this fall.

1st team all-conference punter Graham Fisher got the scoring started vs Illinois College
We follow up the trip to Mt. Vernon with a trip south to Jacksonville, IL to face Illinois College.  The Blueboys are the defending southern division champions, but they'll have a new look heading into the 2015 season without long-time starting quarterback Michael Bates.  IC has always been able to score points, and it's our challenge to score with them.  It should be an entertaining game.

Renteria seals the victory with this fumble recovery
The Pioneers return to Rosenbloom to take on the Knox Prairie Fire for the third of five divisional games.  After a slow first half in last year's contest, the Pioneers completed a furious rally to win 21-18.  Trailing 10-0 heading into the fourth quarter, we scored 21 straight to take control of the game.  We gave up a late score, but sealed the victory when Scott Beecher forced a fumble that Rich Renteria returned to the Prairie Fire one yard line.  We kneeled out the clock and earned a nice road win.  Hopefully the 2015 contest is less dramatic!

After the home contest against Knox, the Pioneers will hit the road once again, traveling to Monmouth to take on the Scots.  A traditional MWC power, it will be interesting to see how the departure of long-time head coach Steve Bell will affect the Scots.  Before Bell's arrival, Monmouth was near the bottom of the league on a yearly basis, but since have strung together a sustained run of success matched only by St. Norbert.  Two of our biggest recent wins have come over Monmouth though, and hopefully 2015 is another!
We finished with a big win on Senior Day in 2014, looking to do the same against Lake Forest in 2015
The Pioneers will celebrate Senior Day with their final home contest against Lake Forest.  After two straight frustrating trips to the north shore suburb of Chicago, we are looking to turn the tables on the Foresters in 2015.  The weather played quite a role in the 2014 contest, as we took an early 7-6 lead playing with the wind.  After switching directions for the 2nd and 3rd quarters Lake Forest took advantage and built a 28-7 lead.  We were able to cut into the lead with one fourth quarter score, but it was too little, too late.  We should be fired up and ready to go in 2015, celebrating our seniors on Rosenbloom for the last time and playing for a higher seed for the crossover weekend.  It should be an exciting day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The GC Pride Campaign Continues This Friday and Saturday

The GC Pride Campaign that began this past fall during Pioneer Football’s home contest against Cornell College continues this Friday and Saturday as Grinnell hosts the Midwest Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship.  The Pioneer tracksters are excited to host the rest of the conference teams for a championship meet, and they are expecting to have peak performances at the right time, but they are also eager to do their part to further the GC Pride Campaign.  For a reminder, the Pride statement is below:

The GC Pride Campaign is an effort formed out of the belief that athletics should represent the many identities of Grinnell College and the surrounding world.  With the NCAA core value of diversity through a commitment to create and support and inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student-athletes in mind, we have partnered with the Stonewall Resource Center, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Office of the Intercultural Engagement & Leadership and Athlete Ally.  The athletics department is committed to presenting opportunities to compete and learn that are inclusive of individuals representing all sexual orientations, gender identities, races, religious and cultural beliefs.  The GC Pride Campaign offers to us a moment as humans, Grinnellians and global leaders to take action and set the tone for an entire cultural conversation.  Together, we are stronger!  The GC Pride Campaign enables the many voices of the Grinnell community to join together in solidarity under a single message: “Athletic fields, teams and competitions are a safe space for everyone.”

A lot of time, effort, and thought went into that statement, and it does a great job articulating the type of atmosphere we’re trying to create and promote here at Grinnell College.  There are two things I’d like to emphasize though, that I think are very important.  The first point is that the Campaign is not the answer, it’s not the end-game, but rather it’s the start.  It’s our way, as a department of faculty, staff, and student-athletes, to say we are willing to engage in these discussions and we want our teams to be an environment where healthy dialogue can happen.  We realize that no Campaign is going to magically make everything ok, but we also want to make it clear that we’re ready and willing to engage in the difficult conversations and we’re willing to do what we can to make Grinnell as a whole, and our athletics spaces in particular, a safe place for all. 

The second thing I want to emphasize is that the Campaign is not aimed or directed at any certain group, but rather at all of us.  The language used in the statement (“inclusive of individuals representing all sexual orientations, gender identities, races, religious and cultural beliefs”) is the correct language, but it can sometimes lose it’s meaning.  To make it more real, what we are saying is that our athletic spaces should be safe whether you’re straight or gay.  It means we’ll welcome you whether you’re a man or a woman, or whether you identify anywhere else along the gender spectrum.  It mean’s we want you on our team whether you’re black or white or tan or anywhere in between.  It means you’re welcome to worship as a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim.  It mean’s we’ll embrace your background whether it’s of European decent, or African, or Asian or Hispanic/Latino.  The language may not be right, but the sentiment is genuine.  The GC Pride Campaign is our way of saying no matter who you are or where you’re from, or how you identify, we want you to be a Pioneer and we’ve got your back.

If you’re in the area this Friday or Saturday, stop by the Field House at the Bear Recreation and Athletic Center and come cheer on the Grinnell Pioneer men’s and women’s track and field teams.  You’ll see some incredible student-athletes who represent every one of the qualities I just mentioned, and who represent the best of what Division 3 athletics has to offer.  It’s going to be a great weekend!


Monday, February 23, 2015

Pioneers Announce 2015 Schedule

The Pioneers are looking forward to the 2015 season and the opportunity to add a few more notches in the win column.  In the second, and final season of divisional play, our schedule will be the same as last year, with the location of the games flipped.  With the departure of Carroll University following the 2015 season, the schedule will look significantly different in 2016. 

Zach McGriff scores his first career TD against Beloit
The non-conference portion of the season will kick off with home contests against Beloit and Luther, September 12th and 19th respectively.  Against Beloit last year the Pioneers started slow and dropped a close game 23-27, our first loss against Beloit since 2009.  The Buccaneers will once again have a game under their belt before we play them, but the emphasis this year will be on starting fast and avenging our loss. 
Emmi Sandoval keeps his balance to score vs Luther
Following the Beloit game, we host in-state opponent Luther College, and their triple-option attack.  Luther's offense provides a challenge, but one we look forward to.  A big second quarter won the game for Luther last year, but the teams were an even 21-21 in quarters one, three, and four.  We're looking for a more consistent level of execution from both sides of the ball in the rematch this year.

Rich Renteria's scoop and score provided a spark against Macalester
The next two games on the schedule are the crossover games against opponents from the northern division.  We will travel to St. Paul to play rival Macalester College.  After a close 21-16 victory over us last year, the Scots ran off seven straight victories to win the conference.  They will obviously be heading into the 2015 season full of confidence and momentum, but ideally we will have established momentum of our own by that point.  This is definitely one of the more anticipated matchups of the season. 

David Ternes celebrates one of a school record 4.5 sacks vs Lawrence
We follow up the Macalester game with another home contest against Lawrence.  With a new head coach it will be interesting to see what the Vikings look like next year, but we are excited to be facing Lawrence at home.  In my time as the head coach we've averaged 32.3 points per game against Lawrence at home and only 25.3 on the road.  We're looking to add to that home total this year.

The rest of our schedule will be against our southern division opponents.  I'll preview those later in the week.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Two-Sport Athletes: Follow Up

Ed Hardman in the 60 Meter Prelims at the 2014 Indoor Conference Championship
After our first two indoor track meets of the season, our two-sport guys are starting to have an impact.  Though most of them haven't run competitively for at least a year, if not two or more, they're starting to get their track legs.  A current look at our all-time top ten list shows the impact they've had already.  Hopefully more to come!

60 Meter Dash
#2 Ed Hardman  7.17
#4 Yuki Kawahara (BB) 7.38
#6 Jonathan Braun  7.53
#7 Joe Galaske  7.57
#10 John Mertes  7.60

200 Meter Dash
#7 Ed Hardman  23.30

Ed Hardman is also on the #5 all-time 4x200 team.

Congrats to these guys.  I fully expect these lists to look a lot different in three weeks, after our indoor conference championship meet.  Keep up the good work!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Quick Plug for Multi-Sport Athletes

I'm linking to the blog of another coach and athletic director, as I appreciate his comments about multi-sport athletes:
I'm 100% in favor of participating in two, or even three, sports in high school.  I'm even in favor of multi-sport athletes at the division 3 level.  A quick look at our roster shows quite a few multi-sport athletes:

Zach McGriff: sophomore wide receiver - golf
Jacob Bernholtz: sophomore running back - baseball
Ed Hardman: junior defensive back - track and field
Aamir Walton: senior wide receiver - basketball
Graham Fisher: junior punter/kicker - baseball
Kent Hoover: sophomore defensive back - track and field
Jacob Beecher: junior defensive back - baseball
Jonathan Braun: sophomore defensive back - track and field
Joe Galaske: sophomore defensive back - track and field
Ibuki Ogasawara: sophomore defensive back - track and field

Saturday, January 24, 2015


With the lull between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, the controversy surrounding the New England Patriots under-inflated footballs has taken on a life of its own.  Whether you think the Patriots are one of the better franchises in NFL history, and that this is being blown way out of proportion or whether you think this is the latest example in a long history of cheating, chances are you're tire of hearing about it.  Either way, from the point of view of a former tight end and quarterback with smaller hands, an under-inflated football can indeed be easier to throw and catch, but Brady started the second half 9 for 9 with properly inflated balls, so I don't think it made a bit of difference in the game (I'm sure you've already heard that too).

Instead of commenting further about the controversy, or about the proper inflation of footballs, I'm here to argue that a player's mindset is more important than the actual ball or any other circumstances.  As evidence, I present to you Pioneer Football's own deflate gate. 

In early 2012 we were hosting a heavily favored Monmouth team on a grey and overcast day.  We had upset Monmouth on their home field in 2010 and they had beaten us soundly at our place in 2011.  Heading into the 2012 matchup they were heavily favored once again. 

Leading up to the game we'd left the game balls with the officials as always, and continued with the warmups.  As the team was heading to the locker room at the end of warmups, our QB's and WR's coach came up to me and said the officials had taken the balls because they were under-inflated and had "pumped them up way too hard."  Our QB and several of our receivers also came up to me, "coach, the balls are way to hard, they're slick, they're very hard to handle."  They were all upset.  I told them to head to the locker room and that I'd talk to the official. 

I went over to the bag of game balls and they did seem pretty hard.  The official came over and insisted they were at the correct level, and that I needed to leave them alone, so I left for the locker room to join the team.  Once I got inside I could see the coaches and the skill guys looking to me or an answer.  I told them to relax, I'd talked to the official and he'd taken quite a bit of air back out and that they were just like our QB liked them.  I honestly didn't think they'd buy it, but they did.  We went on to play our best game of the season, upsetting Monmouth 21-7.  Our QB, Sam Poulos completed 28-35 passes for 240 yards and 3 td's, and our best WR Cody Weber had 15 receptions for 165 yards and 2 td's.  Weber was named to the team of the week and was the Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Week.  One of the td passes from Poulos to Weber was the Play of the Week: Play of the Week.

As I said earlier, the mindset of a player is more important than circumstances (ball, weather, opponent, etc.).  Our guys thought the ball was how they wanted it so it was no longer a distraction and they could focus on the job at hand. 

And as one final footnote, I don't think I ever told Sam or Cody or Coach Bell that I might have fibbed to them a little before the game.  Hope you guys don't mind!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pioneers Place Nine on the Dean's List

Nine Pioneers were named to the Dean's List after the fall semester, the most in one semester since I've been tracking it.  The previous high was four in the Spring of 2011 (Drew Blumberg - BioChem, Seth Howard - Psychology, Chris Jarmon - English, and TJ Schaid - BioChem).  It is also important to note that nine Pioneers represents over 20% of our roster.

In order to be named to the Dean's List an individual must maintain a semester GPA of 3.75 or higher while carrying 16 credits, 14 of which must be regular letter-grade credits.  The recipients this semester were:

Scott Beecher '18 - Undeclared
Joe Galaske '17 - Undeclared
Eddie Guen-Murray '15 - Biological Chemistry
Ed Hardman '16 - English
Harrison Hoegh '18 - Undeclared
Matt Medrano '17 - Undeclared
Ibuki Ogasawara '17 - Undeclared
Will Rebelsky '17 - Chemistry and Math
Greg Ruzich '16 - Biological Chemistry

It's important to note that Jacob Beecher (Dean's List in the Fall of '13 and the Spring of '14) and David Ternes both also met the GPA requirement, but didn't meet the credit requirement.

Congratulations to all of you.  It is great to see you continue the tradition of the true student-athlete at Grinnell College.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Welcome to 2015! Who Are Grinnell College Athletes?

Who are Grinnell College Athletes?  And what does it mean to be an athlete at Grinnell College?  Current seniors Abby Goreham and Alysia Horcher, along with junior two-sport athlete Ed Hardman, set out to answer those questions for their final project for Organization and Administration of Athletics.  They interviewed several coaches within the department, and this video is their answer:

Nice work by Abby, Alysia, and Ed!  I think you captured it well.  #GCPride

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ternes and Renteria in the D3 Senior Classic

Rich Renteria and David Ternes will be taking the final snaps of their college careers this Saturday at 12:30 Eastern at the D3 Senior Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC.  The game is part of the College Development Football League, and features some of the top players from all of Division III.  The game will be livecast at:  

Please take the chance to support Richard and David one more time.  GCPride!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

More Honors for Ternes

Ternes with the INT on Senior Day
 With the conclusion of a decorated career, David Ternes received yet more national recognition.  Ternes was announced as a second team all-region player by, the second time in his career Ternes was recognized as all-region (he was a third team selection in 2012).  This week he was also recognized as a Cliff Harris Award Finalist, the second year in a row he has been named a finalist.  The Cliff Harris Award is for the top defensive player in small college football.  David is one of only 18 Division III players named as finalists, and the only from the Midwest Conference.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Value of a College Football Program

Right now the news is full of stories that have become very politicized, but at the root of them there are real people whose hurt and pain is real.  The events in Ferguson are a prime example of this.  At times it is hard to remember that behind all the protests and demonstrations and conversations about our society, there are real people who have suffered a great loss. This post is not about Ferguson, there is no way I could do justice to that, but rather about another situation that is beginning to take on a life of it's own, the future of the UAB football program.

Many of you are likely not aware of the situation, but UAB football has no games scheduled beyond 2016 and have not signed any coaches to contracts beyond 2016.  Despite requests for statements of support, the Athletics Director and the President have made no public comment on the rumors of the pending termination of the program.

In the past few weeks many prominent UAB football alums penned a letter to both the President and the AD in support of the program, and yesterday there was a well organized demonstration outside the President's office.  The team has even received support from the governor of Alabama.  Again, as the issue has grown, it's easy to forget there are real people at the heart of the issue, student-athletes who are privileged to play at the Division 1 level, but who have also given much time and energy to their craft to represent their University in the best way possible.  The following letter to the President was written by the current senior class for UAB.  It is a great reminder of the passion and unity of a football team:

To Dr. Ray Watts:

As the college football season comes to a close and teams begin to measure their accomplishments, this should be a time for celebrating our progress and dreaming of what we can achieve next. Instead, our team, and all of the student-athletes at UAB, have been left to wonder if our future is about goals, growth, and vision – or if it is about quitting.

For several weeks we have lived and played under a cloud of rumors about the future of the football program at UAB, even as we fought to become bowl eligible for the first time in ten seasons. From our own athletic director and president we have heard no vote of public support. Nothing at all except for questions about whether we can perform at a ‘level of excellence.’
We have been left to wonder about our future as, game by game, we got closer to accomplishing goals for our university that most considered impossible heading into this season.

 So we ask you, Dr. Watts, where is the excellence in that?

While we have had no support from our president or athletic director, the support from everywhere else has been overwhelming. We have seen our former players rally around us to raise money and urge you to fight for UAB. We have seen the Mayor of Birmingham and the City Council stand in unison and speak out about the value of our program time and time again as they pledged their support and finances.

We have been uplifted by the business leaders in our community who rallied around us and told you that when we win, all of Birmingham wins. We have felt the continuous support from our fellow students, our professors, our alumni, and Blazer fans as attendance at our games grew almost 150% this year. And we have been driven by the support from our own coaches who have shown us the very meaning of the word commitment as they have fought for this university and for us even as their own livelihoods have grown more and more uncertain.

We are honored to play for all of these people.

So if everyone is for us, Dr. Watts, who exactly is against us?

Every one of us has fought for UAB football all year long. Many of us have fought for UAB football every day for the last four years. When we were recruited, we were sold on the very best of what UAB can be, and how UAB would in turn, make us our best. We believed in UAB then, and we believe in UAB now – which is why we will not stop fighting for what is right.

So we ask you to provide the leadership and direction we need. Stand up for your students and alumni. Stand alongside the businesses, leadership and people of Birmingham. And fight for us.
Or, with all due respect, look us in the eye and tell us you don’t believe in us.

The UAB Football Senior Class of 2015 on behalf of the UAB football team

I love this letter and the emotion behind it.  I'm rooting for UAB and their students and student-athletes.  I hope the University will do the right thing and continue to field a team.  However this turns out, I'm thankful for the letter penned by the seniors, and for reminding all of us of just how much passion and emotion is involved when you're part of a close-knit team.  I'm thankful I'm part of one here at Grinnell!  Good luck UAB and Go Pioneers!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Black (Swarm) Friday!!

From the Pioneers Black Swarm Defense.