Friday, June 26, 2015

It Is So Ordered


Powerful stuff.


On the Road (yet) Again!

There are a million things to love about being a college coach, especially at Grinnell College and especially when you coach such a wide range of student-athletes on both football and track and field teams.  It's rewarding to help them through their struggles and celebrate in their successes, not just in the realm of athletics and not just during their time at Grinnell.  For many of them, their four years at Grinnell is just the beginning of a lifelong relationship, and for all of them the great things they do at Grinnell are far surpassed by the even greater things they do after.  It's great to be a part of such an amazing "family."

As many things as there are to love about my job though, there are a few drawbacks.  As much as I enjoy getting out on the road and visiting different places and meeting new people, it is always hard to leave home.  I mean, look how much fun these two are!

You wouldn't want to leave either!

They're very supportive though, always sending me off to thumbs up and lots of encouragement.
"Go get 'em, Dad"
So, USATF Clinic in Chicago and New England Elite in Boston, here I come!  And don't worry ladies, I'll be home for the 4th of July parade and fireworks.
4th of July, 2014


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sophomore Pioneer Also Taking Courses Through Harvard Busines School

TR Jones returning an interception
Sophomore safety and quarterback TR Jones has recently been approved to participate in a program that offers supplemental courses through Harvard Business School.  This past spring Grinnell College was selected as one of only seven liberal arts colleges nationally that have entered into an agreement with Harvard.  According to the release, "CORe is an online program, consisting of approximately 150 hours of learning, for students and early career professionals to learn the fundamentals of business on a highly engaging and interactive platform designed by Harvard Business School faculty."  The agreement with Harvard is yet another example of Grinnell retaining its core philosophies as liberal arts college, while also pioneering new ways for our students to learn and to separate themselves from the competition.  I'm excited that TR was approved for the program, and wish him the best of luck!  Congrats TR!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Dean's List

The second semester grades have been released and the Pioneers continue to do well.  The team GPA remained over 3.0 for the semester, and three Pioneers were named to the Dean's List.  First year quarterback Harrison Hoegh, and sophomores Ibuki Ogasawara and Will Rebelsky all earned over the required 3.75 GPA for the semester.

Hoegh delivers a strike in the final game of the year, a 52-14 victory over Lawrence.
Hoegh is still undecided on his major, but he was named to the Dean's List in both the first and second semesters.

Ogasawara shows his form on a long jump at the Indoor Conference Championship.
A Math major, Ogasawara also earned Dean's List in both the first and second semesters.  Ibuki also had a strong track season, placing in the triple jump at both the Indoor and Outdoor Conference Championship meets.

Rebelsky giving Hoegh time to throw.
Rebelsky was also a two-sport athlete for the Pioneers, competing as a swimmer during the winter.  Never one to take the easy road, Will is a double major in Chemistry and Math, yet he has managed to keep his GPA high.  He was also named to the Dean's List in both semesters, and several previous times as well.

Congrats to Harrison, Ibuki, and Will.  Keep up the good work men!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Pioneer Football Alumni Profile: Tom Cole

Tom Cole '71, Congressman-4th District, OK
Junior defensive lineman Matt Medrano is spending his summer in Washington, DC, interning for United States Congressman Tom Cole, of Oklahoma's 4th District.  Cole is a member of the Pioneer Football family as well, having played for the Pioneers from 1967-70.  He was a member of an undefeated freshman team in 1967, and enjoyed winning seasons in both 1969 and 1970.  It's great to have a current Pioneer working for a former one, and I've asked Tom to write of his experiences as he got into politics.  Here's what he had to say:

I left Grinnell with the intention of being a history professor. I was a far better scholar than football player, winning both the Thomas Payne scholarship which goes to the outstanding senior history student at Grinnell and a Thomas Watson Fellowship for a year of independent study abroad. While I eventually got my Ph.D and was a Fulbright scholar at Queen Mary College at the University of London, my life turned in a different direction. Thanks to my mom, who served three terms in the Oklahoma State House, three in the State Senate and a stint as the mayor of our hometown in Moore Oklahoma, I wandered into politics almost by accident.

Starting with her first winning House race in '78 I began running campaigns. Frankly I found they reminded me of team sports, something I always loved. Indeed a watch party is a lot like a locker room after a hard fought game. People have come together and cooperated to achieve an objective. The bonding that goes on in that common endeavor reminded me of of the way I felt in high school and college after a game or a season. I loved the folks I had fought and toiled with and I usually came to respect my competitors, too. They had gone through the same experience. And, in politics like sports, they do keep score and there are winners and losers. But in either victory or defeat you learn valuable lessons and form lifelong friendships.  

Over the years I have played this game from just about every angle. I have been a campaign staffer, worked for a congressman, served as a state party staffer and as a state chairman, sat in the state senate in Oklahoma and served as Secretary of State, on two occasions I was the top staffer at two of the major GOP national political campaign committees, I was a very successful consultant and I still own a piece of the successful firm I helped to found 26 years ago. Of course the last 13 years the Fourth District of Oklahoma and the House of Representatives has been my focus. It has been a great ride. But the habits, the attitudes and the lessons I learned on football fields had more to do with whatever success I have had in politics than anything I ever learned in a classroom.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Grinnell to Host Summerfest Today

Headlined by Pyrotechniq, "Chicago's premiere fire troupe," Grinnell College is hosting a day long celebration and learning opportunity today.  Open to the community at large, it looks to be a fun day of hands-on activities for all.

See the article for a list of activities: http://www.grinnell.edu/news/summerfest

If you're in the area, make a point to stop by!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Camp Season Begins!

From Des Moines to Atlanta, and Atlanta to Ft Lauderdale, then on to the South Florida Select Clinic.  From the looks of the student-athletes who have already registered for the camp, this is going to be a good one!  I'm looking forward to seeing some of the best student-athletes in Florida, Georgia, and the rest of the south.  I'm hoping there are a few Pioneers in the group!

We will also have coaches at the following camps:
Chicagoland Showcase at Northwestern University
David Shaw Football Clinic at Stanford University
New England Elite in Boston
Washington University in St. Louis

Looking forward to a productive summer!

Monday, June 1, 2015

2014 Post-Graduate Report Released

Each year the Office of Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) produces a post-graduation report.  I've just received my copy of the report for the class of 2014 and it is impressive.  Just as Grinnell students come from a diverse background, they also have diverse destinations upon graduating from Grinnell.  The report is loaded with information, but here are a few quick things I found interesting.

Seth Howard spent the past year volunteering for Mid-Iowa Community Action as part of Grinnell Corps
1.  Roughly 60% of the class has entered straight into the job force, with 23% continuing their education, and 13% involved in service or volunteer activities.

Max Keller is working as a lab technician at Eurofins Nutrition Analysis Center in Des Moines.
2.  The graduates who entered directly into the workforce are doing so by choice, not by lack of options, 88% have a position that is related to their career goals.

TJ Goetz is working as an analyst at Principal Financial in Des Moines.
3.  Of those that are currently employed full-time, the average yearly salary is $42,743.  The top 10% of those average an impressive $89,167!  Whoa!

Andrew Clark is working at Koch Industries in Wichita, KS.
4.  Among those who are currently continuing their education, 40% are pursuing a PhD.  Grinnell has traditionally been in the top five for most PhD's per capita, and it looks like the trend is continuing.

Manager/Filmer Steph Haines just completed her Masters in Higher Education at Harvard

Track standout Christine Ajinjeru is pursuing her PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Tennessee
Congratulations to the entire class of '14.  Keep up the great work!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

David Ternes and Alysia Horcher Recognized at the Honor G Banquet

Each year Grinnell College athletics honors its graduating student-athletes at the Honor G banquet.  Each graduating senior that lettered in a varsity sport is recognized, and those that earned three letters in a single sport, with one of those being in their senior year, are awarded an Honor G blanket.  It is a nice memento recognizing years of dedication to a sport and to a team.  The department also hands out its major award winners at this time. 

As a department, we reserve the right to present a Coaches Award on the occasion that there is an outstanding individual that deserves to be recognized.  It’s important to note that we do not present a Coaches Award every year, in fact, it is a rare occasion that we agree to recognize someone in this way.  It was my great pleasure to award two of them this year.


The first went to a woman who has served the entire department, and all of our student-athletes, for the past four years.  She has served in the training room with Sylla Lowther and Jason Kofoot, she has provided pictures for Ted Schultz in Sports Information, she has been a valuable member of the Pioneer Diversity Council with Justin Thaxton and Ben Cooprider, she has been a manager for Erin Hurly and Tim Hammond and the men’s and women’s swimming teams.  And, most importantly to me anyway, she has been a filmer/manager/photographer/and self-described “team mom” for the football team.  She has been a tireless supporter of all Pioneers, constantly celebrating the achievements of all our student-athletes.  In the words of one of our parents, “she’s a keeper!”  We’re going to miss you greatly, but we all want to express our gratitude for you contributions.  Thank you so much, Alysia Horcher!



The second Coaches Award went to David Ternes.  David has been one of the best, and most decorated defensive players we’ve ever had.  David was a three-time all-conference player, a two-time all-region linebacker as named by d3football.com, and a two-time pre-season all-american by the USA Football Network.  David was named the Conference Player of the Week twice, and was named to the d3football.com Team of the Week once.  At the conclusion of the season he and fellow linebacker Rich Renteria were invited to play in the D3 Senior Classic, they are only the 3rd and 4th players to earn that honor.  I could go on, but awards and statistics don’t do him justice.  Put simply, to see David play linebacker is to see desire personified.  If you have a football in your hands, I’d watch out, because David’s coming for you.  Congrats on a great career David, it’s been a pleasure!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Big Weekend for Pioneer Athletics

Tomorrow marks the last day of classes for the semester, but it is also the start of a big weekend for Pioneer Athletcs.

The men's tennis team will be traveling to LaCrosse, WI to face Coe College in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.  The men's team is in the middle of one of the more dominating streaks of any team in any sport in the Midwest Conference, having won the team title for twelve consecutive years!  Good luck to coach Andy Hamilton and the Pioneers as they take on Coe.
Ed Hardman is too fast for the focus!
The men's and women's track teams will travel to Ripon, WI for the Midwest Conference Outdoor meet.  The men finished in fifth place at the Indoor Championship meet in late February, while the women finished sixth.  Nate Kolacia and Eloise Miller were both named Outstanding Performers of the Meet, Kolacia due in part to victories in the mile and the 3K and Miller for victories in the long jump and triple jump.  Kolacia will attempt the difficult triple of the 800, 1500, and 5K this weekend, while Miller looks to defend her crowns in both jumps.  She will also be running the 400 and the 4x400.  Pioneer footballers Ed Hardman, JB Braun, and John Mertes will join with Dixon Romeo in both the 4x100 and the 4x400 relays this weekend.
JB always looking smooth
Finally, the baseball team will stay in Grinnell, hosting the Midwest Conference tournament.  It was announced this morning that Ian Sales was the Southern Division Pitcher of the Year while Matt Hammond was the Hitter of the Year.  Tim Hollibaugh, who moonlights as the defensive line coach for us, was named Southern Division Coach of the Year for the fifth time in the past six seasons.  Graham Fisher, who was the first-team all-conference punter this past fall has matched that with a nod as the first-team all-conference designated hitter.  The Pioneers will face St. Norbert in the opening round Friday.

Fisher shows the concentration that led to a .377 average, with 7 homers and 31 rbi
Good luck to all the Pioneers this weekend!  #GCPride

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ternes and Desjardin Named to Hampshire Society


Seniors David Ternes and Clayton Desjardin were both named to college football's Hampshire Society.  Recognition is given based on cumulative GPA, contribution on the field, and team leadership.  Ternes and Desjardin are the thirteenth and fourteenth Pioneers to have earned the honor since 2010.  Congratulations guys!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Senior Greg Ruzich Tells of his Experiences in Australia

Greg Ruzich at the top of Hall's Gap at the Grampians in Victoria, Australia
Thus far my experience in Australia has been everything but ordinary. The variety of events I've attended, difference in academic experience, and the sites I would never see in Iowa have all contributed to a semester to remember.

There have been plenty of events to go to while I've been here. I've dressed like the respected and dearly missed Steve Erwin at a "stereotypical Australia" themed event, been to barbies on the beach, spent evenings on the Yarra River in toga attire, and gone to concerts of bands composed of entirely Australian musicians. These different functions and events have certainly added to my experience here but it has been the people I have met at these places have made them truly enjoyable.

My school experience is nothing like that of Grinnell. The sheer size difference was, at first, almost overwhelming: switching from a campus with 1,800 students to one with over 40,000 definitely required some getting used to. The campus here at the University of Melbourne is beautiful but you don't get the same sort of close-knit community feel that you do at Grinnell. However, it has been great being able to take courses I wouldn't be able to at Grinnell like Human Physiology, and being able to learn about Australian culture like in my Sport and Education in Australia course. It has certainly been a different experience as my Physiology lecture seats 600 students. At Grinnell, the largest course I've taken had maybe 35 students. So the differences in my educational experience have definitely been striking.

All this has been great to experience but isn't necessarily unique to Australia. However because of the flexibility of the program I've been able travel to some of the more beautiful areas of the country.  I've seen Sydney's Opera House and Bondi Beach just outside of Sydney, I've rock climbed and hiked in the Grampians, and cliff jumped into the beautiful Port Phillip Bay. Also, the city of Melbourne where I am studying is stunning. The architecture is abstract and modern with one building even showing the face of an aboriginal man if viewed from the correct angle.

Overall, the land of the 'roo has certainly treated me well and I'm excited for what the rest of the semester has in store but I am excited to get back to the states, see my friends and family, and get my final season as a Grinnell College Pioneer football player underway.  #GCPride

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!