From the Desk of Athletic Director Glenn Hofmann
This is the fourth edition of "From the AD's Desk" for 2010-11
As a kid growing up, the holidays in the Hofmann household were truly a very big deal. Coming from a family of six kids you can imagine the amount of energy and excitement leading up to Christmas and certainly on Christmas Day. We were a big sports-minded family, and I still remember us hosting our annual Christmas Eve party for neighbors and the one particular year that had the NFL playing regular season games on December 24th.
My mom, an avid Patriots fan, actually pulled the plugs out of
our two television sets to ensure that we would take part in the
Christmas Eve festivities. She had no tolerance for why any
sporting event would be played on Christmas or Easter for that
matter. Well, you can imagine how well the conversation went when I
began working in college athletics, and I would delay coming home
for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter or I would have to leave
quickly afterwards because of a scheduled game.
I know the NCAA frustrates many people with many of their rules; but, at the Division II level, a new rule was put into place this year that will at least make my mom happy. No teams are permitted to participate in any games or practices from December 20-26. In fact, teams are not allowed back on campus until the 27th. It’s a rule that I fully supported, and actually hope we can ultimately put into place in a similar manner around other holidays. All of our sports seasons are too long, overlap too much and ultimately put too much pressure on our student-athletes.
With student-athletes away from campus for at least a week it gave our department a chance to look back on the fall season. Competitively, our winning percentage was 54% while our home winning percentage was 70%. These numbers are slightly below last year’s, but still I feel pretty good about how the fall went. Certainly women’s soccer’s second-place finish in the Northeast-10 had a lot to do with our overall success.
Academically, 52% of our student-athletes earned semester grade-point averages of 3.0 or higher, amazingly, the same percentage as last year’s fall semester. We also had ten student-athletes earn a perfect 4.0. Our goal is for our department to have a GPA of at least 3.0, and for the average to be higher than that of the general student-body. I will be able to report back on how we did in those areas in January.
Perhaps what I am most proud of from the fall semester is how our student-athletes conducted themselves on campus. As you know if you regularly read my column, our student-athletes put together a new code of conduct for this year, and the impact was very dramatic. We reduced the number of “incidents” on campus involving student-athletes from 36% last year to 19% this first semester. Given that our student-athletes represent almost 25% of the student-body, the decrease in incidents was especially impressive and gratifying, and a tribute to our Student-Athlete Council and all of our student-athletes for taking responsibility and developing a plan to accomplish the goal of better behavior.
And, while we are sharing numbers our hockey team played before an attendance figure that equaled 91.2% of capacity during the first part of the season, good for third best in Hockey East behind Vermont and New Hampshire. Kudos to our student-body, faculty, staff and the general public for their growing support; and, with the team ranked 17th nationally, hopefully, it will continue during the second semester.
Speaking of the second semester, a lot of my time will be spent fundraising. With the remainder of the new seats getting installed during the Christmas break (as well as a new entrance door to the Blue Line Club between sections two and three), attention will now turn to improving some of our other facilities. We have an ambitious goal of three particular renovations/additions this summer; but, we will only be able to accomplish these goals with your support either monetarily or by your helping us identify individuals or businesses that can assist us in improving these facilities for our student-athletes.
The three improvements are the construction of six new tennis courts on campus, the purchasing of a new gym floor that can also be used in Lawler should we desire to play some games in that venue, and additional seating and a new press box at the current turf field. These are all projects that cost in the $250,000 range, but that also can make a major impact in recruitment and the student-athlete and spectator experience.
Going hand in hand with the fundraising for these projects is the recognition that is richly deserved for several individuals. Gabe Mejail and Tony Martone have been coaching our women’s and men’s soccer program respectively for over 25 years, and Bert Hammel has done likewise for our men’s basketball program. I know through our end of the year surveys how much current student-athletes respect and admire these current coaches. And I also know in speaking with alumni of these programs, the impact each of these individuals made on the now-graduated members of those programs.
So it seems only fitting that we would name the current turf
field Mejail-Martone Field and the basketball court Hammel Court.
Believe me when I tell you that all of these coaches were
speechless (and that’s saying something) when I told them our
plans, and none of them were totally comfortable with us naming the
field or court after them while they are still coaching. Honestly,
after what they have contributed to the student-athletes they have
coached, this seems like the perfect thing to do. Our campaign for
each of these projects will begin in January, and any help any of
you can provide is very much appreciated.
Well, it’s almost Christmas Eve as I finish writing and I still have some shopping to do tomorrow; and then, of course, the wrapping of gifts, which is always problematic. That’s the update. Best wishes to you and your family during this holiday season. Thanks as always for your support, and I look forward to seeing and hearing from you in 2011.