Friday, September 2, 2016

Pioneers to Open Saturday at 1:00

After a spirited and energetic pre-season, we're headed into tomorrow's opener with great excitement.  This year's team understands the challenges ahead of them, and they're to Meet the Challenge!  Looking forward to a great year!

See the season preview here.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

One of Twelve!

The Pioneers will be honoring one of our own, swimmer Joshua Tibatemwa, at halftime of our season opener this Saturday.  Representing his home country of Uganda, Tibatemwa was one of twelve Division 3 athletes to compete at Rio.

Congratulations on your accomplishments thus far, Joshua!  More to come!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

2016 Pre-Season Camp

Classes started this morning, so we're now officially done with our pre-season camp and we're now looking ahead to our opener against St. Olaf, Saturday, September 3.  While the players and coaches are looking ahead, let's take a look back at the start of camp, and our first annual Midnight Madness Pioneer Combine.
I loved starting the season in such a high-energy and exciting way, and I've been pleased at the way they've sustained that high all pre-season.  I'm loving the energy of this team right now!  2016 is going to be fun!  #GCPride #2016Pioneers

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Coaching Staff To Return Intact

As I was eating breakfast this morning I was catching up on some emails and watching Mike & Mike in the morning.  Greeny and guest host Buster Olney were discussing the Rooney Rule and the NFL's poor track record of hiring coaches of color.  The more I heard them talk, the more grateful I became that I coach where I do, and that I coach with the people that I do.  I'm part of a talented and diverse athletic department, and between football and track & field, I'm part of two incredible staffs.  I'm particularly proud of the staff we've assembled for the football team, which returns virtually intact from last year (we lost our three student-assistants, who have all moved on to bigger and better!).

Grinnell College prides itself on having students from every state, plus around fifty different countries (that number varies year to year obviously) and our athletic teams often reflect that diversity.  This year we will have players from fifteen different states, from New Hampshire and New Jersey in the northeast, to Florida, Georgia and Louisiana in the south.  From Iowa and our core midwest states, to Colorado, California, and even Hawaii out west.  We will even represent three different countries, with players form Japan and Brazil! As the head coach, I do my best to assemble a staff that reflects the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of the guys on our roster.  Of course every coach in the country would like a bigger staff, but I am extremely happy with the men we have coaching our team.  I believe they reflect the students we're coaching, I believe we're helping them grow on the field and off, and I believe we're open to learning from our players, just as they're learning from us.  And perhaps just as importantly, we've got tremendous continuity.  I'm looking forward to a great year of working with this team and this staff!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Register for Pioneer Football's Summer Visit Days

It's that time of year, time for Pioneer Football's Summer Visit Days.  This year we're hosting two visit days, July 23rd for rising seniors only and July 26th, open to all prospects.  Both visits will start at 10:00 AM and will conclude mid-afternoon, depending on when your individual meeting is scheduled.  Register for the visits here:

I hope to see you on campus soon!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Six Named Academic All-Conference

Six student-athletes from the Pioneer Football team were honored as Academic All-Conference for the 2015-16 academic year.  To earn the award you must letter in your respective sport and maintain a 3.33 grade point average for the entire academic year.  Six honorees is fewer than we've had in the past, but given our smaller roster this past season, it's impressive.  One in five guys that participated this past year were tabbed as Academic All-Conference, two of whom were previously named to the Dean's List at Grinnell.

The honorees:

Ed Hardman - Senior Outside Linebacker from Chicago, IL (recognized twice each for football and track and field, also named to the Dean's List twice)

TR Jones - Sophomore Quarterback/Safety from Goldthwaite, TX (first time recognized)

Matt Medrano - Junior Defensive Lineman from Wichita, KS (third time recognized)

Ibuki Ogasawara - Junior Defensive Back from Okinawa, Japan (recognized twice each for football and track and field, also named to the Dean's List four times!)

Sam Poulos - Senior Quarterback from Glen Ellyn, IL (second recognition)

Greg Ruzich - Senior Wide Receiver from Frankfort, IL (third recognition)

Congratulations men!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ritter Wins Primary

Former Pioneer linebacker Pat Ritter '08 won the Democratic primary election in Iowa State House District 55, covering parts of Winneshiek, Fayette, and Clayton counties. His campaign platform involves fully funding public schools, passing a clean water initiative, and improving programs for small business startup and growth. Pat lives in West Union with his wife Chandra and two children.

The Iowa Starting Line blog recently ran a story featuring Ritter, which you can read here:

Good luck Pat!  Keep up the good work!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Pioneers Lose an All-Timer

The Pioneers recently lost one of their all-time greats, running back Nick Ryan.  A member of the class of 1955, Ryan played in an era when offenses were less dynamic than those of today, and a quality back was of utmost importance.  He certainly fit the bill, finishing the 1954 season as the #12 rusher in the country, setting the single game rushing record in the process.  Ryan finished as Grinnell's single-season and career rushing leader.

Many current Pioneers were able to connect with Ryan in the fall of 2014.  Long overdue, Ryan was inducted into the Grinnell Hall of Fame in August, and we were able to hear of some of his exploits at a social gathering later in the fall.  It was great to hear from one of the all-time greats, but also comforting to hear that players of that era experienced many of the same high's and low's we do today.

Nick remained a fixture on campus and in the community, and his smile and energy will be missed.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Summerfest and Grinnell Games

After ten long days on the road at camps across the country, I returned home Saturday evening in time to join my family for the very end of Summerfest.  I wish I'd been able to catch more of it, as well as the Grinnell Games which took place earlier in the day.  I feel very fortunate to live in a place with such a sense of community.  Looking forward to the rest of a fun and exciting summer in Grinnell!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Track Alum Honored as Co-Coach of the Year

Jacqui during her running days
One of the best parts of my job is seeing the great things our alums wind up doing.  Many are powerful doctors, lawyers, and businessmen and women.  However, I always hold a special place for those who wind up in education, and coaching in particular.

One of those is Jacqui (Vautin) Krueger, class of 2013.  Jacqui ran cross country and track for us, and was a fixture in our athletic department.  There wasn't a person in the department that didn't have a positive relationship with Jacqui, from coaches to administrators, from support staff to our student-athletes, everybody knew Jacqui.

It was no surprise when she pursued a career as a teacher, and even less of a surprise that she got into coaching as well.  After moving to Randolph High School, she was given the opportunity to serve as the head coach.  Jacqui led both her boys and girls teams to great finishes, and was named Co-Coach of the Year for the Huntsville Metro Area.  I'm sure it's just the beginning for her, I hope she'll continue to coach, mentor, and guide our youth for many years.

Congratulations Jacqui!  Well-deserved!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Grinnell Swimming and Diving Coach Honored

Earlier this spring Grinnell Swimming and Diving coach Erin Hurley was presented with the Richard E. Steadman Award by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.  The award is presented annually to the coach who "does the most to spread happiness" in swimming.

The way in which Coach Hurley runs her men's and women's teams is something to be both admired and emulated.  Hurley's teams have achieved unparalleled success, winning a combined 29 MWC team titles in her time, earning team academic all-american recognition every year, and keeping a healthy perspective about all of it.

Congratulations Erin, you're setting the standard for the rest of us!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Grinnell College Reunion and Scarlet & Give Back Day - Update

Grinnell College hosted the second annual Scarlet & Give Back day this past April, and it was a huge success.  With over 3,300 unique donors giving close to $285,000, and one generous (and anonymous) alum making good on the challenge they issued, the College brought in close to $1.4 million in one day!

I mention these gifts today for two reasons.  First, because our annual alumni reunion kicks off tomorrow, and my class is one of those invited back to campus.  We are part of the 15 year cluster ('00, '01, and '02), and my wife and I will likely both have many classmates and friends on campus this weekend.  My summer camp season actually kicks off tomorrow as well, so I'll miss the festivities, but the people of Grinnell are truly what separates us from other schools.  We come from across the globe to central Iowa for a world class education, and we end up forming lifelong friendships in the process.  It's always great to reconnect with old friends at reunion, but Grinnellians find a way to stay connected on a daily basis by giving back in a number of ways.  The Scarlet & Give Back numbers are one indicator of this.

I also mention it because I've recently gotten the numbers back for football in specific.  Alums are asked to give to the College in any way they see fit, and the football team benefited nicely in the form of designated gifts.  Twenty-eight alums gave a total of $3771 in one day!  Immediately following the campaign, we received another donation of $3000.  These donations will go directly towards making our student-athlete experience better, and for that we're very grateful.

Thanks so much to those who give of their money, but also to those who give in other ways.  As the head coach of the Pioneers, I truly feel great support from our alums, and I know I can count on continued support.  Thank you all!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Filmer Alex Odom Receives Fulbright Scholarship

Alex Odom '16 with Coach Roberts and Coach Blalock
Much of the reward of coaching at Grinnell College is the opportunity to meet amazing young people, the next generation of change-makers.  Fortunately for me, that is not simply limited to the football or track athletes I coach, but rather that includes almost every student I come in contact with.  Over the years we've been very fortunate to have great support and help for the football team, and one of those was Alex Odom, class of 2016.  Alex was a filmer for us her sophomore and senior years, missing as a junior while she studied abroad as part of the Grinnell in London program.  Shortly before graduation, Alex learned she would be returning to London, and Queen Mary University, as part of her Fulbright Scholarship.  Alex will be studying history for a year in London, before returning to the states to pursue her PhD in history at the University of North Carolina.  As I said, I'm fortunate enough to get to know our next generation of change-makers.  I can't wait to see the things Alex will do with her PhD, and the impact she'll have.  Read more about Alex below.

Congrats Alex!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Morrissette Recognized as Abe Rosenbloom Award Winner

Senior linebacker Barrett Morrissette was recognized as the 2015-2016 Abe Rosenbloom Award winner.  Barrett was announced as the winner at our postseason football banquet, but was also recognized at the Honor G ceremony during graduation weekend.

Barrett played running back for us for two years before switching to linebacker his junior year.  We had a need on our defense, and he filled it.  He played very well on the defensive side of the ball the past two seasons and was rewarded with a first-team all-conference selection and all-american recognition from the Collegiate Sports Network.  As pleased as I was to see him honored in such a way, I was even more pleased to see what type of leader Barrett became, and what type of student he turned himself into.  The best is yet to come for Barrett Morrissette!!

Congrats man, and good luck!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Graham Fisher Named Theophilus '51 Award Winner

Tim Hollibaugh, Graham Fisher, Jacob Bernholtz, and Jeff Pedersen at the GOAL Ceremony
Pioneer punter/kicker and pitcher/first baseman Graham Fisher was named the David Theophilus '51 Award winner at the Honor G Ceremony this past Saturday.  Fisher graduated from Grinnell as arguably the best punter/kicker we've ever had, and he is certainly the most decorated.  He was named our special teams MVP three times, all-conference three times, Dick Ullrich Most Outstanding Back for 2015, and 2nd team all-region by  He has received similar accolades for baseball as well: all-conference three times, South Division Pitcher of the year, and 2nd team all-region by

Congrats on the fine career Graham. Best of luck to you Fish!!


Monday, May 23, 2016

Ed Hardman Wins George B. Critchett '25 Service Award

Senior Ed Hardman won the George B. Critchett '25 Service Award for the men's teams.  Ed earned  twelve total varsity letters in his time, four each for football, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field.  Here are my brief remarks from the ceremony:

Ed is one of the more surprising athletes I’ve ever worked with.  From the first time I met him as a skinny sprinter from Chicago and he indicated that he also wanted to play football, to his willingness to shift from a 100-meter specialist into a 400 meter runner, to his “bulking up” to play linebacker, and finally to the mentorship role he played with our younger sprinters on both the men’s and women’s teams this year, Ed has been full of surprises.  If you know him well though, one thing that is not surprising is that he’s returning home to work as a teacher at a brand new Kipp School in Chicago.  They don’t know it yet, but those children have just won the lottery.  They could not be more fortunate than to have Ed Hardman as a teacher, mentor, and role model. It’s been a pleasure Ed, every step along the way, congratulations and best of luck!

Ed was also featured in the senior edition of the Scarlet & Black newspaper.  There is no online link, but you can read it below: