Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pioneers in the News

It's been a few weeks, but I'd like to return to the theme of Pioneers in the News.  It's an exciting, but volatile time in America, something new and big seems to happen on a daily basis, or even multiple times on the same day.  It can be confusing to sort through all of it, but one journalist helping us weed through it all is 2006 Grinnell grad, and fellow History major Ben Jacobs.

Ben first became a household name in late May when, working as a reporter for The Guardian, he was body slammed by then Montana House candidate Greg Gianforte (Gianforte has since plead guilty to misdemeanor assault).  Though I'm sure he would rather not have been cast into the spotlight in this manner, I hope people will now take time to notice Jacobs' reporting.  He's done a fine job in his role with the Guardian, and remains a consistent voice in these wild political times.

Keep up the great work Ben!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Pioneers in the News

It has been an eventful past week or two, both nationally and here at Grinnell, and our alumni have been at the forefront of a lot of it.  Over the next week or so I'll be profiling some of the highlights.

To kick things off, Grinnell's commencement speaker this year was comedian and 2001 grad Kumail Nanjiani.  Kumail's fame has steadily grown, likely boosted by his role on HBO's Silicon Valley.  This summer he'll be starring in The Big Sick, a semi-autobiographical story he and his wife wrote together.

Kumail covered a wide range of topics in his address, both serious and hilarious.  The line that got the best reaction was his take on how to ensure you'll be on the right side of history when it comes to the immigration debate in this country, and is at the beginning of this clip:  Again, Kumail covered a lot of topics in his address, and my personal favorite was cut out of this highlight.  I don't have it word for word, but it went something like this, "so I encourage you to seek out people, thoughts, and opinions different from yours.  Listen to it, absorb it, oppose it if you feel it's wrong, but let it affect you."

Great call Kumail!  That's a Grinnell experience summed up in one line.  Thanks for a great address to our graduating class of 2017, and to all of us Pioneers!  #GCPride

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Recruiting Class of 2017: Elijah Griffin

Elijah is a defensive lineman from La Salle High School in the Los Angeles area.  We've been waiting for this one to come in for a while, Elijah is a very good player!  The strength of this recruiting class is the defensive front, and Elijah is a big part of it.  We've already noted the additions Alex Ross and Tom Henehan, both of whom we're very excited about, but adding a third big body, and especially someone of Elijah's talent, will make a huge difference on our defensive front.

Like several of our recruits this year, Elijah has played on both the offensive and defensive line.  He is a powerful run blocker and is quick on his feet in pass protection.  However, his greatest strength is as a defensive lineman.  He has the size to swallow up a double-team, the quickness to get penetration in the backfield, and he uses his hands effectively enough to get a very good pass rush.  We're excited about Elijah!!

Elijah's highlight:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Recruiting Class of 2017: Nat Jordan

Nat was a starter as both an offensive and defensive lineman for Cape Elizabeth High in Cape Elizabeth, ME.  As a senior, he helped lead his team to a 10-1 record and a birth in the regional final.  We're very excited about Nat's quickness off the ball on defense and his mobility as a guard.  He is an adept puller, and he'll fit well with many of our offensive schemes.  He's another valuable piece in what looks to be one of the most deep offensive line groups we've brought in, we're very excited to add him to The Drove!

Nat's Highlights:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Recruiting Class of 2017: Tom Henehan

Tom is a defensive lineman from Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park, IL.  Tom was a starter on a 5A state championship team as a junior, and a second round playoff team as a senior.  He's used to playing with, and against, some of the best in the state of Illinois, and he's ready to come in and compete immediately.  Tom's size, strength, and versatility in the defensive front make him a great addition to our defense.  The Black Swarm just got a lot better!!

Can't wait to get you aboard Tom!  #GCPride

Tom's Highlights:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

2016 Postseason Awards - Ibuki Ogasawara

Senior kicker/defensive back/multi-sport athlete Ibuki Ogaswara was named this year's recipient of the scholar-athlete award.  This is only the second-year we've awarded this, and Ibuki definitely fits the criteria.  He's been named to the Dean's List several times and has been named Academic All-Conference every year he's been eligible.

On the field, Ibuki has grown from someone who was just learning the game to our starting kicker and a solid option at defensive back.  He is also an all-conference performer in track and field, as both a pole vaulter and a triple jumper.  Ibuki has already secured a position with Amazon.  Starting  in the United States this summer, Ibuki will then return home and work for Amazon Japan starting late in the fall.  Congrats on all you've accomplished so far Ibuki, and best of luck the rest of this spring!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

2016 Postseason Awards - Carson Dunn

Junior Carson Dunn was named the winner of the Troy Barboza Most Courageous award.  Troy played at Grinnell in the mid-80's, and upon graduating had taken up a career in law enforcement in Hawaii.  In October of 1987, Barboza was scheduled to testify as part of a large undercover sting operation, when he was murdered by another drug dealer.  The Pioneers have honored the memory of  the fallen officer by naming a Most Courageous player each year.

Based on his service to the campus community, as well as his play on the field, Carson Dunn made for a worthy recipient of the Barboza award.  Carson is a member of Grinnell SALSC (Student-Athletes Leading Social Change), he presented at the Apple Conference and to the Grinnell College community on ways to use student-athletes to promote sexual respect, and he was voted a team captain in December.  On the field, Carson was arguably the most versatile player we had this past year.  He took snaps at tight end, running back, slot receiver, quarterback, kick returner, and (believe it or not!) cornerback.  We're hoping he'll be able to focus his efforts on a single position this year, but Carson rushed for 371 yards and 2 td's, including two 100-yard rushing performances, and caught 28 passes for 262 yards and another score.  He also averaged over 18 yards per kick off return and recorded 12 tackles on kick and punt coverage.  Carson was obviously very busy last year, and the courage and determination with which he played was evident to all on his own team, as well as his opponents.  He is a worthy recipient of the Troy Barboza Most Courageous award.

Friday, March 10, 2017

2016 Postseason Awards - Jeff Keele

The Service Award is named for long-time Dining Services worker Lyle Bauman, who passed away in the spring of 2014.  Lyle used his role in Dining Services to become a friend to all, impacting all he came in contact with.  His entire working career was dedicated to our students; connecting with them, helping those in need, and bringing a smile to the face of all.  I'm not doing him justice, but Lyle epitomized service, and beginning in the fall of 2013 we felt it appropriate to honor him by presenting a service award to the Pioneer who most epitomized his approach to life and service.

Sophomore defensive end Jeff Keele has been named the 2016 Lyle Bauman Service Award winner.  Keele is the Student Athlete Mentor for our team, has aided greatly in organizing on-campus visits and hosting recruits, has been a major participant in several football-specific and department-wide service projects, and has been named as one of our captains.  His attitude and work ethic have helped him develop into a fine defensive player, and his tireless work on campus and within the team have made him a valuable asset.  Thanks for all you do Jeff!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2016 Postseason Awards - Grant Koch and Ethan Lahn

Seniors Grant Koch and Ethan Lahn were the co-recipients of the Abe Rosenbloom Award for the most outstanding offensive or defensive lineman.  The pair have been our starting tackles for three straight seasons, and as seniors they led us to our best rushing season since 2004.  Grant's career started slowly, as he missed the majority of his first year due to injury.  As a sophomore he played a few series in the first game, and started the second game due to injury.  He never relinquished the spot, starting the rest of the career and developing into a fine right tackle.  Ethan transferred in for his sophomore season, and started every game for the past three seasons.  Both continued to improve throughout their careers, and both will be tough to replace.

Congrats men, and best of luck moving forward!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

2016 Postseason Awards - Ryan Slager

Sophomore linebacker Ryan Slager followed up an incredible first year, in which he finished third in the country in total tackles per game, with an even better sophomore season.  Finishing with 154 total tackles, Slager led all of Division 3 as a Sophomore.  This total was also good for the third best single season in Grinnell history.  For his efforts, Slager was recognized as a Second Team All-Conference linebacker, and was named the Dick Ullrich Most Outstanding Offensive or Defensive Back.  Congrats to Ryan, and here's to even bigger and better things next year!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2016 Postseason Awards - Jacob Bernholtz

Senior running back Jacob Bernholtz capped the finest season of his career by being named 2nd team all-conference.  Despite missing two games and most of a third, he still rushed for 703 yards on 131 carries, good for a 5.1 yards per carry average.  That is the highest single season total since 2006 (Sean Pfalzer, 725) and the highest per-carry average since 2005 (Nate Wineinger, 5.5).

In addition to his fine career on the gridiron, Bernholtz hopes to finish out his athletic career with a conference championship with the Pioneer baseball team this spring.  Congrats on a fine career Bernie, and best of luck this spring!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

You Are Welcome Here

Grinnell College Office of International Student Affairs released this video a little over a week ago.  We've got a strong international population on campus, including several from the seven countries affected by the recent Executive Order, and we believe it's important to us that they know they are supported here at Grinnell.

Happy to be a part of this project and thankful to be part of such a strong, supportive campus.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Recruiting Class of 2017: Packard Otto

Packard Otto is an offensive tackle from University High in Normal, IL.  He played on both the left and right side this year, and also has experience as a guard, so he's yet another versatile player that can fit in any number of ways.  He is also an accomplished wrestler.  Ranked in the top-5 in his weight class all year, Packard is looking to cap his high school career with a state championship.  Good luck Packard!

Highlights here.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Recruiting Class of 2017, Superbowl Edition: Marco Kamimura

Marco Kamimura highlights our Superbowl Edition of the Recruiting Class of 2017.  Marco is a cornerback from Detroit Central Catholic, one of the best teams in the state of Michigan.  Marco is a great cover corner, which everybody likes, and an avid fly fisher and fly tier, which his head coach definitely appreciates!  Can't wait to get you in Grinnell Marco!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Recruiting Class of 2017: Trent Mayfield

Trent Mayfield is the latest member of the Pioneers recruiting class of 2017.  He's yet another versatile athlete, playing both wide receiver and defensive end at Campbell Hall in California.  He helped lead his team to a 7-3 record by catching touchdowns and sacking opposing quarterbacks.  That's a rare combination of skills, and we're very excited to have him aboard.  Check him out in action here.

Welcome aboard Trent, can't wait to get started!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Recruiting Class of 2017: Dan Jaques

Dan Jaques is a versatile athlete that could play wide receiver or in the slot, and also long-snapped for his team.  Dan played for the Hopkins School in New Haven, CT where he helped lead his team to a 6-2 overall record.  Dan is yet another piece of the puzzle that we found on the east coast, and this is by far the most success we've had in that region.  We're excited about Dan and can't wait have him aboard.

Congratulations Dan!  #GCPride

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Carson Dunn Presents at NCAA's Apple Conference

Junior running back Carson Dunn was one of four Grinnell College student-athletes that attended the NCAA's Apple Conference in Charlottesville, VA.  The four Pioneers, along with Jennifer Jacobsen, Director of Wellness and Prevention and Prevention and Outreach Post Bac Colton Silvia, were also invited presenters at the Apple Conference.  The group presented on "Student Athletes as Campus Leaders in Sexual Respect Promotion and Substance Abuse Prevention."

Congrats on the great work Carson!  It's great when we can be Pioneers on the field and off!

Friday, January 6, 2017

This is What It's All About - Gary Kubiak

Karl Mecklenburg (left) and Kubiak with Elway (right)
Ben Westfeldt, a former Pioneer who is now coaching at Rampart High School, shared this on his facebook page.  It is a message from Karl Mecklenburg (one of the all-time greats for the Denver Broncos, and one of my all-time favorite linebackers) about his former teammate Gary Kubiak.  Mecklenburg does an amazing job of honoring his teammate, putting into words some of the many ways to be a leader.  I think all of us can agree we'd like have these words written of us when we hang up the cleats or hang up the whistle.  Please take a moment to read:

The 1983 NFL draft is referred to as “the year of the quarterback” and is considered one of the strongest drafts in NFL history. The Denver Broncos had thirteen rookies make their team that year including me and their choice at quarterback Gary Kubiak. Gary was a ninth round pick out of Texas A&M but the Broncos expected him to challenge Mark Herrmann for the backup role and eventually replace Steve DeBerg as the starter. Gary had been a four sport high school star in Texas, twice named to the all-state football, basketball, baseball and track teams, and had put together an outstanding football career as an Aggie. Athletic and smart he was going to be the Bronco’s future at quarterback.
Kubiak came to Denver in June with the rest of us rookies to work out at the team facility, get to know his future teammates, and prepare for training camp. In July the Bronco’s brought rookies and a few nonstarter veterans to rookie camp. This was the week before the veterans joined them in Greeley and reported to training camp. Gary was a star at rookie camp with his accurate passes and his quick mastery of Dan Reeves offensive system. Then to Gary’s’ surprise the Bronco’s pulled off one of the NFLs biggest steals in history. They traded quarterback Mark Herrmann and their 1983 first round pick Chris Hinton to the Baltimore Colts for the first pick of the 1983 draft, future Hall of Famer John Elway.
 To Gary’s credit he competed with John instead of pouting. When it became clear that John would be the Bronco’s franchise quarterback Gary realized that he could still be a leader on our team. He prepared as if he were going to play in every game and developed a solid friendship with Elway. They supported each other by talking between offensive series letting each other know what they saw the oppositions defense doing. Gary and John roomed together at training camp and on the road. Elway’s leadership qualities are well documented but Kubiak’s leadership may have been even more impressive. There was no fee agency in the NFL in the 1980s so unless the Bronco’s traded one of them, or John got hurt, Gary wouldn’t play in games. From the outside it looks like he spent his whole ten year career languishing in Elway’s shadow, but he embraced his role of helping John excel and became a valuable team leader.
Gary was always prepared when John was injured and his precision short passing game confused opposition defenses who had prepared for Elway’s strong arm and scramble game. Not only would Kubiak learn the offenses’ game plan each week, but he would also take the extra time to study opposing quarterbacks’ tendencies. Throughout the week in practice Kubiak would show our defense individual decision making and release points of the quarterback we would face in the upcoming game. Gary also came up with game day rituals to support his teammates. After stretching and before the coin toss Gary would shake my hand and say “hold up the class Meck”. It was a little thing, but it reminded me to take advantage of and enjoy my opportunity to play. I knew if our roles were reversed and I was standing on the sidelines holding a clipboard, Gary would be giving his all on the field.
 Big things like leadership are a combination of little things. Leader is not a title or an assignment, it’s a choice. Gary consistently and clearly showed his commitment to our team’s success. The Denver Broncos were a much better team and won more games because of Gary Kubiak’s leadership. Working with and studying under Dan Reeves, Mike Shanahan, Chan Gailey, Raymond Berry, Jim Fassel, Joe Collier, and Wade Phillips, Gary learned the game of football from the sidelines.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Recruiting Class of 2017: Nick Pero

Nick Pero is an offensive lineman and long snapper from MaxPreps High School National Champion Bishop Gorman.  Nick has experience as a center (junior year) and as a guard (senior year).  He also brings another strong option at the long snapper position, and a team can never have enough of those!

I'm excited to have Nick joining us next fall.  Besides fighting for the long snapper position, Nick provides valuable depth on the offensive line, and will bring a wealth of winning experience.  I hope that becomes a common theme across the recruiting class of 2017, that we're bringing in guys that have been a part of a winning program or part of a program that made a dramatic turnaround.  I'm excited to keep adding to this recruiting class and to get the entire team working together in August!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Recruiting Class of 2017: Reed Winter

Reed is looking excited to sign on that line
Reed Winter is a defensive back and running back from Hanover High School in Hanover, NH.  Reed helped Hanover improve from a 2-win season last year to a 9-2 season and an appearance in the state semi-finals in 2016.  He was named first team all-state as a running back and was invited to play in both the New Hampshire All-State game and the New Hampshire vs Vermont All-Star game as a cornerback.
Heading for daylight
I love Reed's combination of speed and toughness, and I always like guys that are versatile players.  I also love that he helped his high school team make such a dramatic turnaround, and that he wants to be part of another turnaround here as a Pioneer.  Can't wait to get you on board Reed!  Highlights here: