Monday, December 5, 2016

2016 Post Season Banquet

Sr Joe Galaske presents Coach Gene Blalock with a token of appreciation from the DB's
The Pioneers hosted their annual post season banquet last night, where we took the opportunity to recognize the efforts of all over the past year.  We also presented several major awards, including the following:
Dick Ullrich Most Outstanding Offensive or Defensive Back
Abe Rosenbloom Most Outstanding Offensive or Defensive Lineman
Troy Barboza Most Courageous
Lyle Bauman Service Award
Scholar Athlete Award

Winners will be profiled over the coming weeks.

Offensive Line taking a selfie
We also took the opportunity to honor our graduating seniors.  It is never easy to say goodbye to a group of guys that you've gotten to work so closely with over a four year period, but it's also nice when we get a chance to honor them.  I'd like to say a sincere thank you to:

Charlotte Gbomina - filmer/manager
Haley Lopez - training room assistant
Laika Lewis - filmer/manager
Jermaine Marks - photographer
Zach McGriff - slot receiver
Jacob Bernholtz - running back
Kent Hoover - safety
Joe Galaske - cornerback
Ibuki Ogasawara - cornerback
Grant Koch - offensive line
Riley Drexler - defensive line
Matt Medrano - defensive line
Ethan Lahn - offensive line

Thanks all, and best of luck!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

GC Pride Camaign - Update

This was originally posted in October of 2014, when the Pioneer Football team hosted the first contest in a year-long effort by our athletic department dubbed the GC Pride Campaign.  The brainchild of our students and staff, the campaign was an effort to show in a visible, tangible way that athletics is, and should be, a safe and supportive environment to all.  The past few weeks have been a bit of a blur, finishing up our season and trying to get a jump on our off-season recruiting travel, but I'd like to take a brief moment to reiterate our support of all our students and student-athletes at Grinnell, as well as all those who have felt under attack during the past months and weeks.

This past election cycle we've seen that our country is more divided than I could have possibly imagined.  The negative rhetoric from a presidential candidate, and now the president elect, has emboldened many to say out loud the the hateful things they've only said in their heads in the past.  That is deeply troubling, and wholly at odds with the ideals of our country and the ideals of Grinnell College.  While it can feel like an overwhelming task, I believe each of us can play a role in making folks feel welcomed and valued in our communities, and we need to find a place to start.  For my part, I want to reiterate the ideals of the GC Pride campaign, that athletics is a welcoming and supportive community for all.  I believe in the innate goodness of human kind, I do not believe that might makes right, and I do believe that kindness and goodness will win in the end.  I don't care what you look like, who you love, or who you worship, you are welcome and supported at Grinnell College, and by Pioneer Athletics and Pioneer Football. 

Tomorrow the Pioneers will be hosting Cornell College for a 1:00 kickoff on Rosenbloom Field.  It is an important game, as it is our first divisional game, our first game that "counts", and a game against one of our closest rivals.  However, it is also a game that I hope will carry importance beyond the what happens between the lines, beyond what the final score shows.  Don't get me wrong, I want this one badly and I hope the Pioneers will play up to their full potential, but I hope this game also has deeper meaning to all who attend the game and all who hear about the game.

The GC Pride Campaign is the brainchild of Justin Thaxton, Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion in Athletics, as well as student leaders from our varsity athletics teams, the Stonewall Resource Center, and Athlete Ally.  From the official release:

"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 an 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 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.""

Sometimes the meaning of things can get lost in the fancy language, so I'll just hold on to that last sentence, "Athletic fields, teams and competitions are a safe space for Everyone."  I hope we can all agree! 

I'd like to thank Justin and all of our Pioneering students and student-athletes here at Grinnell College for dreaming of this event and for making it happen.  I'm lucky to be a part of it all.  Go Pioneers! 

GC Pride!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans Day

The Pioneers celebrated Military Appreciation Day last Saturday, but would also like to take the opportunity to thank our former Pioneers that also served in the Military.  Your willingness to put others ahead of yourselves is what it's all about!  Our country was built upon that attitude, and it's one we try to instill in all our student-athletes on a daily basis.

This is likely not a complete list of former Pioneers who served, so I apologize in advance to those I have missed.  If you know of others, please email me at and let me know!

Thank You!

Peter Rhee '03

Patrick Ritter '08

Kyle Lobaugh '10
Augustus Karisch '11
Thanks men!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pioneers to Host Military Appreciation Day and MWC Canned Food Drive

The Pioneers will be hosting a Military Appreciation Day at their game against Lake Forest College this Saturday, November 5.  The game is scheduled for a 1:00 PM kickoff.  The national anthem will be played at 12:55 PM, with the colors being presented by our local American Legion.  At halftime we would like to recognize any veterans, and family members of veterans, who are in attendance.  We hope to have a strong showing!

We are also in the midst of the Midwest Conference Canned Food Drive, put on by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).  The drive runs through Thanksgiving, and the Grinnell SAAC will donate the food they've collected to the local food pantry at MICA.  If you plan to attend our game this Saturday, or Senior Day next Saturday, please bring consider bringing a donation.

Thank you and Go Pioneers!

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!