Student-athletes show academic success
SPORTS | The 2011-12 UD athletics season was a successful one on the playing fields for Blue Hen student-athletes, but more importantly, it was a banner year in the classroom as well.
Led by the volleyball team, student-athletes enjoyed one of the highest combined grade point averages in recent history as the 21 teams posted a cumulative index of 2.873 on a 4.0 scale.
The volleyball squad, which captured the Colonial Athletic Association title for the fifth straight year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons last fall, posted a combined grade point average of 3.387 to lead all teams.
"I am very proud of our student-athletes for their success in their academic achievements," says volleyball head coach Bonnie Kenny, whose team had its highest GPA in her 10-year tenure with the Blue Hens. "Their continued efforts for excellence on and off the court are remarkable."
Of the 13 volleyball team members, 11 posted a 3.0 or higher GPA for the entire academic year.
Nine other Blue Hen teams posted a combined 3.0 or better GPA for the 2011-12 academic year, led by women's tennis, cross country, field hockey, outdoor track and field, rowing, indoor track and field, men's swimming, women's soccer and softball. Six other teams had a GPA of 2.8 or better.
Harker appointed to NCAA board
University President Patrick Harker has been appointed to a four-year term on the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Board of Directors.
The announcement was made as part of the Colonial Athletic Association Council of Presidents annual conference meetings in June. Harker will serve on the board until August 2016.
"This is a critical time for college athletics," he says. "I am pleased to represent my colleagues and fellow CAA schools as well as the interests of FCS [Football Championship Subdivision] institutions on the NCAA Board of Directors."
Eighteen members—all chief executive officers—make up the board, with all 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences having a permanent seat. Seven FCS and Division I conferences rotate seats.
The NCAA espouses a collegiate model of athletics in which student-athletes participate in varsity sports as an avocation, balancing their academic, social and athletics experiences. The NCAA is committed to the highest levels of integrity and sportsmanship, diversity and inclusion, amateurism, competitive equity and excellence in the classroom. The association also believes in presidential leadership as the guiding force in operating athletics programs.
"I know Dr. Harker will lend another strong voice for the best interests of higher education, intercollegiate athletics and, most importantly, the student-athlete experience." says Bernard M. Muir, UD's director of athletics and recreation services.
Hall of Fame honors veteran track coach
Women's cross country head coach Jim Fischer, who has devoted more than 30 years of service to the track and field community at UD and statewide, was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame in May.
Fischer, who served as head coach of the Blue Hen men's cross country and track and field teams from 1982 until 2011 and recently completed his fourth year at the helm of the UD women's cross country squad, was one of five inductees with ties to the University.
Also inducted as part of the Class of 2012 were Jack Baly, who played basketball for UD in 1958-61; Terri Dendy, a track standout who competed in the 1988 Olympics and began her coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Delaware under Fischer; Lori Van Sickle, a trailblazing local golf professional who played softball for two seasons at UD; and John Walsh, a three-year standout in Blue Hen football in 1955-57.
For Fischer, it was his third major award of the year. He was recognized by Special Olympics Delaware in October for his 20 years of volunteer service and in March received the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association Herm Reitzes Award for community service.
Since arriving at Delaware in 1982, Fischer has been a fixture at the University and in the state running community. As an assistant professor of physical education, he has instructed many of the state's track coaches.
Hockey team skates to first national championship
The University of Delaware men's ice hockey club team won the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I national championship in March, the first such title for a Blue Hen team.
Delaware defeated Oakland University 5-1 in a game played at Hoover Arena in Cleveland and was awarded the Murdoch Cup.
UD had the first four goals of the game—with scores by Michael Piet, Christian Tasker, Christopher Volonnino and Connor Moore—to build an insurmountable lead. Junior goalkeeper S.J. Broadt was named the tournament's most valuable player.
In winning the title, Delaware defeated three of the last four ACHA champions in Oakland, Lindenwood and Davenport.
The Blue Hens reached the national championship game by defeating Lindenwood University 6-3 in the semifinals. In that game, Mark Zeszut and Nick Lepore scored two goals each for UD, while Ryan McDonald and Vinny Pontrello added the other two and Broadt recorded 29 saves.
Rowers cheered on by family, friends, alumni at regatta
The UD alumni tent at the 74th Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta was at full capacity along Philadelphia's Kelly Drive on May 12, as fans gathered to support UD's rowing teams.
The classic regatta, which features more than 3,000 athletes from 130 colleges and universities each year, also attracts thousands of rowing fans to the banks of the Schuylkill River for the two-day event.
More than 170 UD alumni, parents and friends of the men's and women's crew programs stopped by the tent to support the Fightin' Blue Hens' boats. Fans lined the banks of the Schuylkill cheering UD's crews to victory.
The men's team advanced three crews into the grand finals of the first day's racing, including the varsity lightweight eight and freshmen/novice lightweight eight, which garnered silver and gold medals, respectively. The women's team advanced two crews into the finals, with the freshmen/novice eight finishing fourth in the grand final and the varsity eight finishing sixth in the second final.
Alumni gathered from across the country to support UD. "It's always a great experience to come back to the regatta and see the success of the programs," said Dan Fitzpatrick, BE07, who traveled from New Haven, Conn. "The Dad Vail Regatta is a great way to reunite with classmates, and it's such an awesome venue for rowing."
The alumni tent was supported by the UD Alumni Association.