Senior citizens get rowdy
When the women’s volleyball players arrive on campus, they may be leaving their families behind, but a new family awaits them: the Senior Rowdy Raiders. These folks are way more than just a built-in fan base and cheering squad.
    It all started when Ellis Rowland ’57 met volleyball head coach Ryan Baker at the Colgate fitness center five years ago. Working out on neighboring elliptical machines, the two struck up a conversation, and by the end, Rowland had agreed to attend a game the following weekend.

(Photo by Ashlee Eve ’14)

    “We were hooked,” Rowland recalled of the time he and his wife, Suzee, went to their first game. The couple encouraged friends to join them, and soon, they had formed a group that has now grown to approximately 50 alumni, spouses, and community members.
    The Senior Rowdy Raiders attend all home games and travel to some away games to root on the team. (The Rowlands even flew to Texas for the 2012 NCAA tournament.) The group dons special maroon T-shirts and has its own cheers. “When we go on road trips, we give the home team [supporters] a challenge in terms of being louder than they are,” Rowland said.
    “We just went to Bucknell, and these guys were the loudest,” Coach Baker confirmed. “Our Senior Rowdy Raiders were taking on their fraternities in cheering!”
    In addition, the group has hosted a welcome-back barbecue for the team and coaches, pizza and sledding parties, and a reception for the parents. “This is particularly good for the parents of new players because they get to know us and the parents of returning players,” said Rowland.
    “The parents thank us a lot for our support, and we thank them because we’re having so much fun and their kids are keeping us young,” he added. “I’ve had parents tell us that we are part of the reason their daughter is coming to Colgate, because they know we’re going to take good care of her.”
    Baker called them “grandparents to these kids and to Kristin (Baker’s assistant coach and wife) and I.”
    Because no one bakes cookies and brownies like a grandma does, the group also makes goodies to sell for fundraising at the cancer awareness games.
    Baker added, “They inspire me.”

In October, 14 rowing alumni from various classes and locations teamed up to race at the Head of the Charles Regatta, the largest regatta in the United States. Their men’s eight placed 26th out of 42 and men’s four placed 44th out of 50. James Clinton ’11, who coordinated the effort after being approached with the idea by head men’s rowing coach Khaled Sanad, crowed, “The important part is that we beat the Yale alumni crew!” (Photo by Sportgraphics)

Uplifting athletes
Colin Hayward might be small and shy, but he wields a mighty emotional punch. The 6-year-old survivor of ependymoma, a rare type of brain cancer, was a special guest of the football team in October. His visit took place in advance of the team’s first Uplifting Athletes Awareness Game on November 2, which highlighted the group’s support to help cure ependymoma. Team members have raised more than $20,000 for the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network over the last two years.

(photo by Bob Cornell)
    “To be able to see Colin in person was something special,” said tailback Jimmy DeCicco ’ 15. “This hits home for us because we’ve been raising money for this disease and a lot of the guys didn’t really know what it was all about.”
    Colin and his father, Ian, made the trip from Ithaca. Ian spoke to the team before practice and relayed Colin’s medical history and special moments of inspiration. The first-grader was diagnosed with ependymoma at age 2.
    “Any time you take up a cause, you want to do something to be reminded of the goodness that results from coming together,” Ian said. “That raising money can be turned into something as incredible as giving a little kid his life back, that’s special.”
    “[Colin] was told he would never walk again and never be able to talk — and he was out here playing football with us,” DeCicco said. “Colin’s message to us was to never quit. After all he’s been through, if that doesn’t tell you not to quit, then I don’t know what will.”
    Colin and his family were honored at the Uplifting Athletes game against Bucknell (Colgate lost 28–7).
    “We’re really excited Colgate has adopted this cause and adopted Colin onto the team,” Hayward said.

Olympic medalist visits
In November, the swimming and diving teams welcomed Olympic medalist Kim Vandenberg to Lineberry Natatorium for an interactive discussion and to be part of training.

(photo by Bob Cornell)
    In addition to discussing her Olympic quest, Vandenberg talked about how she prepares for a race. “Having the opportunity to hear her discuss her approach to achieving goals through visualization was quite motivating,” said Morgan Cohara ’16. “Our afternoon with Kim Vandenberg was nothing short of inspirational. She has achieved so much and in so many different ways.”
    In 2008, Vandenberg was a member of the bronze medal–winning U.S. team in the women’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay at the Beijing Summer Olympics. She also won a silver medal at the 2007 World Swimming Championships in the women’s 200-meter butterfly.
    Vandenberg, who started swimming when she was 8 years old, has been competing for 20 years. She qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials when she was 16 and swam against some of the best competitors in the country. She has earned numerous National Championships and World Cup victories.
    Her visit to Colgate was one stop along the way as she travels all over the world to train.
    “Anytime you can listen to someone who has already accomplished many of the goals that you have personally set for yourself, it is very inspiring,” said Andrew Hacker ’16.
“Hearing her talk and having her swim with us also gave many of us a little extra motivation to keep working hard.”

Student-athletes shine in graduation rates
For the second year in a row, Colgate’s NCAA graduate success rate held steady at 98 percent, tying for best in the Patriot League and fourth nationally.
    Only Brown, Dartmouth, and Notre Dame finished ahead of Colgate, which was joined atop the Patriot League by Bucknell, Holy Cross, and Lafayette. Schools rounding out the top 10 nationally and also scoring 98 percent for the most recent year were Davidson, Duke, Harvard, and Yale.
    “Our ninety-eight percent graduation success rate is a testament to the high caliber of student-athletes our coaches are recruiting to succeed both academically and athletically at Colgate,” said Vicky Chun, director of athletics. “This is an accomplishment our entire department and institution is very proud of, as it is the direct result of the hard work and commitment given to our student-athletes by our coaches, academic-achievement staff, and faculty.”
    Nineteen of Colgate’s 21 varsity sports in the study registered perfect graduation scores (Colgate has 25 varsity sports, but the GSR combines cross country and track and field teams into one sport). This was one more perfect team score than a year ago.
    Colgate’s federal graduation rate of 88 percent tied for seventh nationally. The federal graduation rate, while less inclusive than the NCAA’s, provides the only measure of historic academic comparison between student-athletes and general student body. By this standard, student-athletes consistently outperform nearly all their peers in the student body.
— John Painter

Biddle retires
Colgate’s winningest head football coach, Dick Biddle, has announced his retirement after 18 stellar seasons and seven Patriot League titles. He leaves a legacy of championship play, outstanding mentorship, and the class and dignity recognized nationwide as Colgate football.
    Biddle stepped down as the Fred ’50 and Marilyn Dunlap Head Football Coach. Associate Head Coach Dan Hunt will become the 29th head coach in school history on July 1.
    “I’ve had a great run here and accomplished many coaching goals,” Biddle said. “This is the perfect opportunity for my wife and me to begin a new chapter.”

(photo by Bob Cornell)
    Biddle, who just turned 66, retires as the winningest coach in Patriot League history. He compiled a 137-73 (.652) overall record and won three out of every four conference games he coached, finishing 81-27 (.750) against league competition. The Raiders legend also finishes 39-10 against the Ivy League, and matches the great Andy Kerr for Colgate football coaching longevity.
    “Dick’s list of accomplishments is great, but what’s truly amazing is that he always acted with the utmost sportsmanship, humbleness, and class,” said athletics director Vicky Chun ’91, MA’94. “He’s a man of few words, but when he does speak — whether it is a subtle joke or a life lesson — we all listen. His inspiration reached from the football field to the classroom to life after Colgate.”
    Former quarterback Ryan Vena ’00 attested to Biddle’s role as a mentor. “He always preached about overcoming obstacles, and this is still ingrained in my head today,” Vena said. “I have so much to thank him for, not only with helping my football career, but also off the field. He deserves to be in the College Football Hall of Fame.”
    In 2012, Biddle was named Patriot League Coach of the Year for the fifth time while guiding the Raiders to their seventh Patriot League title and seventh appearance in the NCAA playoffs.
    Biddle achieved the best winning percentage of any Colgate coach with seven or more years at the helm. He also is the first Colgate coach to ever record nine straight seasons (1997–2005) with seven or more victories. In addition, 2012 marked his 14th campaign with at least seven victories.
    A season that will be long remembered is Colgate’s 2003 run to the national championship game. The Raiders won their first 15 games — three in the NCAA playoffs — and Biddle was named the American Football Coaches Association Division I-AA National Coach of the Year.
    “For a non-scholarship program with the highest academic standards to compete for a national championship speaks volumes about what that team was made of,” Biddle said. “That’s something I will never forget.”
    Luke Graham ’05, Colgate’s all-time leading pass catcher, said: “The championships, accolades, and accomplishments of the program over the years are a direct reflection on his ability to bring together a group of people and help them find the chemistry of football success.”
    Biddle’s duties officially run through the end of the academic year, but Hunt assumes all responsibilities for recruiting, spring practice, and preparations for next season. Hunt just completed his fourth season as associate head coach and seventh as offensive coordinator. He has been the offensive mastermind behind Colgate’s recent winning ways. In 2012, the Raiders were one of the nation’s most prolific offensive units, leading the Patriot League and ranking in the top 10 nationally in nearly every major offensive category.
    “He has an excellent reputation on campus, the players admire him, and he knows what it takes to be successful at Colgate,” Biddle said. “You have to be yourself and put your trademark on a team, and I’m sure he will do that.”
— John Painter

Lacrosse supports soldiers
A former lacrosse player led the way for Raider athletes past and present to participate in the Sixth Annual “A Run Down Hero Highway.” Michael Crown ’10 recruited several Colgate lacrosse players to run the 5K event for the Lead the Way Fund on Thanksgiving weekend in New York City. The fund supports disabled U.S. Army rangers and the families of rangers who have died, been injured, or are currently serving.
    Crown said that the event “is not only a great time for an important cause, but the venue also holds particular significance. On 9/11, first responders used the West Side Highway to access Ground Zero as victims were escaping north and eventually cheering them on.”
    The annual event also is a tribute to Sgt. James J. Regan, a Duke University lacrosse player who was killed by an IED in Iraq in 2007. Regan was a teammate of Crown’s brother. “Sgt. Regan paid the ultimate price in Iraq as an American hero, and this event and the fund serve to remember him and all his comrades for all they have done and do for all of us every day,” Crown said.
    Goalie Jake Danehy ’16 said that when he arrived at the race start, it was a cold and blustery day, but the excitement of the hundreds gathered was energizing. “It was amazing to see how supportive and inspired everyone was of what Jimmy stood for and the armed forces,” said Danehy, who finished in the top eight.
    This was the second time that the Raiders assisted the nation’s heroes in the fall. In October, Colgate played in Face Off for a Cause, a tournament-style lacrosse event at Siena College that raised more than $8,000 and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.
— John Painter

Quarterback Gavin McCarney ’14 (#7) completed 25 of 32 passes for 303 yards and rushed for 95 yards in the game against Albany (L 37–34). It was McCarney’s second career 300-yard passing game after the 377 he totaled in last year’s win over Georgetown. (Photo by Madeline Horner ’15)

Volleyball PL player of the year
Diane Seely ’15, who had a breakout season for the volleyball team, was named Patriot League Player of the Year. A mathematics major from Menlo Park, Calif., she was also chosen for the Patriot League All-Academic Team, and earned first team All-Patriot League honors. She’s the third Colgate player named Player of the Year, joining athletics director Vicky Chun ’91, MA’94 and Becca Galves ’92.  
     Seely finished the season third in the league in hitting (.332) and total kills (336), while standing fourth in kills per set (3.26), and sixth in blocks (0.89 per set). Having played in 109 of her team’s 112 sets, the middle blocker tallied a team-high 97 blocks (37 solo), while accounting for 25 digs. Seely was also responsible for some of the most impressive single-match performances of the season.
    Joining Seely with postseason honors was Lindsay Young ’13 and Kaylee Fifer ’13, who were both named to the All-Patriot League second team. This is the third-straight postseason All-Patriot League honor for Young, who earned first team honors as a sophomore and junior. She was a huge part of the offense and hit just over 20 percent, missing her career high by less than 1 percent. She had 234 kills on 678 attacks and her lowest number of errors since her rookie season. She added 44 total blocks, including a career-best 14 solo blocks.
    Fifer, selected to the second team for the third year in a row, finished the regular season with the most assists in the league — 1,051 — which was a career high. She was one of only two players in the league to average more than 10 assists per match. Fifer’s 1,051 assists are sixth all-time in Colgate history for a single season. At the end of the regular season, she was second all-time in career assists with 3,536.

New athletics app

Colgate athletics recently launched a new app, which allows fans to access stories, rosters, and schedules of all Raider sports from an iPhone, tablet, or Android. Live game information, including free live video, live stats, and up-to-date scores, can be at your fingertips. In addition, fans can follow Raider athletics on Twitter, view upcoming promotions, and make a gift to athletics.
    The new app follows the rollout of the free Live Stream option through the Patriot League Network, allowing fans to support Colgate athletics all over the country.
    To download, iPhone users simply search the app store for “Go Gate” and Android users can visit Google Play.

You Can Play
Colgate athletics joined hundreds of schools across the country for the You Can Play Project, a campaign to end homophobia in sports, specifically challenging an unhealthy locker room culture. A new video celebrates the diversity of Colgate students, athletes, and staff — regardless of their ethnicity, religion, race, or sexual orientation.
    The You Can Play Project was co-founded by Patrick Burke, whose brother Brendan became one of the most prominent gay figures in North American sports when he came out while serving as the manager of the Ohio University hockey team. The goal is to “make locker rooms safe for all athletes, rather than places of fear, slurs, and bullying,” Patrick told the New York Times.
    “Everyone at You Can Play Project is thrilled to see Colgate step forward and support diversity and inclusion for all who attend the storied university,” said Wade David, You Can Play executive director. “Go, Raiders!”

Kaitlin Friedli ’17 from Eagle River, Alaska, executes a reverse dive in the pike position. (Photo by Ashlee Eve ’14)

Raider Nation
Fan spotlights with Kat Castner, athletics communications assistant

Stan Krohn
The Star of Starr: Krohn, who just celebrated his 97th birthday, has been cheering on the men’s and women’s hockey programs for 22 years. As a longtime usher for the Raiders, he never missed a game, and he is still a fixture at Starr Rink.
Game: Men’s hockey; Colgate lost to #9 Yale, 5–2, 11/22/13

What makes hockey your favorite sport?
I’m originally from Canada, so I grew up with it. When we moved to the States, I brought my love of the sport with me.

What got you involved with Colgate hockey?
I’m an old New York Rangers fan from way back, and one day, my son-in-law invited me over to watch a Colgate hockey game. At first I said, “I don’t want to watch college hockey, I only like watching the professionals.” But, I ended up watching it with him, and the rest is just history.  

Mariel Schlaefer ’16
Student-athletes supporting student-athletes: The catcher for the softball team, Schlaefer believes it’s important to support other teams because it creates a sense of community throughout the athletics department.
Hometown: Brookfield, Conn.
Game: Men’s basketball; Colgate defeated St. Francis University, 81–64, 11/23/13

Why did you come out to support men’s basketball today?
I played basketball, so I enjoy watching the sport. Plus, it’s always a positive when I get to cheer on good friends of mine.

Who is your favorite player?
Murphy Burnatowski ’14. That beard… I was so sad to see it go. [Before recently shaving it off, Burnatowski became so known for his beard that fans would sport fake facial hair at games.]

What’s the best part of Colgate athletics events?
Knowing everyone on the court or field. Colgate is such a close-knit community, so it’s only normal to go and attend sporting events because the athletes are usually your good friends.

Des Cairns ’16
Stats: Men’s swimming and diving team; math and physics major
Hometown: Macleod, Australia
Game: Women’s hockey; tied Vermont 2–2, 11/30/13

Why do you enjoy women’s hockey?
This is my first game. It’s fast and physical. Plus, I know the managers and some of the players, so I get to cheer them on.

Will you attend more women’s hockey games in the future?
Absolutely! I wish hockey was big in Australia — I might have considered playing it. It looks challenging, plus they get to hit a few people.  

If you could give the team one statement of encouragement, what would it be?
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination. Keep fighting!