Monday, March 28, 2011

Lucas Comes Up Short

Former Dartmouth baseball standout and jayvee quarterback Ed Lucas' bid to make the Atlanta Braves' opening-day roster ended yesterday when he was reassigned to the team's minor league camp. (link)
This story about a junior college standout from Australia heading to Alabama led me to an August story about the Aussie. If you scan down that story a bit you'll find 12 paragraphs on a Long Island standout who stands 6-foot-4, weighs 253 and supposedly runs a 4.8. He spent his junior year of high school in Israel lining up against older players, returned to the United States and won the "Jay Fiedler Award" as Nassau County's top scholar-athlete last fall. While he won an honor named after a former Dartmouth great, he's headed to Harvard. Find the story here.
The Ivy League is lucky. While membership in other conferences rises, falls and changes, the Ancient Eight remains exactly that. The Ancient Eight.

The Patriot League is a well-respected conference but football in the PL hasn't been immune from membership changes. The core five of Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette and Lehigh saw original member Davidson jump ship after three years. Fordham came aboard in 1989 and Georgetown joined the conference in 2001. Towson, a state university with enrollment of more than 17,000, was a strange addition in 1997 and stuck around until 2003.

Should Fordham take its football scholarships and go home is there a like-minded school that would be a good fit as a replacement?

Here's a choice out of left field: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. That's right. RPI. It fits the bill on several levels as a top-notch academic school of 5,394 that already plays Division I ice hockey. (Other programs are Division III.) A rivalry with Lehigh and Lafayette, with their strong engineering programs, would be a natural. And check out the school's East Campus Stadium for football. (If and when Dartmouth rebuilds its home stands it could do worse than copy what this DIII school built.)

The move to Division I/IA – which has to be across the board – won't happen in these academic times but it would be a natural.

What got me thinking about RPI and the Patriot League was the hiring of Tim Landis as the school's new football coach. Landis, of course, is the former head coach at Bucknell and Davidson.

Did you catch Virginia Commonwealth University's win over Kansas in the NCAA Tournament yesterday? VCU coach Shaka Smart (reportedly accepted by both Harvard and Yale) will be a blistering-hot commodity on the job market in another week. Curious how much he's currently making? The Richmond Times Dispatch has a database of state employee salaries and you can find out by typing in his name. Hint: It's more than I expected.

That database is addicting stuff. I found myself Googling the names of head and assistant coaches of various sports at Virginia public colleges and universities and plugging the names in just to see what a golf coach or a baseball assistant earns. Some very interesting numbers. ;-)
And finally, we dropped That Certain Hanover High Graduate is back on campus last night after helping That Certain Hanover High Junior celebrate his birthday with dinner at a Hanover restaurant last night.

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