Posted by: petemangurian | June 20, 2012

Columbia Football: All In

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

Our Team was at work again this past Saturday. Columbia Football Junior Day 2012 was a great success. Prospects and parents got a first hand look at who we are, and how we do things. As in any endeavor, vision, preparation and a commitment to a common goal were the precursors to this success, but that wasn’t even the best part.

The single most powerful statement made last Saturday was that the Faculty, the University Administration and the Football program are a team in the development of this program. The collective knowledge, efforts and actions of these three groups are our most powerful tool in our evolution. Any message that infers a division or a disconnect between the three branches of this program is absolutely false, as evident by the action of all those involved Saturday. Leave all those excuses and stories in the Hall, we have moved on.

Our first objective was to put together a group of prospects that allowed us to spend time with each young man and his family. We avoided the issues of some of our competitors who boast of huge numbers, but spend little or no time with these families individually. Our most important commodities at Columbia are the people involved and committed to the entire development of each young man in our program. I have said numerous times, recruiting is a process – we evaluate the recruits and they evaluate us. “Us” is Columbia University, not just Columbia Football.

The efforts and commitment of Faculty like Dean of Columbia College Jim Valentini, Chair of the Faculty Athletics Committee, Patricia Grieve, Dean of Academic Affairs, Kathryn Yatrakis, Assistant Dean Megan Rigney and Professor Susan Elmes, all come with expectations that we will support and hold accountable each and every player on our team as it relates to their academic responsibilities. We take that responsibility very seriously. Our efforts in the development of each player only begin with his arrival on campus.

Director of Admissions Peter Johnson, and Assistant Director of Financial Aid, Pam Mason addressed the “realities” of recruiting. Peter and Pam play their most important roles completely separate from one another, but their decisions are based on accurate, open evaluation of the facts concerning each prospect. Peter expects us to do our due diligence on each young man we present for his evaluation. Peter evaluates and decides on an applicant’s ability to not only succeed, but also thrive and contribute at Columbia. Pam Mason believes that she has the “best job in the world.” She gets to make it possible for each student to receive an education and experience a University that will change their lives.

Our Enrichment Services team lead by Senior Associate Athletic Director Jackie Blackett, along with Jessica DePalo and Jesse Hendrix, addressed our academic support and career development programs. We are committed to creating a four-year opportunity for every athlete in our program. We are committed to creating the opportunity for each of our players to develop the confidence, the contacts and the abilities to integrate into whatever field or career they choose. We are committed to the opportunity, but it is up to each individual to take advantage of these opportunities. We are confident that by maximizing the four years of opportunity that we present, we have provided a road map for success for the next forty.

There are more people who played their part in this event, our athletic trainers, doctors and nutritionist. Our current players and athletes from other teams helped us throughout the day. Our sports information department, our facilities team, our equipment staff and our coaches all played their parts. Our Athletic Director Dianne Murphy provided support and resources every step of the way. When it’s all said and done, this was a team effort, and that’s the best part.

There are those who will say that all of this has nothing to do with winning and losing. That all that matters is what happens on the ten Saturdays in the fall. Wins are the goal, what we are working on here are the methods, building a program. We are creating long-term strategies that will be refined and adjusted as the situation dictates. There are still a few strategic moves that we will make before August 18th; there is still some foundation work to be done. The product will be a testament to the combined efforts of the team, and the commitment of so many that see the value in what we are creating.

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