Dear Hoya Faithful,
As the fall semester winds down and we enter the holiday season, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share with you all of the positive momentum that continues to grow in historic McDonough Arena. The past seven months have been filled with celebrations of our rich history, the achievement of significant milestones and major breakthroughs that will have positive impacts on intercollegiate athletics at Georgetown University for generations to come.
Here are just a few of the major highlights in athletics since May 2014:
- Early May brought scores of alums and spouses to the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia for a 50th anniversary weekend celebration of the 1964 Dad Vail rowing championship.
- At the end of July, Frank McCourt C’75, former Hoya rower and member of the University Board of Directors, hosted a welcome celebration dinner for new men’s rowing coach, Luke Agnini.
- In early September, the Thompson Center groundbreaking and gala celebration dinner honoring John Thompson Jr. attracted hundreds of former players, alumni, fans, parents and friends.
- In mid-September, hundreds of former football players returned to campus for the 50th anniversary celebration of modern-era football, highlighted by keynote speaker and alumni awardee, General George Casey F’70, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Army and current member of the University Board of Directors.
- In late September, more than 150 former rowers, coaches, and friends gathered to celebrate the 47-year coaching career of retiring rowing coach, Tony Johnson — 27 years of which were spent on the Hilltop. On November 20, 2014, Coach Johnson will be awarded the USRowing Medal, which is the highest award given by USRowing.
- In early October, members of the 1994 men’s soccer team came together with the current coaches and team for the 20th anniversary celebration of Georgetown’s first NCAA tournament team. Click this link to view the video, which captures the spirit of the 1994 team!
- Our fall sports teams are enjoying great seasons and enter the postseason primed for tremendous success. The women’s cross country team captured the BIG EAST Championship and enter the NCAA’s as the second-ranked program in the country. All-American Katrina Coogan captured the individual title and our 19-point team total was the lowest in over 20 years! Our men’s cross country team finished second at the BIG EAST Championship and enter the NCAA’s ranked 16th nationally!
- Sailing continues to compete at a high level, having just captured the ICSA Match Race National Championship for the program’s 11th national title under Head Coach Mike Callahan! Both the Coed and Women’s teams are ranked third nationally as they wrap-up the fall season and head into the spring.
- The women’s soccer team finished in second place in the BIG EAST Conference and advanced to the league’s championship game. Senior Daphne Corboz was named the BIG EAST’s Offensive Player of the Year and the Midfielder of the Year, the first time one player has ever won both awards. The team was selected to play in the NCAA Tournament and advanced past #3 seed West Virginia on penalty kicks to face Virginia Tech in the 2nd round. This is the third-straight NCAA appearance for women’s soccer, the fourth in the last five years and the fifth in the last seven!
- The men’s soccer team continues to be among the best in the country as well. The Hoyas finished in third place in a competitive BIG EAST and were just selected to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year as a #8 seed. Sophomore defender Joshua Yaro was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and freshman midfielder Arun Basuljevic was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year.
- Men and women’s basketball made the trip to NYC on October 22 for the annual BIG EAST media day, held in historic Madison Square Garden. The women, who are guided by first year head coach, Natasha Adair, were selected eighth in the preseason poll and Dorothy Adomako was named BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year. The men were picked second in the conference and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was named the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year.
- And, finally, please follow this link to a recent article in The Hoya about the great job our new coaches are doing and the positive impact that they are having on their respective programs. In addition, head women’s golf coach, Katie Brophy, picked up her first career tournament win at the University of Delaware Invitational in October.
We have much to celebrate and to be thankful for. We also have much to look forward to. The much-anticipated Thompson Center, to be completed in the fall of 2016, is a good place to start on the facilities front. A late change in the storm water management regulations necessitated a modification to our original design. While we have lost time because of this, I remain confident that we will meet our goal of having the building completed and occupied in time for the 2016-17 academic year.
As we strive to continue to improve our facilities, we are already starting to consider how to realign and maximize the use of McDonough Arena when multiple functions move to the Thompson Center.
- Shaw Field will undergo another phase of improvements, thanks to the generosity of Ed C’66 and Irene Shaw and the Shaw family. Further improvements will include a new press box, locker rooms for home and visiting teams, upgraded concessions areas, upgraded entryways and landscaping, and enclosed seating with brick facades.
- We are updating our building plans for the Multi-Sport Field and hope to have some very exciting news to share in the very near future relative to the completion of that project.
- We are also planning upgrades to Guy Mason Field where our softball program plays.
- We continue to examine various off-campus sites for potential partnerships on establishing an athletics campus concept – a place that several of our sports could call home, with appropriate branding and community engagement.
The Washington, D.C. bid for the 2024 Olympics presents us with the potential for some very exciting opportunities. D.C. is one of four U.S. finalists along with San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston. A decision on the U.S. nomination should come within the next 60-90 days. Hoya alums Ted Leonsis C’77 and Paul Tagliabue C’62 have leadership roles on the planning committee and the opportunities for Georgetown and Georgetown Athletics are limitless.
Along with plans to continue to improve our infrastructure, we also understand and appreciate the importance and value of our most vital resource: people – supported by endowments for scholarships and coaching salaries. These form the foundation of successful and stable athletic programs and will become one of our highest priorities in the next campaign.
Our Hoyas Lead program, entering its third year under the direction of Dr. Michael Lorenzen, is already one of the best student leadership development programs in the country. As the programs and services to our students continue to grow and expand, we are already seeing significant positive results. In addition, we have increased our internal professional development opportunities for our coaches. With the environment of college athletics today becoming more complex than ever, we are committed to supporting our coaches with the tools and skill refinement necessary for them to manage through tough issues, while continuing to excel as educators, leaders and coaches.
All of these goals assume that we can count on your continued support as we head into the last two years of the current major fund-raising campaign and transition to the next. Because of your loyal support, For Generations to Come will be the most successful campaign in the history of Georgetown Athletics, with more money raised, more projects completed and more endowed scholarships than ever before. Together, we are meeting the challenges of our day and fulfilling our potential and promise. For that, we are most grateful.
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics