Why Do Student Athletes Make Good Doctors ?

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There is a constant dispute within academic circles about the value of competitive athletics in colleges and universities. Many academics see the activity as a waste of time and resources, however that argument is not fact based. Do you have to be a student athlete to be a good doctor, lawyer, banker or anything else? The answer of course is no but, there is increasing evidence the best of each of those professions has benefited from their experience as a student athlete.

As a treasurer of a bank I always leaned to former student athletes when I hired… all other things being equal. Successful student athletes learn the skills of time management and teamwork. I couldn’t care less what team sport the applicant played but the demonstrated ability to juggle sports and academic requirements  was a valuable skill to consider in a prospective employee.

There is now additional studies available that confirm my more intuitive findings. The “Association of American Medical Colleges,” in an article published on February 8th in AAMCNEWS written by Jen A. Miller answers the question, ” Athletes are known for their drive and determination. So are doctors. But can you excel at both?”

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Amanda Magadan takes to the air as the Boston Goalie tries to take her out..the result was a goal

Miller relates the story of Brian Hainline MD as he interviewed for a neurology residency  at New York Presbyterian/Wiell Cornell Medical Center. The last part of the interview focused on a perceived conflict between his obligations of a students athlete and need for study.  In the end,” he was going to be the person who teaches everyone the sense of discipline and persistence.”  Hainline is now the chief medical officer of the NCAA and wants to formalize the pathway from student athlete to a career in medicine. He is partnering with the NIH to discuss a pilot project that encourages student athletes to consider professions in the medical field and attract a more diverse group of students to medicine.

There is data to suggest that students athletes who studied medicine became very successful clinicians. A 2012 study is pointed out by Miller done at the Washington University School of Medicine that studied clinicians ranked by the faculty.  I am quoting from the article, ” those who got the highest faculty ratings were those with an established excellence in a team sport.”

The AAMC Executive Vice President writes, ” So much of medicine is really about personality, or the ability to deal with people effectively, and the ability to lead people. Those are characteristics we see in student athletes who have been successful in team or individual sports.”

However, these same attributes are valuable in most any profession. A 2015 study by espenW and EY found that 80 pct of female Fortune 500 executives played competitive sports at some time in their lives , and that 65% of those on the 2017 Fortune List of Most Powerful Women played sports competitively in either high school, college, or both. Only 1% of student athletes go on to play professional sports. They become leaders in many professions.

Hainline states, “Some people believe you can’t be pre-med or be a STEM major and be an athlete at the same time.”  Hainline would be glad to know that at Lafayette we disprove that statement every graduation. It does however, beg the question are we doing our best to provide athletic experiences equal to our academic experiences?  Are colleges in general providing the resources to hire and retain excellent “coach-mentors” and is there a cooperative effort between the academic and athletic side of the institution to make the student athlete experience a valuable one? Is care taken that coaches are the equal to ALL faculty- teacher mentors?

Strong graduates eventually make strong and generous alumni, a benefit to the entire institution. This is a lesson administrators and BOT members must take to heart.

2019 Field Hockey Roots Leopards To Victory

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For the first time this year the 2019 field hockey Leopards were together in one place. New recruits joined the current team at a basketball game and the basketball team responded with a hard earned 69-67 win. The game was nationally broadcast on CBSSN as well.

Practice has started for the field hockey team and already our young women are looking forward to the late March and April spring games. Most that had injuries last season looked fit, there is still some rehabilitation to be done and one surgery was recently performed on Kara Tiedtke who hopes to return by the fall season. There is still a chance we may see more recruits before we close out the roster this June.

The team was into the whole game and during half time Hailey Abbott, one of our goaltenders, was picked for the $1,000 half court shot!  Let’s just say it doesn’t look like Hailey has a future as long shot basketball player!! Great effort though!!

The weather has been kind to the team as they have been able to get on the field already but, as Northeast weather tends to be, snow from last night is covering the ground again as I write this.

Spring is only 5 weeks away, meanwhile its time to get out my tractor to plow away some winter from my driveway.

Go Pards!!

Where Is Lafayette Field Hockey Now

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The recruiting moves are done, for the most part, and all Patriot League teams are now preparing for the spring season. For those first year players and parents, this is the toughest part of being a division one athlete. The training will be intense but the reward will be playing time in spring games. Most of the “games” will be all day affairs against multiple teams. Coaches typically move players around and experiment with new formations and combinations. The NCAA dictates time and the number of competitions. We all can be assured there will be a lot of hockey played and a lot fitness involved.

The new recruits will not participate unless they are designated “grey shirts,” those who are qualified and graduate early from high school and enroll at their college for the spring semester. It is a rare designation but it does happen. Current seniors have finished their careers, but could still participate if needed to fill a roster.  Those underclassmen who had a rough academic fall semester may not participate depending on local school rules. Likewise, those with injuries may be held out to continue their rehabilitation.

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Additional recruits could be added depending on availability. Foreign athletes are more likely to commit late, so additional names to Lafayette, American and Boston could happen as late as June.

Let’s look at the Patriot League as it stands now. Things may change after an active spring or the addition of a spectacular recruit. At the  moment, I believe our Leopards are in good shape. We are returning veteran players in key positions. It is the first time in my memory the Leopards will have a returning all American ( Lisa van der Geest), and the return of another all league player in Caroline Turnbull and the rookie of the year in Molly MacAndrews. In addition, there are several team members who were sidelined by injury for much of last season, who will undoubtably make important contributions. What also encourages me is the last part of the fall season, when the Leopards seemed to find their stride. The only disappointment was the last regular season game with Bucknell.  Perhaps there were undisclosed distractions.  However, their playoff performance at Boston shows me they are ready to compete.

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To my mind, this team is ready to compete for a title. It is no slam dunk and there are issues to be faced, no doubt, but they are as ready and as talented as any team in the league. The spring will be telling.

How has the rest of league fared? It is populated by talented coaches who have proven their ability to win. Boston in particular will be fighting for that NCAA spot again, and American is always a threat, despite losing key personnel to graduation. I was particularly impressed with Boston’s recruits which will complement their returning players nicely. Bucknell loses a lot of senior talent but their coach always finds a way to have his team ready. We will play them in Easton next year. Is this the year Lehigh makes a move? It is possible we will be facing Lehigh at their place in our last league game and their ten recruits will be ready for Lafayette. Lehigh seems to measure their season by a successful outing against Lafayette. We need to be ready for a tough game. American is always competitive but I don’t see changes that make them stand out. We will meet them in DC, and an early win there to add to our win last year would be a big plus. Colgate and Holy Cross are question marks for me and since we play them at home I am hoping for a W.  The League will be better and I see more out of conference wins from everyone. The out of conference play should be an indicator of overall strength.  I always root for a Patriot League team in out of conference play as it helps everyone’s RPI. Given our experience and talent, it is not unreasonable for us to have a wining record going into league play.

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I am really looking forward to a productive spring. I have not received the spring schedule and will let you know when that is available. If anyone knows it at this point give me shout out!!!

Rule Changes

There is a movement to change rules to conform more to the international game. I expect  the college game will move to 4 quarters next year with the clock stopping at corners. It won’t happen next year, but look for instant replay challenges to be mandatory at all division one sites. At the moment, all NCAA tournament games mandate it, as does the ACC and Big Ten. I am told by the Lafayette Administration, the change for instant replay, given the improved technology, is NOT cost prohibitive.

Patriot League Continues To Add To Rosters

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Sarah poses at Lehigh.

It is clear that many Patriot League schools are not done for this recruiting class. Lehigh has added two recruits to the original list I posted several weeks ago. First, they have added their second player from the Netherlands, Sarah Bonthuis a midfielder who played for HC Hoekschewaord, a smaller club that has done well recently.

They have also added Sophie Leighton, a midfielder from the Long Island powerhouse Mamorneck HS. Sophie is a three team all league selection and an all state selection this year.

It appears that Lehigh has pulled out all the stops in adding perhaps as many as 10 new players to the roster. Lehigh could be a factor in the race for a place in the League tournament by the end of the regular season.

Coaching Carousel Gets Active

 

image_handler.aspxThere were two announcements today, that Patriot League fans can relate to. First, is the filling of the Head Coach position at Temple University. Susan Ciufo who comes from Division 2 Stonehill College was anointed the next Head Coach of Temple. Susan is no stranger to Philadelphia field hockey as she played her hockey for Drexel. Lafayette fans will remember her as the go to forward in the Drexel fast break. She was an all American third team selection and CAA first team selection three times. She holds the nations record for the longest scoring streak (22). We remember her as an assistant at Lehigh and the interim Head Coach. She was also an asst. coach for her alma mater, Drexel.

Her four year record at Stonehill was 54-27 and they went to the Division 2 NCAA tournament 3 of her four years. Best of luck to Susan we will be looking to compete with you next year.

 

4g4xn2wxxs963dyaAlso announced today was a five year contract extension for 20 year head coach Steve Jennings of American University. His record is an admirable 254-138. My memories include his astounding performance even when American had no field. All their practices were at 6 am at the University of Maryland as was their games. Under Jennings the Eagles have won 10 Patriot League Championships and included 10 NCAA appearances. He was on the coaching staff for two Olympic Games.

Games with American have always been intense. The most memorable for me was the over time Lafayette win on a penalty stroke in 2013 for the Patriot League title. It was a well earned win against a terrific coach and hard working team.

 

Is The Patriot League Improving?

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Molly McAndrews chases a Terrier

Each year Field Hockey Corner does a statistical analysis of the records of all 77 division one schools and ranks them using variables such won loss records, strength of schedule and margin of victory. Although they have several methodologies the most used is RPI. We can use this as a proxy to look at the Patriot League in total, and to individual programs.

Here are the RPI’s of all the Patriot League Schools and their RPI by year. The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is calculated by .25 win/loss record + .5 strength of schedule +.25 of opponents’ SOS.

TEAM 2014   2015  2016   2017   2018    5 year average

BU         19        13.      15.     20       24          18.2

AM        37        30.      18.     39       34          31.6

BUC       22        40.      29.     38       40          33.8

Laf         38        43.     45.      53      50          45.8

HC.        77.       66.     54.      60       69          65.2

Col        62.       77.     73.      73       73.          71.6

Leh.      66.       68.     55.      65       74.          65

AVG.    45.8.    56.7    41.3.  49.7     52.          49.1

 

As can be seen, the trend for the league has not been favorable in recent years. It should also be noted that the rankings are bifurcated with a spread of approximately 53 places on average between the top and bottom teams. The rankings over the past 5 years have been fairly consistent. The bottom three teams have coaches that have been there 3 years or less. The top four team range from 38 years for BU and 6 years for Lafayette.

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Does RPI matter?? If our best team wins the PL tournament and they are then seeded by RPI, it can diminish the chances of a PL team advancing. For the bottom teams the goal is to get to the league tournament, so coaches would naturally concentrate on those games between the bottom four. The top teams would like to do well in the non conference schedule to raise the league’s and it’s own RPI. Even if they lose with a small margin in tough non-conference games, their SOS can favorably effect their RPI.

It seems to me, the league can improve their RPI and their individual RPI’s by improving their results in the out of conference schedule. Losing badly to a non-conference foe can reduce  the League’s RPI and reduce other PL team’s strength of schedule once they get into the Patriot part of the season.  Another way to improve, is to search out other decent teams and take them on as associate members of the Patriot League.

All the patriot league teams are in different stages of development and one can only wonder what team has been helped by this recruiting season. I must admit I am a homer and think Lafayette has a good mix of talent ( recruits and veterans that can produce significant wins). I see no reason why Lafayette cannot get into the mid-20’s in 2019. In 2013 they finished the season in the high teens.

Lehigh has 8 recruits at the moment, seemingly with an emphasis on scoring talent. Colgate will return a significant number of veterans.  For Holy Cross this will be a crucial class. Bucknell will need to restock next year as well, and will use local talent to do it. American will rely on a lot on their veterans but they seem to always get a key foreigner to fill in the blanks. I am impressed with BU’s recruits and my sense is that they are not finished.

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Sam DiMaio and Audrey Sawer line up agains a Monmouth player

Spring training is approaching and that is when veteran players develop the fastest. I am looking forward to it, as I am sure the players are!!

 

Add One GK To Holy Cross

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Head Coach Lindsay Jackson filled a huge future hole at goalkeeper by recruiting Emmaliese Lauber from the Illinois. Emma started playing field hockey at 5 years old but it wasn’t until she was nine did she start playing goalkeeper. She grew up in Louisville KY. until she was in eighth grade. Most importantly, when her family moved to Illinois she started playing fo the Windy City hockey club. ( The same club Lafayette’s Greta Kulby played for). Windy City is run by Katie Kaufman Beach and is highly regarded. Katie was an all American at Maryland and an Olympian ( She was a teammate of my daughter who also played with her sister Molly).

Katie writes that Emma was an important contributor to her travel teams and was a key member of several medal winning teams. She will graduate from New Tier High School this June. Beach goes on to say, “she is a consistent and steady goalie…and has strong saves and uses clear, direct communication when organizing her backfield,”

That will bring the number of known recruits to three for Holy Cross.

As the spring season approaches I expect more additions and perhaps the beginning of several coaching changes. Temple and Indiana have still open positions. I will try to keep actively posting as the winter and spring progresses.