Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saluting Our Veterans

The Marines protect Alma Mater

A couple of additions/edits to my piece yesterday about transfers:

Judie Lomax transferred to us from Oregon State. When I said she came to us from Oregon I was talking literally about the state of Oregon, not the University of Oregon.

Also, there was an important thing about GS that I should have mentioned that makes the school extremely enticing for potential athletes who happen to be veterans.

Since last year, GS is one of a handful of U.S. colleges offering American war veterans free or virtually free tuition. Any verteran who still wants to play collegiate athletics can basically get to school for free at Columbia. That's a big deal in every sense.

This program can really be used to bring some very fine young men and women into the Columbia family and the Columbia athletics family. It would also bring a lot more true diversity to the campus.

Javier Loya and wife Lucinda (CREDIT: Columbia College Today)

A Perfect Half Dozen

Quick trivia question: When did Columbia last have an undefeated team?

Time's up.

The answer is 1987.

Okay, I admit I'm talking about the freshman team from that season that went a perfect 6-0.

But since this team came together while the varsity was still in the midst of its historic 44-game losing streak, it's easy to see why the Friday night freshmen games at Wien started drawing big crowds.

For the record, the Lion Cubs beat Penn 23-12, Princeton 26-8, Yale 21-15, Brown 27-18, Dartmouth 24-17, and Cornell 14-13.

The undisputed star of the squad was Solomon Johnson, who ran for 836 yards on just 138 carries and scored 12 total TD's, (one as a receiver). Greg Abbruzzese looked good in limited duty, but he missed three games because of a concussion.

Bruce Mayhew did most of the work at QB, but struggled with just a .356 completion rate and no TD passes. (As a senior, he would make All Ivy).

The top receiver was Gary Comstock, who would also go on to an impressive varsity career.

Not enjoying the same fate was Scott Hill, who dazzled on defense and special teams. Hill had seven INT's in the six games and threw for one TD and ran for another as the frosh punter. But Hill injured his back in sophomore year and never really contributed to the varsity on the field.

Mike Hull was another star on defense at defensive tackle with some monster games, including an 18-tackle performance against Princeton. He also blocked a late field goal against Cornell to save the undefeated season. Hull got into the mix as a sophomore in 1988, but he was later switched over to offensive line and did not make a huge impact for the varsity.

Javier Loya was a standout linebacker for the '87 Lion Cubs, and he did become a key leader for the varsity as well. More notably, he is now a part-owner of the Houston Texans!

Injuries played the biggest role in the fact that the '87 frosh never lifted to Lion varsity to winning seasons in the next three years. But they were the biggest reason the losing streak finally ended the following year.


At Mon Mar 15, 02:30:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gettin' tired of looking at those Marines, Jake. Whaddya say?

At Mon Mar 15, 08:06:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect, GS students should not be permitted to compete in varsity athletes at Columbia. It's charter is "non-traditional". I can elaborate, but at the risk of being labeled an elitist I woould simply suggest that it appeals to an older student body and has much different admissions standards.

At Tue Mar 16, 12:53:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I have always detested how way too many of the so-called liberal, fair-minded students at Columbia have so much hate and sexist beliefs about GS and Barnard. I never understood it when I was there, but I have my theories on where this comes from now. I'll spare you all my philosophy on that for now...

Meanwhile, I know I could have used a lot more exposure to older students, and particularly veterans, when I was an undergrad at Columbia.

We've actually had some great athletes at Columbia come from GS. They were great on the field, in the classroom, and big successes in life after school. I'd be proud to have a few great players with a little maturity mixed in with a student body filled with 17-21 year-olds with virtually no life experience. God knows I had very little to offer the world other than super SAT scores and a bad mullet when I started Columbia in 1988!

At Tue Mar 16, 01:54:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger friend12 said...

The "non-traditional" statement really offends me. Until this article, I didn't know anything about GS at Columbia. As a parent of a Columbia student I actually find it refreshing to see a school that has a GS program that seems be highly regarded and not designed a quick way to get a degree.

I would also like to see other Columbia programs including Columbia University “offering American war veterans free or virtually free tuition”.

At Tue Mar 16, 02:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think the undefeated frosh team is the year in which Columbia was given leeway with AI.

Please confirm.

At Tue Mar 16, 02:06:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I believe that's true... but who knows which players got in because of that and who didn't? I know one person who probably knows and I have no interest in asking him. But I bet the ones who did slip in under the usual wire probably are doing better in life than most non-athlete "geniuses" from the class of '91.

At Sat Mar 20, 02:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Frosh team was the main reason the streak ended. I think that losing the head coach after the 2nd year didnt help as well.


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