Lou would be proud
Non-football news is really dominating the landscape for Columbia sports right now, because all the news is pretty big.
First, the baseball team has clinched home field advantage for the Ivy League Championship Series beginning at noon on Saturday at Hal Robertson Field. The opponent will again be the Dartmouth Big Green, the same team the Lions edged for the title in Hanover in 2008 and the defending Ivy champs.
Second, we have a new men's hoops coach. Long-time St. Mary's assistant Kyle Smith was named yesterday and there will be a news conference at Levien Gymnasium this Wednesday to formally introduce Smith to the Columbia community.
There is an interesting St. Mary's-Columbia football connection that was established 15 years ago. In 1995, St. Mary's came to Wien Stadium and defeated the Lions 34-14. Three years later Columbia defeated the Gaels in northern California in an exciting 20-17 win.
The series helped the Lions solidify recruiting lines in the area and the 1998 game at St. Mary's remains Columbia football's only trip to California other than the 1934 Rose Bowl win over Stanford.
Sadly, St. Mary's has since discontinued football. But unlike a lot of other colleges that discontinue football and only promise to re-focus their efforts on other sports, the Gaels have done that successfully. St. Mary's basketball has really improved in recent years and the Gaels made the Sweet 16 this March.
Kent Austin in his CFL days
Now back to football...
New Cornell Head Coach Kent Austin had huge success as a head coach in the Canadian Football League, and this piece about the Big Red spring game, tells me he may be favoring a CFL-type offense in Ithaca this year.
I don't think you can underestimate how huge it is that Austin is the first new head coach hired in the Ivies in a very long time who comes with previous experience as a head coach elsewhere.
I know a lot of people are expecting Dartmouth to have the biggest improvement based on what seems like a string of great developments this offseason. But don't sleep on Cornell and the tremendous advantage the Big Red could start seeing on the field very soon thanks to Austin. The problem is that Cornell seems to be really lacking in the player talent department right now, so even a potential miracle worker like Austin will need time. But I wouldn't be surprised if the Big Red win three Ivy games this year after getting just one Ivy win in 2009.
Official Recruiting List Coming Soon
Usually by the end of May, the athletic department releases the official list of incoming football freshmen. With all the extra sports news going on this month, I bet the department is very busy these days. But when it comes to covering news like the baseball team's success, I'm sure no one is complaining.
I'm republishing below my very unofficial list of incoming frosh that stands at 28. I say unofficial because in the past, some of the players I've listed didn't pan out. And there have always been 5-6 additional names I missed.
This year, I'm pretty sure I've missed at least four names.
1. Joey Andrada WR 6-3 190 lbs. Piedmont HS (Piedmont, CA)
2. Marquel Carter QB/DB 6-0 200 lbs. Culver City Senior High School (Culver City, CA)
3. Hunter Coleman TE/OL 6-4 230 lbs. Loyola Prep (Shreveport, LA)
4. Paul Delaney P 6-3 200 lbs. Loyola (Palatine, IL)
5. Duncan Dickerson OL/LS 6-2 245 lbs. Cypress Falls HS (Houston, TX)
6. Lou DiNovo WR 6-0 185 lbs. LaSalle Institute (Albany, NY)
7. Mike DiTommaso CB 6-0 185 lbs. Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, NJ)
8. Brian East LB 6-3 205 lbs. Carmel HS (Carmel, IN)
9. Luke Eddy K 6-2 200 lbs. Worcester Academy (Worcester, MA)
10. Tyler Feely K/P 6-0 155 lbs. Jesuit HS (Tampa, FL)
11. Hamilton Garner TE 6-5 230 lbs. Duluth HS (Duluth, GA)
12. Marcorus Garrett RB 5-10 177 lbs. Pope High School (Marietta, GA)
13. Joe Ghergurovich OL 6-3 245 lbs. Glastonbury HS (Glastonbury, CT)
14. Eddie Hitchcock LB/FB 6-0 200 lbs. Cretin-Derham Hall HS (St. Paul, MN)
15. Tyler Kirkland WR/DB 6-0 180 lbs. Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, FL)
16. Dylan Leonard OL 6-3 281 lbs. Ola High School (McDonough, GA)
17. Brad Losee DE/TE 6-4 235 lbs. Eastview HS (Apple Valley, MN)
18. Griffin Lowry RB 6-0 215 lbs. University HS (St. Louis, MO)
19. Mark McClain WR/S 6-2 195 lbs. Upper Arlington (Upper Arlington, OH)
20. Zack McKown TE/LB 6-3 220 lbs. Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, VA)
21. Nick Melka DE 6-2 230 lbs. Benet Academy (Lisle, IL)
22. Jeremy Mingo WR/CB 6-0 180 lbs. Firestone HS (Akron, OH)
23. Chris Mooney TE 6-3 230 lbs. Walton HS (Marietta, GA)
24. Joe Raimondi OL/DL 6-4 255 lbs. Hampton HS (Allison Park, PA)
25. Chris Rapka QB 6-3 200 lbs. Cardinal Gibbons HS (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
26. Maurice Rothschild CB 5-10 165 lbs. Warren Eastern HS (New Orleans, LA)
27. James Valerias WR 6-1 185 lbs. Gonzaga College HS (Washington, DC)
28. Sam Williams RB 5-10 175 lbs. Baylor HS (Chattanooga, TN)