Monday, July 25, 2011

Breaking: Dick Donelli Passes Away

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Dick Donelli

I just learned of the death of a great Columbia legend.

Dick Donelli '59, varsity starter at QB in 1957 and 1958, and son of the late Head Coach Aldo "Buff" Donelli died yesterday.

Donelli gave nepotism a good name as he showed incredible toughness playing the key role on the team during his dad's first two years as head coach of the Lions.

After Columbia, Donelli became a dentist but he stayed at Baker Field for years as a standout founding member of the "Old Blue" Columbia rugby club.

Donelli was super tough, playing his last few seasons even while needing a pacemaker!

They don't make them that tough at Yale or Princeton... believe me.


At Tue Jul 26, 12:23:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am curious whether your point is that very few people from any college are tough enough to play rugby with a pacemaker or if you believe that they are wussies specifically at Yale and Princeton.

I am okay with either explanation, just curious.

At Tue Jul 26, 12:27:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

It's mostly about mental toughness. Dick Donelli won a total of two games in two brutal years with the varsity. 99% of Ivy League athletes would never have the heart to get back on the field again. Donelli, and so many other Columbians with similar backgrounds have the same story. The guys at most of the other Ivy schools don't know how special the commitment to playing at Columbia is. Luckily, most employers do and the success rate for Columbia football grads shows accordingly.

At Tue Jul 26, 05:44:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You raise an interesting question. I wonder how the attrition rate at the Ivy programs varies and whether there is a correlation to win-loss record.

Your supposition seems to be that there is a correlation and that Columbia would represent an outlier in a positive direction.

That's analysis which could be performed by comparing the names of rosters across seasons. It would be time-consuming but all the data is on the schools' websites.

At Tue Jul 26, 08:40:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't it seem obvious that attrition would be worse at losing programs? People don't quit competitive teams. During the 1980s, we had poor facilities, poor coaching, no student or administration support and we lost every game. Surprise, lots of guys after going 0-6 as freshman. NW hasn't turned CU into a winner but he clearly has made football a much more positive experience for the players. That eventually should become a virtuous circle: kids stick with it, our team gets older, stronger and deeper, and we start winning more. As we win, more kids stick with it.

At Tue Jul 26, 10:44:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's very reasonable to hypothesize that losing teams suffer more attrition. But a lot of reasonable hypotheses don't hold up under analyzing the data. Jake's point is that, on average, Columbia players are made of sterner stuff than those country club boys in their secret societies and eating clubs. If he's right, then there is less upside for us as the W-L record hopefully improves.

Maybe more applicants "use" football to garner an acceptance at Yale/Princeton, making them outliers in a negative direction. Perhaps new staffs will actually improve their attrition.


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