Tag: University of Pennsylvania

Checking In On The D3 Football Coaching Carousel

Dan Swanstrom will be returning to the University of Pennsylvania after spending five seasons as the head coach at Ithaca College. (PHOTO COURTESY: University of Pennsylvania Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

The football coaching carousel never stops, especially in NCAA Division III.

As noted, both this morning and over the last few days by D3Football.com, three schools, including Ithaca College, will be looking for a new head coach to lead their respective program onto the gridiron this fall.

Dan Swanstrom, who guided the Bombers to 32 wins and 11 losses in five seasons, is returning to the University of Pennsylvania as the Quakers’ new offensive coordinator. His final day at Ithaca College is next Monday, January 31.

Penn head coach Ray Priore announced Swanstrom’s hiring on Monday and is excited to welcome back his former quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator that helped the Quakers share a pair of Ivy League crowns in 2015 and 2016.

“It’s great to have Dan rejoin the Penn Football Family after leading Ithaca to great success over the last years,” Priore said in a statement on Monday. “He returns with a tremendous work ethic, an incredible amount of football knowledge, and a passion for the game.”  

Swanstrom inherits a Penn offense that ranked last in the Ivy League in touchdowns (24) and points (191).

In his final season at Ithaca, the Bombers won eight of 10 contests, including five of six Liberty League (LL) matchups. Ithaca concluded its campaign with a heartbreaking defeat to SUNY Cortland in the 62nd meeting between the two schools last November.

According to D3Football.com, this year’s Cortaca Jug Game between Ithaca and SUNY Cortland will be played at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, November 12.

“I can’t put into words how special my time at Ithaca has been,” said Swanstrom, via D3Football.com. “I would like to thank the players, coaches, and fans for the cherished experiences and the meaningful relationships.”

Swanstrom isn’t the only one making a transition from Division III to Division I as it was announced yesterday that Chris Wilkerson, who guided the University of Chicago for the last nine seasons, has been named the new head coach at Eastern Illinois University.

Wilkerson, who is an Eastern Illinois alum, guided the Maroons to an 8-2 record last fall, including a 7-2 mark in the Midwest Conference. UChicago’s offense shattered numerous single-season records while halfback Nicholas D’Ambrose placed second in the nation with a school record of 1,714 rushing yards.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the head football coach at UChicago for the past nine seasons,” said Wilkerson, via athletics.uchicago.edu. “I want to thank all the players and coaches for their commitment and passion for Maroon football.”

North Central will also have a new head coach — the school’s athletic director Jim Miller recently announced Brad Spencer will be taking over for Jeff Thorne, who recently accepted the offensive coordinator role with Western Michigan.

Thorne will reunite with Western Michigan coach Tim Lester as the two coached together at North Central under Jeff’s father John Thorne.

As the head coach of North Central, Jeff Thorne guided the Cardinals to the school’s first-ever championship in 2019. They fell short of winning their second title last month against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.  

Other coaching changes/notes:

Yale University Men’s Basketball Picked To Capture The Ivy League

Yale University will enter the 2021-22 college basketball season as the favorite in the Ivy League. (Photo Courtesy: The Ivy League)

By Matt Noonan

The Yale University men’s basketball team was picked to finish first in the Ivy League, according to today’s preseason media poll that the was unveiled earlier today.

Yale garnered seven first place votes while Harvard University, which checked in second, secured four first place votes.

Also receiving first place votes were Princeton University (two), the University of Pennsylvania (two), and Brown University (two). All three teams checked-in third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

Dartmouth College, Cornell University, and Columbia University rounded out the eight-team poll by securing the sixth, seventh, and eighth positions.

Yale ended its 2019-20 campaign with a 23-7 record, which was good enough for the top spot in the Ancient Eight – their last outing, however, was an 83-69 setback to Harvard.

The Bulldogs were scheduled to compete in the opening round of the 2020 Ivy League Tournament against the Quakers of Pennsylvania, which secured the fourth seed. The game was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coach James Jones welcomes back some key pieces from the 2019-20 Bulldogs squad, including Azar Swain, who set a single-season school record of 93 three-pointers.

Swain is a Brockton, Massachusetts native and previous competed for The Rivers School where he was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior.

Jalen Gabbidon is also back for his final season with the Navy Blue and White after being named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native tied for fourth in the league with 40 steals and was one of only two Bulldogs to start all 30 games.

Yale will tip-off its 2021-22 season on Tuesday, November 9 at home against Vassar College before welcoming UMass to New Haven, Connecticut three days later (November 12).

Princeton Picked To Capture Ivy League Women’s Basketball Crown

A brand new season of Ivy League women’s basketball is set to tip-off in early November. (PHOTO COURTESY: IvyLeague.com)

By Matt Noonan

The Princeton University women’s basketball team was picked to win the Ivy League crown this winter – the Tigers garnered 12 first-place votes on today’s poll, which was released yesterday morning.

The University of Pennsylvania secured the second position with three first-place votes followed by Columbia University (third) and Yale University (fourth).

Harvard University, which secured one first-place vote, checked in fifth while Cornell University, Dartmouth College, and Brown University rounded out the poll, checking in the sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively.

The 16 votes for the Ancient Eight women’s basketball preseason poll are produced by the league’s “media contingent.”

Princeton concluded its 2019-20 campaign with a 26-1 record under first-year coach Carla Berube, who welcomes back some key pieces from that squad, including Julia Cunningham, who averaged 8.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.

Abby Meyers is also back after earning Ivy League Tournament Team honors in 2018 while averaging 6.3 points and 2.7 rebounds during the 2019-20 season.

Princeton will tip-off its 2021-22 season on Wednesday, November 10 when they visit Villanova University.

While Princeton will certainly be the team to watch this winter, one should certainly keep an eye on Columbia University as the Lions finished its 2019-20 season with a 17-10 record, including an 8-6 mark in Ancient Eight play. The 17 wins were the second most recorded by a Lions squad since the program began competing at the Division I level during the 1986-87 school year.

Columbia will be led by Sienna Durr and Abbey Hsu, who averaged 14.3 and 12.8 points, respectively, during the 2019-20 season.

Like the Tigers, the Lions will commence their campaign the same week, but on Tuesday, November 9 against Hampton University.

Following the conclusion of the regular season, the league’s top four teams will advance to the Ivy League Tournament, which will be held at Harvard University from March 11-13.

Princeton Secures The Top Spot In The 2021 Ivy League Preseason Poll

The Ivy League unveiled its football preseason poll on Monday, August 9, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY: IvyLeague.com)

By Matt Noonan

After a year away from the gridiron due to Covid-19, the Princeton University football team will enter the 2021 season as the team to beat in the Ivy League.

Picked to finish first in the Ivy League Preseason Poll, which was released earlier today, the Tigers secured eight first-place votes, along with a league-high 113 points “by a panel of 16 media members from across the league.”

Princeton earned a share of the Ancient Eight title in 2016 before winning the league outright in 2018 with a 10-0 record.

Yale University and Dartmouth College, who shared the conference title in 2019 checked in second and third, respectively — Yale garnered six first-place votes and 104 points while Dartmouth secured one first-place nod and 88 points.

Harvard University rounded out the top four spots with 87 points in the voting while the University of Pennsylvania checked in fifth. Brown University, Columbia University, and Cornell University rounded out the eight-team poll, securing the sixth, seventh, and eighth positions, respectively.

“It’s always nice to see our program held in high regards,” said Princeton football coach Bob Surace in a statement earlier today.

“It’s great to be the preseason pick, but every league team will start practice thinking they will be (number one) when the season ends. We have to work hard every day to reach out goals. I know every one of our guys is excited to get started.”

The 2021 Ivy League season kicks off Saturday, September 18 with eight intriguing matchups — Princeton will visit Lehigh University while Yale will host Holy Cross.

New England Basketball Notebook: Harvard Shines In Season-Opener

Men's Basketball between the Harvard Crimson and the Columbia Lions
Bryce Aiken and the Harvard University men’s basketball team are motivated to return to the NCAA Tournament this upcoming season. (PHOTO COURTESY: David Dermer/Harvard Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

For Harvard University, Tuesday’s 84-27 victory over MIT was an ideal way to begin a new season, but also an opportunity to gain some much-needed momentum heading into an important non-conference clash on Friday with Northeastern University.

Multiple Crimson players contributed on both ends of the floor against the Engineers, including first-year forward Chris Ledlum, who recorded his first collegiate double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Christian Juzang netted 12 points, while classmate Chris Lewis stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, seven rebounds, one assist, and one block.

Harvard’s 57-point victory margin matched the 1945-46 team, which established the mark with their win over Northeastern.

While it certainly was an impressive start to their 2019-20 campaign, Harvard, as well as their coach Tommy Amaker, know they have more work to do in order to accomplish their preseason goals. And one of those goals, according to senior guard Bryce Aiken, is to return to the NCAA Tournament, something the Crimson have not done since 2015.

Harvard has come close to returning to the ‘big dance,’ but has fallen short the past three seasons in the Ivy League tournament. Additionally, they saw their run toward a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) title conclude twice within the past two years, including this past March when they lost a heartbreaker in the second round to North Carolina State University.

But despite falling short of accomplishing past preseason goals or winning tournaments and championships, Aiken remains optimistic. He believes this year’s crew can “make history,” and from what fans witnessed the other evening against MIT, perhaps the senior guard believes this year’s squad is truly capable of not just winning an Ivy League conference tournament but challenging other teams from across the country for the ultimate prize, a national championship. 

“The biggest motivation for us as seniors (this year) is leaving with a bang, man,” said senior Bryce Aiken, who elected to return to campus for one more season after initially entering his name for the 2019 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft last April.

“We haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament, so that is the biggest motivating factor for us.”

Added Juzang, “It’s been three years of all of us (for) things you can look at and you can call motivation (from) the Ivy League championship games, the NC State game, and we could point to a bunch of different things, but I think the biggest thing is (we’re) internally driven, not getting pushed around by the expectations and whatnot.”

The expectations, as both the coaches and student-athletes know, is rather high for a team that is scheduled to face some stiff competition this month against Northeastern, University at Buffalo, and Texas A&M. Harvard could also face the University of Maryland this month, too – they would need to beat the Aggies of Texas A&M in the opening round of the Orlando Invitational, which is scheduled to commence on Thanksgiving Day.

Weeks after competing in the Orlando Tournament, Harvard will commence conference play in mid-to-late January against Dartmouth College before ending the month with a visit to the University of Pennsylvania, which opened its 2019-20 season with an 81-80 win over the University of AlabamaPenn lost to Harvard last March in the Ivy League semifinals but was picked second in the conference preseason poll.

Yet, before Harvard worries about Dartmouth, Penn, and other future foes, they will keep their focus on Northeastern, a team that beat the Crimson last November, thanks to a game-high 35 points by Jordan Rolland. Rolland will certainly be a player the Crimson will need to slow down in order to pick-up their second win of the season, but from a quick glance at this year’s roster, Harvard is loaded with talent to slow down their opponents’ top players, and will certainly receive a boost from an impressive and hard-working first-year class.

Amaker praised his freshman class, which was ranked 38th nationally, according to 247Sports.com. All five newcomers logged time on Tuesday against MIT and have seemed to adapt to the college game quite well it seems.

“I have been impressed with our first-years,” said Amaker during the team’s media day last Friday. “This is a tough-minded group. They are physical – you look at who they are (with their) bodies and (what) they are capable of taking in … they have been durable, but they have been very (impressive) with their durability, dependability, and then fitting in.

“Our future is good hands with this first-year class.”

No matter who is on the floor Friday and later this season – Aiken, Ludlum, Juzang, sophomore Noah Kirkwood or seniors Seth Towns and Henry Welsh – Harvard is expected to compete and play some impressive basketball that should translate into more wins and an exciting 2019-20 season.

News and Notes from New England: 

  • Andrew Fleming became the 31st player in the University of Maine men’s basketball program to net 1,000 points as the senior helped the Black Bears defeat Merrimack College, 84-64, on Wednesday evening. Fleming, who was named a preseason America East All-Conference honoree, recorded 37 points and 10 rebounds against the Warriors to go along with five assists and two blocks.
  • Keep your eyes on the Saint Anselm College women’s basketball team this weekend – the Hawks, who were picked to finish atop the Northeast-10 Conference will tip-off Saturday, November 9th against Bloomfield College at 6:30 p.m. After facing the Bears, the Hawks will cap their weekend with a late Sunday afternoon contest against the University of Bridgeport.

    Senior Shannon Ryan will be one of many student-athletes to watch on the Hawks this winter. Ryan recorded a double-double of 29 points and 18 rebounds last weekend against Bishop’s University.

  • WPI, which secured the fourth spot in our New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 Preseason Poll, tips-off its season against ninth-ranked Brandeis University on Friday. Both teams are two squads to watch this winter – the Engineers were picked to capture the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), while Brandeis is expected to continue its success from last year under second-year coach Jean Bain.
  • Finally, make sure to read Bob Whitney‘s first column, Around The Rim – I am very excited to have Bob join our team this winter to produce some additional basketball content. Bob has covered the college and high school game for years and will be a great addition to our Noontime Sports staff.