Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
In sitting down to reflect on my time at Harvard and this tremendous honor from the Varsity Club, I began to think about what stands out about my time in college on and off the field and one theme sticks out - Family.
I can recall the moment I made the decision to attend Harvard. It was a tough decision trying to balance what I wanted from a school academically, on the football field, and socially. When you are 17, you don’t really have much to base these decisions off of but that was one of the first times I really leaned on a family member to give me the guidance I needed to make such an important choice. My high school football and baseball coach met with me at 7am for breakfast and we sat down and made a list of everything that I felt I needed to maximize my potential at the college level. Coach Gowin and I sat there well into first period listing the pros and cons of my top three choices and without pressure or pushing, he guided me to make one of the greatest decisions of my life and I am so thankful for his gentle wisdom. I will always be grateful to Mr. Gowin and his wife Susan for acting as my on-campus parents when I was away at boarding school. Not to mention it was Coach Gowin’s wise words that pushed me onto the football field when I was a junior, after I decided to leave the soccer team.
The next moment that sticks out was arriving at Logan Airport in August of 1999. Against Coach Murphy’s advice I had decided to arrive in Cambridge a week early to start learning the offense and getting a feel for what college football would be about. I was nervous, unsure of myself and frankly a bit scared. Fortunately, I was about to meet a new group of family members, my new teammates. I was picked up at the airport by Chris Eitzman, our team captain and he brought me back to his apartment where I met Isaiah Kacyvenski, Brad Wilford, Mike Sands, Chris Nowinsky, and Rich Linden. Despite the fact that I was an unknown high school kid that they knew nothing about, these guys embraced me and showed me the ropes. I immediately felt at home even though I was sleeping on the couch with a Nebraska Cornhuskers corn cob hat as a pillow. This sense of family only grew larger when the rest of the team arrived for camp and I was able to bond with my incredible classmates like Nick Pallazo, Neil Rose, Jamil Soriano, and Kyle Cremarosa to name a few. My family continues to grow even today, when I meet new players I know that we will always be there to support each other when needed.
Another moment and one of the more poignant moments of my college career was during my senior season, we hadn’t lost an Ivy League game in nearly two full seasons. We took on Penn for the Ivy title. ESPN College Gameday was in attendance for the first 1AA game in the show’s history. The buildup to the game was incredible and everyone was excited to watch us bring home our second undefeated Ivy League season in as many years. Unfortunately, Penn got the best of us that day by a wide margin and it was one of the biggest letdowns of my playing career. I remember taking the loss particularly hard after the game and feeling as though I had let my family down, but that’s when I learned another lesson I have carried with me ever since. After coming out of the locker room I immediately saw my parents and hugged them like I had done after every one of my previous 38 college games that they had made the journey from DC to. This time, however, they escorted me over to two charter busses that were full of 110 family members and family friends that were still proud of me and our team. I’ve never felt so disappointed and then proud in my life. It was exactly what I needed that day and a lesson that has never left me. My family will be there when I need them most and support me regardless of how things turn out.
Finally, I have to thank Coach Murphy, the coaching staff and most of all my teammates for showing me what it took to be successful and constantly driving me to always chase that goal. I am thrilled and honored to accept this recognition on behalf of my family, coaches and teammates who accepted me into the Harvard football family, and my new wife Tonya as we begin our family that we hope includes a Harvard grad or two in the future.