Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
Harvard Athletic Achievements
First team All-Ivy (2001) …Bulger Lowe Award from The Gridiron Club as New England Division 1 Offensive Player of the Year (2001)…Honorable Mention All-Ivy (2002) … selected to the Hula Bowl in 2002 … Ivy League Champion (2001) … Led his team to an undefeated 9-0 record in 2001 ... Broke 18 school records…Holds numerous records including career passing yards, career passing touchdowns, career completions, completions in a game, completions in a season… 3-year letterwinner (2000, 2001, 2002) … Team captain (2002) … Received the Robert F. Kennedy award in 2002 given for desire and determination
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
All the Georgian bricks and iconic architecture of Harvard were really something to behold for an island kid in the Fall of 1998. But what floored me was the people. I think everyone remembers the first time they were surrounded by peers who were clearly better specimens: smarter, wiser, happier, more mature, more accomplished. More astonishing was the kindness, character, and humor of these superhumans. Some recoil upon discovering their smallness; I relished it. I knew then there was no place I’d rather be.
The joy of finding a bigger, more promising world was met with the frustration of my own ineptitude on the football field. A Run and Shoot quarterback in high school, I threw 50 times a game and never from a traditional pocket. I quickly found myself a college quarterback who couldn’t do the basics, like drop back and pass. Worse, I was a disaster at Harvard’s bread-and-butter run play, an off-tackle zone handoff. The play turned me into someone futilely running after a departing bus. The running back would be wide and gone—without the football pathetically still in my hands. It would take a lot to remain the fifth of five quarterbacks. I was going to be cut.
I was grateful to Brad Wilford who generously and patiently offered help and encouragement in learning Coach Murphy’s complex offense. He did this as he battled for the starting quarterback position, which he would earn the following year. I would later try to pay it forward to younger quarterbacks.
It was an innovative time in football offense—and for Harvard’s offense. The Spread offense and multi-receiver sets were taking over college football. The plodding style of football started to get more dynamic and exciting. And effective.
My high school coach, Don Botelho, was my angel who brought me a greater future. Jay Mills was my greatest teacher. Coach Mills was demanding with an insistence on detail. Details had details. Steps and movements had to be exacting and precise; I was a lost cause. In time, things started to click. The offense had more weapons while becoming less complicated. The daily anxiety and despair were being replaced with a growing realization I was improving. We were improving.
Offensive records fell in that 2000 year, and yet there was more improvement to be made, namely turnovers. Despite the yards and touchdowns, we lost five games by a combined total of 23 points. Fixing the turnover problem turned a 5-5 team into an undefeated one in 2001.
The players of that era had many standouts on both sides of the ball. Beyond talent, I appreciated their good nature and that we really liked each other, especially within the ’02 class. Besides making it a better experience, I think those friendships really helped us win tight games and win our 2001 showdown with also-undefeated Penn. I remember we were down two touchdowns at halftime, but there was no sense of alarm in the locker room. Guys just looked at each other with the nods and smirks shared between co-conspirators. We knew we were going to win.
Carl Morris accolades were well deserved, but I think about his toughness and selflessness. His greatness made it easy to overlook just how productive the receivers and tight ends were, guys like Sam Taylor, Dan Farley, Kyle Cremarosa, Sean Meeker, and Matt Fratto (among many others); or the consistency and reliability of the running backs. Nick Palazzo’s yards per carry was outstanding, and he almost never got stopped for loss. Many games had three or four different ball carriers and 10-plus players recording receptions. We had weapons everywhere.
The Offensive Line was the heart of it all, the real star. I’m still grateful for Jason Hove, Steve Collins, Justin Stark, Dan Kistler, Mike Clare, Jamil Soriano, Brian Sponheimer, Sam Miller, Nate Torinus, Lane Arnold, John Kadzielski, Joe Traverso, Joe Price, Jack Fadule, Dan Weidle, Joe Mujalli, and the others who drove our success. More than that, I’m grateful to be their friend.
From these and others, I also found great leaders and role models, some of whom were younger than me. Everyone should be so lucky.
We had great care and support from the training room. Emmo (Dick Emerson) and Brad Quigley took excellent care of us, and occasionally performed the small miracle. I still quietly thank two Garys from time to time. Gary Geissler took care of me through excruciating pain and easily the worst year of my life. I might have listened to doctors and thrown in the towel in 2002 without his compassion and time. He salvaged half of my last season. And Gary Guerriero, who in 2001 diagnosed and fixed an injury that had been eroding my arm strength for over a year. I felt brand new and strong after a half a summer in his Manhattan facilities. I’m still in their debt.
Chet Stone, Artie Clifford, and others kept us fighting fit with occasional pearls of wisdom or a good joke.
And I was lucky to get my first real (and greatest) boss in Coach Murphy. He could have just as easily been a business titan had he not wanted to be a football coach. It took me years to fully appreciate his blunt communication style and his professional, what have you done for me lately, approach. He set the bar high and higher, and one way or another, he was going to get everyone’s best.
I’m a better businessman today—and better for clients and other stakeholders—because of the sense of humility and insistence on consistently “earning it” we got from him.
I give thanks to Bob Glatz, the Varsity Club, and the many others making Harvard athletics so special and reward. Congratulations to the other (and far more deserving) recipients of this honor. I wish everyone the best.