Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
I thank the Hall of Fame Committee for this great honor. Having grown up in the shadow of Harvard, it is the culmination of many years of struggles and triumphs to be standing here tonight. One cannot measure the life-long impact that the experience of Harvard has on its graduates, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity. My having remained in college athletics is a testament to the positive experience I had during my tenure. My first connection with Harvard came in 1978 at Boys State, a civic learning project in participatory democracy. Larry DiCara, a Boston City Counselor and Harvard graduate, made a point of spending time with this small town blue collar kid, and his infectious enthusiasm towards Harvard, life, and most importantly, his genuine concern of those at the bottom of the economic food chain immediately caught my attention. It is people like Larry who make this place so special.
My memories of the football program remain special. The fact that our freshman team went undefeated, that we played in the 100th Harvard-Yale game (a 16-7 victory), or that we won the league title 2 out of 3 years at the varsity level, speak to the dedication of those involved. But that is not what I took from the program. It was men such as Joseph Restic, from whom I model my coaching techniques (though not nearly as well); Richard Corbin, who recruited me, taught me how to play offensive line, and spent much of his time dealing with the emotional difficulties of young men; and Mac Singelton, our freshman coach, who taught us the value of driving hard towards goals, and would help train me for the NFL at 6:00 am solely because he cared; it was these men who made the greatest impact on my experience at Harvard. And to our support people; Jack Reardon, Fred Jewett, Chet Stone, Dick Emerson, Artie Clifford, Doctor Boland; I thank them for getting me through many tough times. It was all these incredible human beings who made it special.
Harvard football was not based on winning and losing or brutality. Joe Restic did not believe in the manipulation of students to feed his ego and was not dogmatic in his approach. There was an expectation that you were there to learn, and that football was a part of that process. Football added a sense of discipline and commitment to our lives, but didn't become our lives. We were all encouraged to follow our different paths, to be ourselves, and to have friendships and experiences with non-athletes, with football providing a unifying center. One did not draw attention to oneself at that time; you were expected to focus your energies and efforts for the benefit of the team. This philosophy of balance in one's life and sacrafice towards the greater good has become scarce in the world of competitive athletics, and men like Joe Restic are hard to find, but we try to carry on this tradition today at Pomona College.
Many of the personal relationships that developed at that time remain strong today. Thanks to my Californian friends and roommates Chris Myers and Hall of Famer Joe Carrabino for all the good times. I used to poke fun at their home state, but now, having lived there for eight years, I would never want to leave. Same to my friend Alex Green, who encouraged me to train on the weights with diligence and badgered me towards excellence, and thanks to fellow award winner Joe Azelby for providing a challenge everyday on the practice field. I also met my wife Christine at this time, and our two children Rebekah and Jacob (both axcellent athletes) hope to be at Harvard someday. I thank my friends from my time at Williams College, Dick Farley and Dave Caputi for their efforts over the years. Finally, I want to recognize my father Eugene, who passed away soon after my graduation, and my mother, Carol Caron. It was she who made sure that the arrow was always pointed towards academics. My parents sacraficed on a daily basis to make sure that their children had a chance to head into the wind, would rather help pay for Harvard (I remain grateful to Harvard for its commitment to need-based financial aid) than for me to accept a football scholarship at a lesser institution. My mother has taught independence and a dogged determination to fight through the rough times by the way she has lived her life, and I remain grateful for all she has done.
My contgratulations to all the award winners.