Captains of their Ships

September 15, 2006

A couple of weeks ago as the school year was just beginning, I poked my head into Riggs Library and witnessed an impressive sight. There was the president of Georgetown, Dr. John J. DeGioia, hosting the head coaches and captains of the various athletic teams for dinner and remarks in that wonderfully adorned setting in Healy Hall. It was a special evening that spoke volumes about the importance of intercollegiate sports at the University and the recognition accorded to leadership of those teams.


Senior track & field co-captain Nana Hanson-Hall participates in the Georgetown Athletes Mentorship Enterprise (GAME), an initiative sponsored by SALAC

Twenty-five years ago, as the then-new director of Hoyas Unlimited, I tried something along similar lines. Actually, I didn't even come close. I invited all the captains of the teams to get together for pizza and soda pop in the dance/band room upstairs in McDonough Gym. About half showed up and we talked about how the team captains could work together to support each other and improve their own respective programs. That was the beginning of the Captains' Club and it grew and evolved, thanks to the guidance and support of Patricia Thomas, senior associate athletic director, into the Student-Athlete Leadership Advisory Committee, a meaningful and supportive leadership group on campus.


With virtually every captain and head coach assembled in Riggs that evening, I reminded myself how perceptions of universities today are affected by the visibility of their athletic programs. And so it makes good sense to support and encourage these leaders who, in turn, influence the rest of the 18-22 year old
student-athletes whose athletic successes and failures as well as personal behaviors are overly scrutinized by the media.

Simultaneously thanking the young men and women and charging them with the responsibility of leadership during the upcoming year, Jack DeGioia introduced the featured speaker, Brad Butterworth, three-time America's Cup winner (tactician) and now skipper of the Alinghi, the Swiss syndicate entry and defending Cup champion.

Track & Field captains Nicole Torpey, Fleet Hower, Nana Hansen-Hall, Elizabeth Maloy, and Matt Debole gather for group photo


Riggs Library provided an elegant setting to hear from world renown sailor Brad Butterworth

Speaking with the wisdom of a seasoned old salt, the world-class hall of fame sailor spoke of passion and versatility as highly desirable traits he sought in his crew members. His insights and stories kept the Georgetown athletic audience informed and entertained for the remainder of the night.

Following on the heels of the finest season in Georgetown sailing history, the appearance by the New Zealander Butterworth was quite fitting. It is no exaggeration to say that the accomplishments of the team last year were among the most dominant by any Georgetown team ever.

Finishing their season this past June, the Hoya sailors brought home the Fowle Trophy, awarded to the college with the best-combined record in the six major collegiate sailing championships. Four-time All-America and Olympic hopeful Andrew Campbell '06 was named national sailor of the year. Five of his teammates were also All-America selections. At season's end, an interview with Andrew was podcast at this link. You can also follow his post college exploits on his blog at his own website.

The Hoya sailing team won the 2005-06 Intercollegiate Sailing Association national championship and placed second both at the women's national championship and the national coed dinghy championships.

2006 grad Andrew Campbell is an Olympic hopeful for the 2008 games

Sailing captains Langdon Mitchell, Emily Siguler, Dan Esdorn,Seamus Kraft, Blaire Herron, and Chris Behm pose with Brad Butterworth and Coach Callahan

In recognition of these outstanding achievements, head mentor Mike Callahan has been selected the coach of the year for 2005-06 and will be honored at the Athletic Recognition Dinner on September 30, 2006.

Hoya, Hoya Saxa!

Hoya, Hoya Georgetown!

Hoya Campbell!
Hoya Callahan!
Hoya Sailing!





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Men and women's crew captains and crew administrator Debby Morey (right) listen intently

Head coach Pete Wilk with senior captains Erick Chandler and Mark McLaughlin

Senior lacrosse co-captain Rachel Mech and senior basketball leader Tyler Crawford



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