I watched the press conference, with great speeches by the President of UMass, Dr. Robert Caret, the Head of the UMass Board of Trustees, Henry M. Thomas III, followed by the introduction of the "new" UMass Amherst football coach, Mark Whipple, by our Athletic Director, John McCutcheon.
I do follow sports, which are a marvelous diversion at this time of the year in New England (with great basketball, hockey, and even the figure skating championships in Boston recently). I also needed a break from working very intently on my course lectures for two courses that I will be teaching at the Isenberg School of Management, with the new semester beginning on January 21!
What Mark Whipple said in such a heart-felt manner, moved me so much, that I had to comment.
First, Mark Whipple is a Brown University alum (as am I) so I am a bit biased.
Second, Mark led UMass Amherst, when it was in a different conference, to a national championship and has had a fabulous career since with stints in the NFL and elsewhere.
Whipple began his press conference today with tears in his eyes and was literally choked up. This was truly moving.
He stated that sometimes you have to leave to find out where your home was, and, by this, he meant, UMass Amherst.
He said, which I loved: "I am a teacher. I am an educator." He wants to impart his wisdom to the players, which he certainly will, given his wealth of experiences in collegiate and professional football!
He noted that college football is a "people's business" and that "it's all about the people. It's all about the players." He thanked his wife and his two sons and noted that coming back to UMass was a family decision.
He emphasized what collegiate sports contribute to education and to athletes. I truly believe in the value of collegiate sports in terms of building discipline, organizational skills, and fitness. Back in my Brown University days, I ran on the Women's Track and Field and Cross-Country teams.
Mark Whipple noted, in his press conference, that he "loves jewelry," which means those championship rings which he has a box full of.
Mark Whipple said that "everything moves forward" and "Go, UMass!"
UMass Amherst is "Back to the Future" and we wish Mark Whipple all the very best and thanks!
Welcome home, Mark Whipple!