The venue was set up beautifully and the Class of 2015 got the red carpet treatment with framed, game worn jerseys while the entire team was provided with beautiful Championship rings. The Class of 2015 won 41 total games, four consecutive league titles, five playoff games including two Elite 8 appearances, over the past four seasons. Note to the folks that say the Empire 8 is the best conference in the East - Hobart is 4-1 against their conference champions / playoff teams in the last four years ;)
The night began with a heartfelt invocation and prayer by Chaplain Leslie Adams who's in her final weeks of service at the Colleges. Defensive Coordinator Nick Grange was the evening's MC and did a great job keeping the night moving (and cracking jokes).
I had the pleasure of making a few remarks after dinner and Connor Cough's excellent highlight reel from all the big plays of this historic season. My focus was to implore the graduating SRs and the underclassmen to "Be A Fan" of Hobart and whatever passion / calling they have during and after their college years. I'll see you all in a couple years at the Bicentennial celebration, if not sooner!
After the ring ceremony, SR OLB and Co-Captain Matt McGriff '15 spoke on behalf of the team. He was thoughtful, impressive and humble. A true Statesmen to the core.
Head Coach Mike Cragg wrapped the evening with a game by game recap of the season and a big announcement. In 2015 the Statesmen will be "dry" during the season which was received with applause at the banquet and some discussions after the fact.
While I believe Coach is right in that this will make the team better, it's a bold step in the program's evolution. The Class of 2016 has some great leadership and time will tell whether or not this commitment - which Coach will hold everyone 100% accountable to - will work for all the current players on the team.
I think the goal is a worthy one and while of course these are 18-22 year old young men, if you want to achieve the goal of making it to Salem, you have to sacrifice a lot in order to get there.
Below are a few pictures from the evening:
Class of 2015
SR jersey keepsakes
More jerseys (note #90 and #55)
Trustee Jim Caird '56 and the Class of 2015