As admission director, Michael Goldberger welcomed the freshman class at orientation every year with a new version of his famous “best-class-ever” speech. The statistics-laden oration is his chance to supplant the previous class as the most accomplished to walk through the Van Wickle Gates with the current first-years, Brown’s latest pride and joy.
Now that Goldberger has become athletic director, athletes are bound to benefit from his love of superlatives. To help get this ball rolling, the BAM here presents its annual look back at the year’s sporting highs and lows.
» Most Likely to Become a Fish
Although he didn’t go as high as Bill Almon ’75, who was the first selection in the 1974 Major League Baseball Draft, outfielder Matt Kutler ’05 was picked by the Florida Marlins as the 726th pick in this year’s draft. Kutler, who was injured for the entire 2004 season, led the Ivies this year in eight batting categories and finished ninth in the NCAAs with a .427 average. The unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year and three-time First Team All-Ivy selection broke both the Ivy and Brown career-hits records with 260 while leading the Bears to their best Ivy record ever at 14–6.
» Best Students
The wrestling and the men’s water polo teams were acknowledged for their outstanding team GPAs. The National Wrestling Coaches Association announced that the Brown grapplers had the highest GPA in collegiate wrestling, while the Collegiate Water Polo Association honored the men’s team for its top GPA.
» Worst Schedule
With only two upperclassmen, the men’s basketball team knew coming into the season that it would need to depend on contributions from inexperienced players. The Bears were forced to grow up fast, playing just four of their first eighteen contests at home, including a streak of nine straight on the road. Even mother nature had had enough: a blizzard shortened the road trip by forcing the postponement of a game at Yale.
» Best Finish (I)
After dropping its first two Ivy games of the season, the baseball team desperately needed two wins against Penn to contend for the Rolfe Division Title. Danny Hughes ’06 provided the heroics in both games, hitting a walk-off single in the eleventh inning of game one and driving in the winning run in game two.
» Best Finish (II)
Men’s track and field captain Patrick Tarpy ’05 had never competed in the 10,000-meter run at the collegiate level until the Heps at Columbia this spring. Tarpy won the race in 30:37.39, passing three runners in the final straightaway.
» Most Likely to Succeed
Major league teams signed all three seniors on the men’s soccer team. Jeff Larentowicz ’05 and Marcos Romaneiro ’05 will both play for the New England Revolution, while netminder Chris Gomez ’05 will join FC Dallas.
» Best Rookie
Hockey head coach Roger Grillo has quickly made Brown fans forget about the loss of Hobey Baker runner-up Yann Danis ’04. Although just a rookie, Adam D’Alba ’08 finished seventh in the NCAAs in save percentage and eighteenth in goals against average.
» Most Overdue Award
Nearly eight decades after he last hung up his cleats, Fritz Pollard ’19, Brown’s first African American football player and the first African American coach in the NFL, was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Long regarded as a racial pioneer on par with Jackie Robinson, Pollard helped take the Bears to the Rose Bowl in 1916. Unfortunately, Pollard died in 1986, at the age of ninety-two.
» Best International Acclaim
Picking up his second career bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, Jimmy Pedro ’94 became the first American ever to win two career Olympic medals in judo. Pedro was the only one of the eight former Brown athletes competing in Athens to take a medal. Pedro’s younger brother, Mike Pedro ’06, is a member of the Brown wrestling team.
» Worst Road Trip
The football team traveled to Hanover, N.H., late in the season to take on then-winless Dartmouth. A victory for the Bears, coupled with one the following week against Columbia, would have given Brown a winning Ivy record and its first winning season in three years. Unfortunately, on the way to the game one of the team’s buses collided with a compact car that jutted into its lane. No one was seriously hurt, but it was an ominous sign: the Big Green shut the team out for the first three quarters en route to a 20–7 victory.
» Best Sport Nobody Follows
The equestrian team sent three riders to the nationals this year, and all placed in the top fourteen. Jamie Peddy ’06 took fourth, Whitney Keefe ’08 finished eleventh, and Grace Peloquin ’07 was fourteenth.
» Most Dynamic Duo
Adil Shamasdin ’05 and Nick Goldberg ’05 started out on the men’s tennis team as double partners on a squad that captured the Ivy League title and an automatic NCAA tournament berth. The pair ended their careers in the same way, partnering up for first doubles to lead the Bears to a perfect 7–0 conference record. Unfortunately, the Bears bowed out in the first round of the NCAA tournament against a tough Ohio State team.
» Best Start
After dropping its opening game to Temple, the women’s basketball team rattled off six straight victories, giving the team the best start in its thirty-year history. The Bears stayed hot throughout most of the season, finishing 18–9, with the most wins since the 1993–94 season.
» Best at a Sport Everybody Plays
The skiing team tied for second place at the U. S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships in Idaho, the team’s best finish ever. In addition, Brown scooped up five All-American honors, two apiece for Janet Marley-Mauzy ’07 and Hilary Swaffield ’06, and one for Kelly O’Hear ’07.
» Worst Move
The fencing team is moving out of the ECACs and into the Ivy League next year. The switch will be difficult for the Bears, who lack the recruiting tactics and large coaching staffs of the other members of the Ancient Eight.