of a Different Nature
by Mark Simon
YEOMEN ARE A PATIENT BUNCH.
They would have to be at Oberlin, where the football team
bearing that nickname (whose dictionary definition is
"diligent and dependable workers") has spent nearly the
last three seasons in football purgatory.
A 29-game losing streak
would make pessimists out of a lot ofpeople, but notfirst-year
coach Jeff Ramsey.
There are reasons
for this of course, most of which pertain to Ramsey's
alma mater, University of California at Davis.
"That program won
12 games in the 1960s," said Ramsey, who played and
coached there in the early '80s under recent College
Football Hall of Fame inductee Jim Sochor. "Then they
won 20 consecutive (Northern California Athletic Conference)
titles, an all-division record. There are always programs
you can look to and say that this can be done (here).
Winning that first game will be the biggest hurdle.
Once that happens, the kids will believe."
Things look grim
with his team ending the season 0-10 and having been
outscored 252-22 in its last five lopsided defeats,
but Ramsey is big on making a fresh start. After coaching
as an assistant at Sonoma State, Marietta, and Illinois,
Ramsey left football to become a manager for a wholesale
book distributor, whose offices are located in Oberlin.
Three years later
the bug was back and the opening was practically next
door after then-coach Pete Peterson resigned. Ramsey
took the job. At his first team meeting in the spring,
only 18 players showed up. By the time the season
had started, he had nearly twice as many. Initially,
his quarterback moved to safety and his top line backer
moved to guard so the team could fill out its lineup.
"I knew," said
Ramsey about how he examined the football program,
"that it had nowhere to go but up."
may chuckle when Oberlin's team takes the field, but
the coach finds some of his player's accomplishments
fascinating under the circumstances. One starting
defensive lineman comes from England and grew up on
rugby. He's still learning a new sport. Another lineman,
Kwesi Skinner, is legally blind in his right eye,
but still has tremendous passion for the sport.
"He knows the risks
he's taking and he wants to play," Ramsey said. "A
guy like that--you love to have him."
We won't get into
the statistics and we won't delve into the 42-6 opening
day loss to a Swarthmore program that prior to that
game had the longest losing streak in the nation.
Ramsey admits that his team isn't any good.
But he's here to
promise that things will get better. One freshman,
wide receiver Cody McCoy, was all-state small-school
first team in Ohio. Another, linebacker Mike McClendon,
was a large-school honorable mention. Ramsey promises
that any player he recruits will be a starter at the
high school level. The facility, with three weight
rooms and an indoor track, and the solid academic
reputation of the college are appealing to most that
come to the campus.
"I think with any program there
is the possibility for success," Ramsey said. "What
determines the success is how hard the coaches work.
If we wait for kids to come to us, it's not going
to get done. People can blame anybody but that's not
going to get it done. Our kids have a tough time believing--believing
that they can win. They've been beat up for so long,
we're just trying to take it one down and one series
at a time. My job is to make them better."
by permission of the author, Mark Simon, and D3football.com.
Association Names New President; Hard-Working Volunteers Are
Diane Kenty and Peter Kirsch
the gavel to the newest president
of the Oberlin Alumni Council in November, Peter Kirsch '79
ended his two-year position as the organization's tireless
volunteer leader. In stepped Diane Kenty '77 of Bath, Maine,
an attorney and director of Court Alternative Dispute Resolutions
for the State of Maine Judicial Branch. Within the Alumni
Council, Diane has chaired the admissions advisory committee
and served as admissions coordinator and member of the campaign
steering committee.Her leadership is warmly supportedby alumni.
The Association honored several alums
during its Fall Alumni Council meeting and dinner November
8 and 9, including Danette DiBiasio Wineberg '68, who received
the Distinguished Service Award for 1999. Danette is a former
president of the Association and remains very active on
behalf of the College.
Volunteer of the Year Awards were presented
to four alums, including new class president Janet Heininger
'74, who was named Class Agent of the Year. Jan single-handedly
secured over $160,000 worth of pledges and funds for the
25th Reunion Class Gift and helped exceed the original goal
of $300,000 by $107,000 while serving
in the dual role of class agent and reunion gift committee
Former Class President David Goodman
'74, now vice president, managed to recruit more members
to their 25th class reunion last summer than any in recent
history. With help from his class, he coordinated two
successful Commencement symposia and organized class discussion
forums, a luncheon, and a recital. He received the Class
President of the Year award.
Joel Kadis '83 was recognized as the Admissions
Coordinator of the Year, a task he began ten years ago
in New York and later in Boston. He helped establish links
with the Alumni Office's regional coordinators, train
new coordinators, and recently joined the Admissions Advisory
The Regional Co-Coordinators of the Year,
Peter Flint '92 and Samuel Servello '87, found time and
energy to plan a number of special events for alumni in
their region. Concerts, films, faculty lectures, a swing
dance, and community service days were among a few.
Other alumni honored were
the four executive board members whose terms ended in 1999,
including Carl Gerber '58, Maxine Wenzler Houck '58, Gregory
Kehm '88, and dt ogilvie '70.