StagTracks

A first-person account of Stags Athletics!

DOBO Diaries!

Hello All!

I hope that everyone is surviving this crazy and unprecedented weather pattern we have been dealing with lately. I know that Fairfield and a lot of the surrounding communities have been hit hard, and our staff’s thoughts are with all those who are dealing with very difficult times. We all have been personally affected and it is great to see everyone banding together to help get by!

Keeping on this note for a second, I also want to thank the Fire, EMS, and Utility workers who braved the elements the last few weeks to help rebuild. I ran into a few firemen who were showering at our athletic facilities last week during the clean up. In talking with them I learned they had been out for 3 or 4 days working around the community without seeing their families.  We all owe them a huge thank you for the work they have done! We definitely wouldn’t be close to were we are now without them. Our program will be offering special nights this year at our home games for all of these workers and their families to show our appreciation!

Before the storms hit our program had the opportunity the host our first coaches clinic and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! On Sunday October 28th we hosted over 80 local youth, high school, and small college coaches at Alumni Hall. We were very lucky to be able to have three tremendous speakers that made the event special.

Our first speaker was Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril, who coached for many years at Princeton University before moving on to the NBA and helping out the Sacramento Kings.  It was an absolute pleasure to sit down and watch Coach speak for an hour. His knowledge of the game is limitless and I know everyone in attendance learned a lot, including our staff and players, from having the opportunity to watch him teach.

After a great lunch from Garden Catering (little plug for one of our sponsors) Pete Gillen took the court for a talk on zone offense. I have had the honor of getting to know Coach Gillen this fall as he has come by few of our practices. He is one of the most charismatic individuals I have ever met, and his hour talk was a great mix of outstanding zone plays (which you might see the Stags running this year) and some solid comedy. In my opinion he should attend some open mic nights down in NYC. I’ve been to a few and he would definitely hold his own!

The day finished up with Mike Maker, the head coach at perennial D3 basketball power Williams College. Coach Maker has one of the best basketball minds in the country. Last year I had the privilege of being on his staff and he helped me grow as a coach and a person. His talk focused on his plethora of fundamental drills he puts his team through every day, and a sprinkle of his offensive principles. We limited Coach Maker to an hour, but I know he could have gone on for days, and no one in the gym would have told him to stop!

Overall it was a great event, and one that we hope to bring to the community every year. Coaching clinics are so valuable to coaches at every level, and to often we fail to share our thoughts and experiences with each other. I definitely grew as coach, and I know everyone left wanting to immediately get in a gym to work with their players! Thank you for everyone who came out, and a huge thank you to Coach Carril, Coach Gillen, and Coach Maker who truly made the day special!

As our first games of the year start this weekend, I hope to see everyone at as many Stag games as they can make. We definitely need and appreciate your support. We play Saturday night up in Hartford against Central Connecticut State. Sunday we travel down to Virginia for the Preseason NIT with our opening game against University of Virginia of the ACC on Monday night on ESPN3. Go Stags!

 

Kyle

DOBO Diaries! Red Sea Madness Edition

Blog Note: Kelly Romano and Kyle Koncz are the Directors of Basketball Operations for the Fairfield basketball programs. They will partner to bring you DOBO Diaries throughout the year – sharing with you some insights into the behind the scenes work that goes into making a Division I basketball program run.

Hello all!

Monday was a great day for me. Not only was it our first Monday practice of the season (practice started over the weekend), it was also the first Monday I could wake up tasting a Cleveland Browns victory! For a native Clevelander when the Browns win it feels something like a national holiday. This victory was even sweeter as it came against our rivals from the south of the state, the Bengals, and it guaranteed we wouldn’t go 0-16 on the season! Baby steps and building blocks, work with me here!

The other exciting event that happened this weekend was what has become the official annual start to the college basketball season all across the country, Midnight Madness, which at Fairfield we call Red Sea Madness. Friday night in Alumni Hall both the Men’s and Women’s team joined with the Red Sea, the Stags 6th Man, for an hour of fun and games.

It started of with the introduction of both teams. It was great to see each players own signature entrance as they came out. My personal favorite was the Stag’s junior forward Keith Matthews superman pose. He might be able to give the terminator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger a run for that 1970 Mr. Olympia title!

Next on the list of events was a three-point contest and hot-shot competition. Freshman guard Justin Jenkins was able to overcome the nerves performing in front of the Red Sea for the first time to make it championship, but he was unable to string together enough makes to pull off the victory. In the Stags vs. Students Hot Shot competition our very own student manager Brandon Bubba had his hopes and dreams crushed by a Desmond Wade’s half court buzzer beater! There goes his opportunity to trash talk everyday in practice this season, sorry Brandon. Maybe Des will give you a rematch sometime this year.

The night concluded with a fantastic dunk contest. While all the participants put on a great show, it was freshman Marcus Gilbert who stole the spotlight. The lanky Gilbert threw down two SportsCenter Top 10 worthy dunks on the way to the title. Not only can he threw the hammer down, but his ability to seemingly hang in the air allows for some great photos.

Red Sea Madness was a great way to kick off the season and our guys definitely enjoyed the night. It allowed them to be a little loose and have some fun with the crowd. Even Coach Johnson got into the action, stirring up the Red Sea with an electric boogie down at midcourt! Just trust me, it happened.

Both programs really appreciated the strong showing and support of the student body, and we can’t wait to see the 6th Man rattle our opponents at all our games this year!

Until next time,

Kyle – Go Stags!!!

 

 

Martin Bahar’s Guiding Light

“It is not length of life, but depth of life”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Since February 9th, 2009, my family and I have had a constant day-to-day struggle understanding the meaning of the human condition. Questions of why, how, and for what cross our minds recurrently as we deal with the passing of our 25-year old beam of light, Madeleine Beverly Bahar, whose qualities of genuineness, caring, and generosity left a permanent mark on all of the lives she touched on her all-too-short stint on earth.  When you lose a loved one, in my case an older sister, there is no specific amount of time that exonerates you from the feelings of grief and sadness you experience daily, no answer for the infinite number of questions surrounding her passing, and no expressions of condolences that can bring your sister back to life.  Maddie’s time has passed and, while we know we will see her once again, it unfortunately will not be here on earth.  She rests in a better place now and, as hard as it is to cope with her passing from our perspective, we take faith knowing she no longer has to suffer.

Maddie’s legacy is one that is strong and one that transcends time. Her imprint on our world remains through the profound memories she shared with friends and family, the charitable efforts she displayed to those less fortunate over the years, and the resilience and optimism she exhibited in the most trying of times. She displayed her selflessness, grace and character during both her best of times and her worst of times, through sickness and in health.  She will always be remembered as somebody who put the well-being of others first, something not only seen through her work with Greater DC Cares and Loaves and Fishes, but also with her daily treatment of others.  Regardless of her situation, she never wanted somebody else to have a bad day.  Others always came first in Maddie’s world.

Since her passing, my family and I have taken part in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night walk.  Every year communities throughout the United States and Canada, through teams of families, friends, and co-workers, come together to raise money to bring hope to people battling blood cancers as part of a 5k walk. In 2009, our family formed Maddie’s Team and has since raised over $60,000 to support those battling blood cancers nationwide. The Light the Night walk is a terrific event to honor of Maddie, as it brings people together in an incredibly positive atmosphere and raises a substantial amount of money to help others.  The event symbolizes the altruistic manner through which Maddie lived her life and serves as a way for our family to carry on her beautiful legacy.  Information regarding our team’s fundraising efforts and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society can be found at: http://pages.lightthenight.org/nca/Montcomd12/MaddiesTeam.

One difficult thing I do occasionally is read through Maddie’s blog that she started when she entered the hospital in June 2008. It is hard not to get emotional reading it as it brings up so many memories, both good and bad, about my late sister. One consistent thing she conveys throughout her struggle is a beaming sense of optimism and grace through adversity. I encourage you to check out her blog at http://maddiebahar.blogspot.com/ to get an idea about the type of person Maddie was. It has not been updated and, likely, rarely visited by others since her passing, but it serves as an available means through which somebody can realize the type of person Maddie was without ever having met her. I hope her words can encourage all of us to dedicate or rededicate our lives to improving other people’s quality of life while we all are fortunate enough to do so.

MB

 

DOBO Diaries!

Blog Note: Kelly Romano and Kyle Koncz are the Directors of Basketball Operations for the Fairfield basketball programs. They will partner to bring you DOBO Diaries throughout the year – sharing with you some insights into the behind the scenes work that goes into making a Division I basketball program run. Their first post will serve as a little introduction to who they are and how they got here.

My name is Kelly Romano and I am the Director of Operations for the Women’s basketball team. I graduated from Fairfield in 2011 and shortly after was hired to work for the Women’s Basketball team.  My first year as a student at Fairfield was also Coach Frager and his staff’s first year.

I was fortunate enough to be a walk-on for this program and I believe what I learned from my coaches helped me a lot in school and my life.  I think it’s safe to say I am no stranger to perseverance.  I have played basketball through injuries since the spring of my junior year in high school.   I struggled with pain in my hips for a year and visited dozens of doctors before my final diagnosis was made.  The spring and summer of my senior year were spent rehabbing from bilateral hip surgery in hopes of trying out for the Fairfield Women’s basketball team.

All of my work and sacrifice paid off when that chilly September afternoon I was called into Coach Frager’s office and told the news that I was a member of the team!  After all was said and done, a head injury, another round of hip surgeries, and other bumps and bruises, I had a great experience at Fairfield and I consider myself very lucky to be in the position I am in.

I grew up just down the road in Westport, Conn, and currently reside in Fairfield just minutes away from campus.  My sister is a junior here at Fairfield and I take full advantage of this by bugging her every chance I get!  I’m not die-hard sports fan like Kyle but I own a Met’s hat and I am a Giants fan (fun fact: my brother played football at Bridgton Academy with Victor Cruz!).  I mostly am a Fairfield Stags fan, I grew up coming to these games and I continue to attend as many Stags games as I can.

In my free time I usually get dragged to do “fun activities” with my roommates, Athletics Communications graduate assistant (GA) Sarah Minice and Softball GA Laura Valentino.  These activities include baseball games, karaoke Thursdays, and the occasional paintballing excursions.  However, the real fun starts October 3rd, which is when we have our first practice!  I look forward to blogging about our season and giving everyone a little taste of what a “DOBO” does.

And now, here is my co-author Kyle!

Hello there! My name is Kyle Koncz, the Director of Basketball Operations for the Fairfield Men’s Basketball Team.  I’ll stop right there, because you are probably asking yourself what exactly does a Director of Basketball Operations do? Well that’s what I am here to answer.  Throughout the year I will be writing a series of posts to give you an inside look into what I do on a day to day basis to help everything run smoothly for our Stags Men’s Basketball Program.

To start you off I’ll let you know that my position in the college basketball world is called the DOBO, because who really wants to repeat the actual name over and over again, and as the DOBO I am in charge of a lot. By the end of the season I can guarantee you will have a little better idea of the behind the scenes action of our program.

I’ll get into the meat of my job in later posts, but it probably would be good to give you a little background of myself first. I was born and raised in good ole Cleveland, Ohio. The Mistake by the Lake some call it, but I like to refer to it as the Gem of the Midwest. I am a huge Cleveland sports fan, and can’t wait to celebrate our city’s first professional championship. My dream would be a Super Bowl title for the Browns! I know I coach basketball, but Cleveland always has and will be a Browns town. I played basketball at Princeton, and played for Coach Johnson my senior year. Last year I had the opportunity to coach at Williams College, and I came to Fairfield in the beginning of May, very excited to do all I can to help continue the success of the program!

I look forward to keeping you updated throughout the season and giving you a great feel for what we do. If nothing else it will allow you tag along on my ongoing quest to beat Assistant Coach Martin Bahar in tennis.

Until next time, GO STAGS!

Head Coach Ed Paige – USTA Blog

It has been a great time for all involved with team New England at this year’s USTA Intersectionals in lovely, soggy, Shreveport, Louisiana.

We arrived at the airport around one pm on July 7 and sped directly to the clay courts for some sleep-deprived practice, then a dinner and a meeting with the kids’ hosts. As I said earlier, two local families adopt the sixteen-year-old boys and girls for the week and not only feed them, but transport them to the courts and show them around the bayou.

Suffice it to say our time here has been a blast. The teams did well, defeating Caribbean and Pacific Northwest. The level of play by our team was just superb. Particularly outstanding has been the play of our Connecticut contingent, including Elyse Hamlin of Fairfield, Bradley Orban of Milford and Melissa Lord of Bloomfield. Watch out for these three in the future.

Along with the tennis, the players have sure enjoyed their time here and made great friends with the other kids, including the Caribbean contingent, who are mostly from Puerto Rico.

On Wednesday night, team New England went bowling. We knew we arrived at the lanes when we saw a giant (and I do mean giant) bowling pin greet us as we drove up to the establishment.

After a long, long, day of rain, the final day of Intersectionals began at 6 pm local time with a match against Northern California. The format was changed to singles only, and each set began at 2-all.  When the dust (and puddles) had settled the outcome was dead even. New England 3-Northern California 3.  The team finished with two wins, two losses and one tie.

All that was left was a truncated banquet and awards presentation. I am very happy to report that the New England boys and girls won the coveted team sportsmanship award. Each of the athletes handled themselves extremely well on and off the court.

New England should be very proud about these kids as they represent us in such a prestigious competition. Their level of play is the first rate, but their behavior, sportsmanship and good nature is even better.

 

Coach Ed Paige – USTA Blog

For the second consecutive year, I’ve been chosen to coach the New England 16-and-under team at the United States Tennis Association’s prestigious intersectional competition in Shreveport, Louisiana. It is with great pride that I accept this position.

Squads from the sixteen sections of the United States face off in a team competition that includes singles, doubles, and mixed doubles play. Truly, the best 16-and-under players from across the United States will play in “the swamp” before going on to other national or sectional individual play.

What really makes this event special for us are our hosts. The four boys and the four girls who comprise the New England team stay for the week with two local families, who not only put the kids up and feed them, but come to matches and cheer for their visitors. Given the daytime temperatures in Shreveport, this is quite an achievement!

This year, the New England team includes four players from Massachusetts, three from Connecticut, and one from Maine. Our Connecticut natives include Elyse Hamlin of Fairfield and Bradley Orban of Milford.

The competition begins Sunday. Check back for another entry during the competition.

Ed Paige
Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach
Fairfield University

Blog Note: Ed Paige is the head coach of the Fairfield University men’s and women’s tennis teams. Under his guidance, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams captured the 2012 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament. He coached the USTA New England team during the summer of 2011 as well.

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