Division III notes: New Jersey City honors longtime coach
New Jersey City will pay tribute next week to its recently retired men’s basketball coach – following a quarter century of coaching and nearly a half century after he first attracted attention as a standout high school player in his home town -- by unveiling its newly named Charlie Brown Court.
Brown, a 1965 New Jersey City graduate who returned to the school as coach in 1982, retired before the 2007-08 season after winning 483 games through 25 seasons. He also served for many years as a school principal in his home town of Jersey City, in addition to finding success as a high school coach in the city before taking the coaching reins at his alma mater.
The university will dedicate the Charlie Brown Court before New Jersey City’s November 15 basketball opener against York (New York). It also will hold a retirement dinner honoring Brown the previous night, to raise funds for an endowed scholarship fund bearing the coach’s name.
“Words cannot explain the joy I feel each and every moment I see ‘Charlie Brown Court’ on the main court here at NJCU,” said son Marc Brown, who is serving this year as interim men’s basketball coach. “It is rare to be recognized as such, and is a privilege. My father is not just a parent, he is my mentor, friend, and has always been my idol. His accomplishments in the Jersey City community, and at NJCU, are unparalleled.”
Charlie Brown, who guided 12 of his teams to appearances in the Division III Men’s Basketball Championship, admitted he is surprised by the school’s plans to honor his name.
“I know they don’t do things like that too often,” he said. “It is a physical legacy, and that’s why I am overwhelmed. When you’re (coaching), you don’t realize you’re affecting people so much. People must think I’ve done a good job to put my name on the court and for it to be there for all time. It’s hard for me to put into words what this means.”
Sewanee names field house for alumnus Kyle Rote Jr.
A former Sewanee (University of the South) soccer star who went on to fame as a professional player and television star returned to his alma mater recently for the dedication of a field house named in his honor.
Kyle Rote Jr., who transferred from Oklahoma State to Sewanee before his sophomore year then set school records in soccer and as a javelin thrower in track and field, was the North American Soccer League’s rookie of the year in 1973 with the Dallas Tornado. He later won national renown as a three-time winner of the ABC television network’s Superstars competition.
His return to campus last weekend stirred memories of Rote’s time as a Sewanee student-athlete, as well as his significant role in popularizing soccer in the United States.
“Sewanee was the perfect place for me to grow academically and spiritually – all while enjoying the excitement of competing athletically at a challenging level,” Rote said.
Current Sewanee soccer coach Dave Pogge expressed gratitude to Rote in a halftime ceremony during Rote’s visit.
“As a kid growing up in the ’70s, soccer was a sport that was played by foreigners,” Pogge told Rote. “If you were American and chose to play soccer, you were called a lot of politically incorrect things. If you were a good athlete and your passion was soccer, it was even worse. A lot of things have changed.”
Pogge recalled a Sports Illustrated interview with Rote in 1969 – just after the son of nationally famous college and pro football Kyle Rote had enrolled at Sewanee – in which the younger Rote said he believed he could “help make soccer a major sport.”
“More importantly, you permanently changed the sigma for Americans of who a soccer player is and what he or she can become,” Pogge said. “Countless generations owe you a debt of gratitude.”
Wooster plans field, lights for stadium
Wooster trustees approved installation of a new synthetic-turf field and lights at the school’s John J. Papp Stadium.
The $1.35 million project, which also will include renovation of the stadium’s track, will be completed by August 2009.
“This will significantly expand opportunities for our entire campus community in sport, recreation and wellness,” said Keith Beckett, director of physical education, athletics and recreation. “It will reduce scheduling conflicts, improve playing and practicing conditions, and afford the college opportunities to host athletics and other events that were not previously possible.”
The majority of the project’s cost will be funded from unrestricted gifts received during a recent college fund-raising campaign, and the remainder will be sought from donors who indicate an interest in the project.
Milestones: Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham and Wittenberg
Two women’s volleyball coaches recently collected their 200th career coaching victories.
Al Campora reached the milestone in Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham’s October 29 win over Delaware Valley. Campora has led the Devils to seven straight 20-win seasons.
Also collecting victory No. 200 was Wittenberg’s Paco Labrador, whose nationally ranked Tigers claimed their 30th victory of the season in an October 31 win over Denison. Labrador has been at Wittenberg since 2003.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association