May 2014Donor Matching Day
It is with great pride I am able to announce the third annual Pirate Blue Athletic Fund Donor Matching Day on April 30 broke new barriers, thanks to nearly 450 generous supporters who contributed to the initiative making it a very special day for Seton Hall Athletics. Over $193,000 was raised in 24 hours with all proceeds contributing to our overall mission of providing the top resources to our student-athletes and enhancing their overall experience at Seton Hall. The outpouring of support on Donor Matching Day was a testament to the camaraderie within the Seton Hall community which stretches great distances, becoming even more apparent after receiving a donation from an alumnus currently serving in Afghanistan.
The greatest fund raising day in Pirate Blue's three-decade history was made possible by RTB Media matching 30% of all donations. There was also an anonymous benefactor who infused great excitement to the event through a contribution of $50,000 after Pirate Blue completed the challenge of receiving donations from all 50 states. Thanks to the dedicated effort of everyone involved we managed to nearly triple our fundraising effort from 2013 Donor Matching Day and certainly raised the bar for next year's event.
Athletic Department Partners with Under Armour
In late April we announced exciting news that the Athletic Department will join forces with Under Armour beginning on July 1, 2014. We are thrilled to secure this multiyear partnership with the global leader in sports performance and innovation that will serve as the exclusive outfitter for all of our varsity teams. Providing premier resources for our student-athletes to thrive both on and off the field of play has always been at the forefront of our mission. We believe the collaboration with Under Armour for the 2014-15 season and beyond greatly contributes to achieving these goals. Under Armour is equally committed to the success of our teams and student-athletes, which has been confirmed through the term and financial commitment to the University.
Through our comprehensive agreement, Under Armour will design and supply the footwear, apparel and equipment for training and game uniforms. The partnership also features marketing and promotion elements that will help raise the brand awareness of Seton Hall Athletics. We will join an elite list of Under Armour's fourteen Division I all-school partners, which also includes Notre Dame, Maryland, Auburn and South Carolina. Stay tuned to SHUPirates.com this summer as we begin to unveil Seton Hall's new-look uniforms and apparel.
NCAA APR Public Recognition Awards
For the second straight year, five of our athletic programs earned the NCAA's Public Recognition Award for maintaining a multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the top-10 percent of their sport. I want to congratulate the baseball, women's golf, softball, women's tennis and women's volleyball programs for receiving this prestigious honor. It should also be noted that this is the fifth consecutive year the women's volleyball team collected the accolade, as well as the second straight for the women's golf, women's tennis and softball programs. This award is truly a testament to our student-athlete's dedication and hard work in the classroom.
Women's Golf Wins BIG EAST Championship
Four short years after the program's inception, our women's golf team has evolved into one of the premier squads in the region and late last month, head coach Sara Doell and the Pirates reached the pinnacle of the conference as they took home the 2014 BIG EAST Championship from the LPGA International Legends Course in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Congratulations for all are in order as the team title is our first since baseball took home the 2011 crown and marks the 20th in a proud history of Seton Hall in the BIG EAST Conference. With the win, the team has earned the right to compete at the NCAA East Regional in Tallahassee which runs Thursday through Saturday. The performance has also yielded a slew of postseason awards including BIG EAST Coach of the Year and All-BIG EAST selections for a trio of golfers in Ali Kruse, Erin McClure and Megan Tenhundfeld.
The program's rapid ascension is a testament to and a direct reflection of a steadfast commitment to excel at the highest level. As a squad, our women's golfers have also performed exceptionally in the classroom and have been great ambassadors for Seton Hall University and our athletic department. Their achievements are a tremendous source of pride for us all and I could not be more excited for a group that has helped lay a foundation for continued success.
It is our objective to regularly contend for championships in all sports. We strive to create a culture where Seton Hall student-athletes feel empowered to succeed in the classroom and compete at a championship level. The progress we have made in recent years - thanks in large part to the support from our loyal alumni base - is encouraging; yet I know that there are many more bright days ahead for Seton Hall Athletics as well.
Gavitt Tipoff Games
On Monday, the BIG EAST and Big Ten collaborated at Madison Square Garden to announce The Gavitt Tipoff Games, an annual early-season men's basketball series beginning in 2015. Named after BIG EAST founder and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dave Gavitt, the eight-game, four-day event will kick off the college basketball season in a deal that runs through 2022. The formation of this new partnership, in honor of one of the finest men to grace the game, will provide challenging early season matchups between historic basketball conferences that share a geographic footprint.
As we strive to further develop the renewed BIG EAST Conference, it is alliances like this that will elevate competition and generate exposure. BIG EAST teams are guaranteed to participate in the Gavitt Tipoff Games six times over the eight-year pact with games to be played at home sites and nationally televised by the conference's respective television partners (FOX Sports 1, ESPN or BIG Ten Network). Watch clips from Monday's press conference here.
Women's Basketball Season Tickets
The month of May is a perfect time for our fans to show their support for our women's basketball program, thanks to our pledge to donate a portion of each 2014-15 season ticket package purchased this month to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Our women's basketball team is coming off an exciting season under first year head coach Tony Bozzella, and the tremendous fan support throughout the year and during the postseason run was critical to that success. Season tickets are just $45, and $5 from each season ticket package we sell in May will directly benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The WBCA's annual Play 4 Kay initiative and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund are the preeminent national charitable initiatives to raise funds aiding breast cancer research and awareness, and I am proud of Seton Hall's continued commitment to those efforts.
To purchase 2014-15 women's basketball season tickets, contact the Seton Hall ticket office at (973) 275-HALL (4255).
One of my favorite initiatives we have instituted over the past several years is the Pirate Pride Challenge. It is an outstanding way to engage our former student-athletes while providing them with an opportunity to make a direct impact on their former programs. This year's Pirate Pride Challenge has entered the final month, with the baseball and women's soccer programs battling for the $5,000 gift from the Pirate Blue Athletic Fund.
The competition has been reset, with the grand prize being awarded to whichever of those two programs has the greatest participation percentage this month. However, I want to encourage all former student-athletes to continue helping your former teams, as there will also be $2,500 awarded to the program that raises the most money throughout the challenge and to the team with the greatest overall participation increase from 2013.
I want to thank all of our former student-athletes who have already participated. Your support of Seton Hall athletics is vital to our ability to provide the best possible experience for all of our student-athletes. For more information on the Pirate Pride Challenge or to make a donation, visit PiratePrideChallenge.com.
Chi Alpha Sigma Induction Ceremony
As the academic year winds down and our student-athletes diligently prepare for final exams, I would like to take a moment to recognize an exceptional group that was inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma, the National Student-Athlete Honor Society, last week.
In total, 34 of our student-athletes from 12 different varsity teams were recognized for achieving a cumulative grade-point average of 3.4 or higher through three academic years and exemplifying high moral character. This is a tremendous number given that last year's ceremony featured 39 inductees who met the requirements over a two-year span.
Collectively, our student-athletes currently hold a grade-point average of 3.279, the highest mark in school history and over the last two years; over 70 percent of them have been named BIG EAST Academic All-Stars. Furthering such success in the classroom was the impetus behind the construction of the brand-new Charles W. Doehler Academic Center for Excellence. I would like to commend our student-athletes for their continued dedication to maximizing their educational opportunities as well as Matt Geibel, our Director of Academic Support Services, and his staff for their exceptional work in guiding our student-athletes through the process.
Pirates in the Community
Last week, members of the men's basketball team volunteered their time at the St. John's Soup Kitchen in Newark to assist in the daily operations. Head coach Kevin Willard and several student-athletes prepared and distributed hundreds of meals to the needy, while also assisting in organizing the pantry for future meals to be served. Their efforts embody our mission of enriching the community and developing student-athlete leaders at Seton Hall. Watch the video recap and visit the photo gallery.