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August 2014

Welcome Back

With our women's soccer team officially reporting earlier this week and several other programs set to follow suit in the coming days, the new academic year has nearly arrived.

The coming year will mark the 36th in our proud history as a member of the BIG EAST Conference and the second in the newest chapter of what remains one of the most prominent leagues in the nation.

Our vision for the future is driven by the aspiration to offer an elite student-athlete experience while furthering our deep-rooted athletic tradition. I can say with no trepidation that we have reached this point because of continued support from people like you and it is that sense of family that makes Seton Hall such a unique institution.

As stewards of this department, it is a priority for our staff to make every effort to ensure that our student-athletes are equipped to perennially compete at a championship level on the field and vie for the top positions once their time here has come to a conclusion.

I believe we have made undoubted progress in this light as evidenced by the success of our swimming & diving programs and a title-winning effort from our women's golf squad last year. These are the initial building blocks upon which we hope to construct a foundation of prolonged excellence in all areas here at The Hall.

All of our facility enhancements described in this newsletter have been derived from an effort to continue to position Seton Hall to be a leader in both academics and athletics on the conference level as well as the national stage. We have over 240 student-athletes who work tirelessly day-in and day-out to represent the University to the best of their abilities and honor all that it means to be a Pirate.

Each new year brings hope and promise, but when you step back and look at where we have been, where we are, and where we are going as a department and university, it is clear that these are truly exciting times to be a Pirate.

I would like to thank you all again for your invaluable contributions and look forward to seeing you at events throughout the fall.

Facility Improvements Underway

Since my first day at Seton Hall, we have made facility upgrades a priority in order to enhance the student-athlete experience. Just in the past year, we completed renovations to our sports medicine and academic advising areas, with the opening of the Center for Sports Medicine and the Charles W. Doehler Academic Center, and a new 12,000-square foot state-of-the-art university fitness center made its debut in January.

I am pleased to announce that construction for the next phase of capital enhancements is already well underway. These projects focus on improving areas devoted to our varsity student-athletes, as we create a new student-athlete weight room and dedicated locker room space for each of our varsity programs.

The weight room will sit in the footprint of the space previously designated for the university fitness center, doubling the size of our varsity student-athlete training facility. Additionally, the former dance studio will be converted to a team video room to benefit all of our programs.

Individual locker rooms for each of our varsity programs outside of men's and women's basketball are also in development, which marks the first time every program at Seton Hall will have its own locker room. As the embedded photos indicate, some of the locker room spaces are already prepared for walls to start going up. The expected completion date for the project is January 2015, which means our student-athletes will be able to enjoy these new spaces during the upcoming academic year.

The ability to create varsity athletic facilities that rival some of the best in the nation and significantly enhance the student-athlete experience would not be possible without the support of Pirate Blue and our fans and alumni. As I announced last month, Pirate Blue broke another fund raising record last year, but opportunities remain to name individual lockers and contribute to these exciting new projects. Contact the Pirate Blue Athletic Fund today to help support what I consider to be a significant step in securing the Seton Hall Athletic Department's future as a premier athletic institution.

BIG EAST Academic Accolades

As we prepare to open the 2014-15 competition year, the BIG EAST made two final academic announcements honoring those excelled in the classroom last year. I'm proud to acknowledge that 191 Seton Hall student-athletes, which represents 77% of the varsity population, were named BIG EAST Academic All-Stars.

To be eligible for the honor, a nominee must have competed in a BIG EAST-sponsored sport, earned a varsity letter, attained a minimum grade-point average of 3.00 for the preceding academic year, and completed a minimum of two consecutive semesters or three consecutive quarters of academic work, with a total of 18 semester or 27 quarter credits, not including remedial courses. The conference also announced that the Seton Hall men's cross country team received a Team Academic Excellence Award for having the highest collective grade-point average among league members in the sport.

The announcements cap off an impressive academic year for Seton Hall, which saw its combined student-athlete cumulative grade-point average climb to a record high of 3.29, while a number of the Pirates' varsity programs and student-athletes were honored for their academic success.

I know you'll join me in congratulating our student-athletes for a remarkable year both on the fields of play and in the classroom.

Men's & Women's Basketball Season Tickets On Sale

It is hard to believe basketball season is only a few months away. Our teams have been working hard in the off season and we are all looking forward to another exciting year of Pirate basketball. Season tickets for the men's and women's programs are on sale now, and there are some great seats still available. The men's team will play 14 home games at the Prudential Center, which includes a highly anticipated contest with Rutgers on Dec. 6, in addition to all nine BIG EAST programs that will visit The Rock. Coming off a run to the WNIT Sweet 16 in Tony Bozzella's first year, the women's team has 18 regular-season home games at Walsh Gymnasium beginning with the Preseason WNIT on Nov. 14.

There are many benefits to being a season ticket holder, none more significant than the savings off the single game prices. Faculty, staff, administrators, young alumni and students can also take advantages of special season ticket rates. Our Fan Relationship Management Center, headed by Chris Hernandez, recently extended its hours and is here to answer any questions you may have. Ticket representatives are available to provide more information through our new live chat functionality located in the bottom left corner of your browsing window at SHUPirates.com. Chris can also be reached directly at 973-275-2923 or Chris.Hernandez@shu.edu.

Pirate Blue Golf Outing Recap

It was great to catch up with so many loyal Seton Hall Athletics supporters on Monday at the Pirate Blue Golf Outing at Navesink Country Club in Middletown, N.J. This is one of my favorite events on the Pirate Blue calendar as it symbolizes the beginning of a new year and gives us the opportunity to update the Pirate faithful on all the exciting happenings around Seton Hall Athletics. We had a record turnout as the golf portion of the event was a sell out with 28 foursomes. There were over 125 dinner attendees who heard from head coaches Kevin Willard and Anthony Bozzella as they addressed the crowd previewing their upcoming seasons. For the second-straight year, Peter Christou, Frank Laviano, Matt Strazza and Lou Romano took home the title, earning the opportunity to play in the Acura College Alumni Team Championship at world famous Pinehurst Resort.

The annual success of the Pirate Blue Golf Outing could not be possible without our generous sponsors. A special thanks goes out title sponsor Torcon Inc., dinner sponsor The O'Brien Family and lunch sponsor Mike Murzenski '91 - Legg Mason and Gerard Touhey '91 - RTB Media, as well as Life Fitness, Zimmerer, Urray, Conyngham & Kunzier - Robert Zimmerer `81/J.D. '84 and PSE&G - William Frese, J.D. '74. We would also like to recognize Nielsen Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram for providing the vehicle for the Hole-in-One Challenge.

As we look ahead, don't forget to mark your calendars for our next two Pirate Blue events with the Sixth Annual Beefsteak Tip-Off Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 2 in Walsh Gymnasium and the Coach Mike Sheppard Golf Outing at Maplewood Country Club on Monday, Oct. 13.