In the 12 years since graduating from St. Francis College, many changes have come to my beloved alma mater.
The institution itself is now a university, and the campus has been transformed in so many ways. There has been a lot of turnover in athletics over the last dozen years as well. Facilities have substantially upgraded, and success has been abundant for many of our teams.
On Thursday, the university announced the hiring of Rob Krimmel as men's basketball coach. In my opinion this is, without a doubt, a fantastic selection. Having known Rob since I hosted him on a recruiting visit in the fall of 1995, I feel compelled to share a few insights I have about my former teammate and very close friend.
When Rob signed his national letter-of-intent to come to Loretto in November of 1995, the other option in front of him was a commitment to the United States Naval Academy and a career playing ball for the Midshipmen.
Luckily, he enjoyed his visit so much that his stay at St. Francis wasn't just for four years, but 16!
Rob has been committed to St. Francis. His love for the school and its men's basketball program is second to none. I can think of no one more dedicated. Here is a guy that has had plenty of opportunity to move onto bigger and better things, but his heart remained in Loretto.
Loyalty is a quality needed in every coach, Rob has shown it, and by naming him head coach, St. Francis has rightfully rewarded it.
Playing for four years with Rob has also shown me he's the right choice for many other reasons. From a basketball standpoint nobody, myself included, outworked Rob Krimmel. Not only a gifted athlete, Rob took more shots, lifted more weights, and ran more miles than every single one of us.
After he smashed my Cresson mountain team record, we used to run 2.2 miles straight up to the Lemon House, I concluded that he may also have an extra lung. His attention to details was also apparent from day one.
Rob is the most meticulous person I know. When preparing, no stone goes unturned. Rob's knowledge of the game of basketball from an Xs and Os standpoint is phenomenal, and I can't wait to see what type of system he is going to implement. The fans are going to be in for a treat.
To be named an Academic All-American was one of Rob's proudest accomplishments. His background as a one of the finest student-athletes in school history will immediately earn the respect of both his players and their professors.
Rob was also presented with the Mr. Frankie Award, an award that has been given out since 1936 and is given to the individual who best personifies Franciscan values, scholastic achievement and leadership among other things.
Vince Lombardi famously said, "Leaders aren't born, they are made."
Rob Krimmel's accomplishments support this belief. He has earned everything he has accomplished including his new title of head coach.
Winning at St. Francis is extremely difficult; only five winning seasons out of the last 34. Rob and I played on one of those teams, and he was an assistant coach on another.
There needs to be the right mix of talent and leadership for winning to become the norm. Rob knows this and after paying his dues as an assistant for 12 years will finally get the chance to turn things around in Loretto.
The program is in great hands.
(The writer played basketball at St. Francis from 1995-2000.)
Hold off on honoring Paterno
There is clearly a strong sentiment among the supporters of Joe Paterno to find ways to honor his legacy.
Few, however, are willing to discuss his legacy in terms that include the Sandusky/Penn State/Second Mile child sex scandal. And Paterno was clearly a central figure in the coverup of these sordid activities.
One gets the impression that the Paterno-worshipers are in denial of what his legacy now includes. Hardly anyone would deny his generosity and success as a coach, but that is now only part of the story, and the other part is very ugly.
From Paterno's own words ("fondling or doing something of a sexual nature"), it is rather clear that he knew something despicable had occurred in the Lasch Football Building shower.
But his only response was to report it to Tim Curley, thus clearing himself of legal repercussions. He made no attempt to get clarification from Mike McQueary, no effort to identify and talk with the boy, no attempt to confront Sandusky, and he did not report it directly to the police even when it was clear that no one else had done so.
Paterno then participated in an eight-year coverup of the rape during which two or three more young boys were allegedly molested.
This is now part of the Paterno legacy, but the Kool-Aid drinkers are doing their best to ignore it. We are witnessing a breathtaking exercise in denial - a blatant refusal to separate fact from fiction, myth from reality.
The questions these brainwashed fools need to answer are:
Do you understand the dangers of blind hero worship? If the raped boy had been your son, would you still be clamoring for ways to honor Joe's legacy?