Around the Water Cooler: Thanksgiving Edition

Published by Timothy J. Walsh on November 24, 2010 at 3:11AM

The Game has ended, and Thanksgiving is here. But even though the fall season is (basically) over, there is still plenty to talk about in Ivy League sports. Three Ancient Eight student-athletes, who put a special emphasis on the “student” half, were honored as Rhodes Scholars; two Ivy men’s soccer teams are making a deep run in the NCAA tournament; Princeton runners impressed at nationals; and football handed out its postseason superlatives. Put down your turkey leg, and join me around the water cooler.

In addition to Harvard’s own Baltazar Zavala, a senior wide receiver on the football team, Dartmouth’s Gabrielle Emanuel and Yale’s William Zeng were chosen as Rhodes Scholars last weekend. Emanuel, who graduated summa cum laude last June, was a rider on the Big Green’s equestrian team and is currently working on a water access and purification program in Mali. Zeng is a member of the Bulldogs’ lightweight crew team and plans to study mathematics and the foundations of computer science at Oxford.

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Webster Continues To Step Up

Published by Brian A. Campos on November 24, 2010 at 3:11AM

Sophomore guard Christian Webster followed up a 29-point performance against Mercer on Saturday with a less flashy but very critical showing against Bryant this afternoon. With only 23 seconds left on the clock, Webster sank one of his two three-pointers of the afternoon to put Harvard up by two. The sophomore finished the game with nine points in 37 minutes, a sharp contrast from his production over the weekend, but his effort was nonetheless important for the Crimson's winning ways. Harvard has won the past three games after starting out the season with a loss to George Mason.

Another important highlight of the game was the return of sophomore forward Kyle Casey, who is recovering from a broken foot, an injury sustained previous to the start of the season. The forward played only a limited amount of minutes (14) but was able to contribute five points, two of which came from the free-throw line. The reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year is obviously taking his time in an effort to return to the starting five. With several games left in its nonconference schedule and players like Webster stepping up for the team, the Crimson can afford to rest the star forward in order to get him ready for Ivy League play starting in January.

Gedeon Elected 138th Captain of Harvard Football, Gordon Named MVP

Published by Max N. Brondfield on November 23, 2010 at 3:11AM
Geddy Up

Junior linebacker Alex Gedeon was chosen by his teammates to be the 138th captain of Harvard football.

Before the Crimson football team’s matchup with Penn on Nov. 13, Harvard coach Tim Murphy noted that Collin Zych and Alex Gedeon acted like the two captains of defense. Turns out Murphy’s analysis was spot on.

The coach announced at the team banquet tonight that Gedeon, a junior this year, was elected by his teammates to replace outgoing senior Zych as the official team captain. The third-year linebacker, who posted 49 tackles and tied for second on the team with two interceptions in addition to occasional punting duty in 2010, takes over as the 138th captain of Harvard football, an honor that Zych carried well enough to earn his own accolade this evening—the Robert F. Kennedy Award for desire and determination.

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Additional Questions for Harvard Football Coach Tim Murphy

Published by Kate Leist on November 22, 2010 at 3:11AM
Murphy's Law

In 17 years with Harvard, each of Tim Murphy’s four-year players has won an Ivy League title.

A few weeks ago, The Back Page sat down with Harvard coach Tim Murphy to talk about his enormous success in his 17 years at the helm of the Crimson football program. Murphy has won five Ivy titles and 111 games with Harvard, and his team just wrapped up its 10th consecutive seven-win season, extending its own Ancient Eight record.

You can read the full feature in our Harvard-Yale supplement, but we couldn’t fit all of Murphy’s wisdom into one story. Here are further excerpts from our interview with the coach:

The Back Page: Harvard had its last losing season in 1998. What goes into sustaining that success?

Murphy: I think constant reeducation and never taking anything for granted. I heard one great investment icon say that we’re only as good as our next year. I wake up every day like there’s a bear in the bushes, ready to take my money, and I think there’s a lot of that. I think the reeducation part is important. We may have had the same basic system at Maine, at Cincinnati, and at Harvard, but we’re constantly tinkering with it to make it better. And I think the last part of it is, even though you may have a system, your personnel does change, so taking advantage of your personnel and tailoring your systems to the personnel you have [is key].

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Sound Off: Murphy Having Fun After The Game

Published by Max N. Brondfield on November 22, 2010 at 3:11AM

In the modern era of sports, being a college coach carries with it the burden of constant media attention. Facing dozens of reporters at press conferences, head coaches have gotten savvier—they say what they need to and leave the rest up for speculation. Here at The Back Page, we’re happy to decode some of these media sessions, showing the average fan what we think coaches’ answers “really” mean.

Harvard coach Tim Murphy had a little fun with the postgame press conference after his Crimson squad topped Yale for the fourth straight year on Saturday. Following the 28-21 victory, the normally sparse interview table was filled from end to end with a host of Harvard seniors. Still, when the questions started flying, the coach got down to business, and we have the breakdown of some of his thoughts on fighting past Yale, momentum swings, and what he looks for in a recruit.

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