This weekend the sprint football team will be kicking off its 2005 season with its annual alumni game, set to take place tomorrow at 3 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field. The Rookie-Fossil game, as it’s commonly known, features the current squad of 65 against a group of former sprint footballers who have returned to Ithaca for the weekend.
Many of the so-called fossils have gone onto success in the private sector, and have generously contributed to the endowment of the program, which currently stands at around $3 million.
The future of the program is largely dependent on the alumni – over 70 percent of whom continue to support the program after graduating from the university. Part of the reason for the post-graduate success of the sprint football alumni may be attributed to the fact that the squad works just as hard off the field as on it. The team GPA is in the 3.5 range and is always above that of the student body as a whole. That number has given the sprint football team the highest varsity team GPA on campus for the last 15 years. This year’s current squad of “rookies” is a strong one, with gamebreakers on both sides of the ball.
Junior running back Mike Fullowan, who last year ran for 564 yards on 158 carries, an average of 3.6 yards-per-carry, is returning for what he hopes will be another strong season in the Red backfield.
“We’re looking for a lot of the same and more from Mike this year,” head coach Terry Cullen said. “He’s truly a multi-purpose player.”
Taking the snaps under center will be senior captain Alec Macauly. Last year, Macauly threw for 468 yards and four touchdowns, with a completion percentage of 46.5 and a QB rating of 88.63. What’s most remarkable is that Macauly was able to put up those numbers while being limited to four games because of illness.
“Last year, we got a great performance from Alec and we don’t expect anything to change this year,” Cullen said.
On defense, senior captains LaRue Robinson, an all-league defensive back, and Amos Smith, the starting nose tackle, will be anchoring the Red. The gap left by the graduation of William Snyder ’05, who last year recorded 48 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks, will be tough for the Red to fill, but Cullen is confident in his team’s ability to compensate. The Rookie-Fossil game is set to be the centerpiece of the squad’s alumni weekend.
The festivities will include a golf tournament and a buffet dinner tonight, a pre-game pancake breakfast tomorrow morning, and a sit-down dinner tomorrow night. The activities of the weekend are meant to foster a sense of community among current and former players, and to add to the rapidly growing endowment, which Cullen hopes will extend the life of the sprint football program “into perpetuity.”
In addition to funding the athletic competition of the sprint football team, the alumni also take an active role in mentoring players who graduate and enter into particular fields.
“We have a very tight-knit family here and our alumni take care of each other,” Cullen said.
Archived article by Jacob Lieberman
Sun Staff Writer