David Archer ’05 is entering his fifth year as the head coach of the Cornell football team. He penned the below letter to the Cornell community ahead of the team’s 2017 season.
I’d like to take a moment to welcome the student body to campus, particularly the Class of 2021. In just a few short weeks, you’ve become an integral part of Cornell’s family. Welcome!
I understand the close bonds of Cornellians and what makes us that way — nearly half of my life has been spent on East Hill. I’ve climbed the hills on the way to class and survived the winters. I’ve also passed my swim test, eaten at Louie’s Lunch and have my wedding planned for Sage Chapel next summer. There is no place like Cornell, of that I’m sure. Its uniqueness is one of its most endearing qualities.
As I begin my 17th year as part of the Big Red football family — as a student-athlete, team captain, proud alum, assistant coach and finally as the Roger J. Weiss ’61 Head Coach — I’m honored to represent a University that cares so deeply about its educational mission. I believe strongly that football not only fits into that mission, but is instrumental in achieving many of Cornell’s institutional goals. As a founding member of the Ivy League, I’m also proud that we are at the forefront of player safety issues, both on and off the field.
Football brings out some of the best attributes in young people. For players, it fosters teamwork, work ethic, fitness, mental and physical toughness and discipline, among many others. For fans, family and alumni, it builds school spirit and enhances the pride we already feel while strengthening our sense of community. Football is a game that celebrates diversity and doesn’t care what religion you practice, what ethnicity or color you are or what your sexual orientation is.
In many ways, football is the Cornell of team sports.
This proud University has a long and storied history on the gridiron, but it hasn’t always been a winning one. Our players are eager to change that, and they will. Progress isn’t always linear, but the program has been on an upward trajectory thanks to those student-athletes who have proudly worn the school colors and the active and engaged alumni base who support them.
Last year, we doubled our win total from the previous two seasons combined. The team is already among the very best in the country in the classroom and in terms of community service and activism. We want to continue that reputation off the field while building a consistent winning tradition on it. I hope you’ll join us on that journey.
Big Red football will open its 130th varsity season this weekend and makes its home debut in two weekends. I hope you’ll join us for our five home games, as generations of your Cornell family have, in the shadow of the Schoellkopf Crescent.
David Archer ’05
The Roger J. Weiss ’61 Head Coach of Cornell Football