At the sound of his name, head coach Jim Knowles “87 got up from the table and went over to his desk and read a quote from former Florida Gators head coach Steve Spurrier he had hanging above his desk.
‘”Your favorite player should be the most conditioned and best team guy you have out there,”‘ Knowles said quoting Spurrier.
‘He”s just one of those guys that can do it all out there,’ Knowles went on to say.
The name of the player that compelled Knowles to say this? Senior Sean Nassoiy.
Nassoiy, a cornerback out of Jackson, N.J., doesn”t come across as an imposing figure by any means.
Listed at 5″9′ and 171 pounds, the team-leader makes up for his lack of size with heart, determination, and a humble attitude.
‘That”s a huge compliment coming from coach, who I respect a lot,’ said Nassoiy after hearing what Knowles had to say about him.
Nassoiy, mainly a special teams player before last season, emerged as one of the best cover corners for the Red. Despite missing three games last year due to medical problems, he deflected three passes and made 38 tackles, good for fifth best out of all returning players. Of those 38 tackles, 27 were solo, eight of which came when the Red dropped a mid-season game against Brown, 21-7.
Yet, the highlight of last season came in the Red”s 27-24 loss to Division 1-AA runner-up Colgate when he recovered a fumble and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. In that game, Nassoiy also recorded his season-high nine tackles, which is one of the many reasons why he won The Monsour Jewelers Award given to the most improved defensive player.
Nassoiy, who will work from the right cornerback position this season, also fielded a punt for two yards and a pair of kickoffs for 36 yards, and is likely to be back returning for the Red this season.
Yet Nassoiy”s main goal this season is not to pad his statistics, but rather turning around a team which has had its fair share of losing in his three years.
‘The coaches have really turned the attitude around,’ Nassoiy said. ‘The first step is going down to Bucknell and getting a win.’
Nassoiy knows that if the team is to come away with a win that his unit will have to have a big day.
‘We have guys who can make plays whenever they touch the ball,’ Nassoiy said. ‘But the first thing we are trying to do from a defensive standpoint is just to stop them at the line.’
Although Nassoiy”s ability and will to win are second to none, his best attribute has to be his humility. He, along with senior place-kicker Trevor MacMeekin have been instrumental in the continuation of the Touchdowns For Hope program this season. Each time the Red scores a touchdown this season, Tompkins Trust Company will donate $100 to the American Cancer Society, and more specifically, funding for colorectal research and testing in and around Ithaca.
Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Assistant Sports Editor