Like the rest of you I was thrilled by the basketball team’s performance in the tournament and I want to congratulate the players, coaches, and all the folks associated with their tournament experience. I’d also like to quickly tell you what it was like to attend the championship celebration this evening at DeVries Gym. Each of the five seniors spoke. I was struck by their poise, passion, emotion, and eloquence, as they described the kinship they felt for each other, the feeling they had for the college, and the challenges that they had experienced during their time on the team over the past four years. Gratitude was a word that several of them used and they all expressed that sense to their teammates, their coaches, and to the fans, and especially to those who had traveled to Pennsylvania to support them.
During the ceremony I thought back to my time as a grad student at Chapel Hill when I had the thrill of welcoming back to Chapel Hill two National Championship basketball teams. You can imagine the scene: 15,000 fans in the football stadium screaming for their rock-star basketball team with players like James Worthy and Michael Jordan. I heard some of those players take the mike and speak to those crowds…excited and proud, certainly…but I never heard the depth of character or commitment of purpose that I heard in DeVries tonight.
Folks, I could not have been more proud of the young men that spoke tonight. We should all take some pride in what these fellows have done for the college because they have represented all of us. We could not hope for better or truer student-athletes. And, as Stacy Enos reminded us before introducing the team, they aren’t the first Warren Wilson champion athletes as she described the accomplishments of many of our other teams and clubs.
So thanks to the Athletic Department and all of our wonderful student athletes who help to make WWC such a great place to live and work and go to school.
Go Owls, Hoot Hoot!