Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's a New Year

UNIPanthers(1).jpeg2012 is finally upon us. And with it, endless possibilities for the fast approaching season. In the next few months, the UNI track and field athletes will line up against some of the best in America. We have a handful of terrific veterans trying to go out in style and a large group of newcomers learning what it means to be Panthers for the very first time. 

I plan on blogging weekly about the program. Our Indoor season actually started with a low-key meet in December in Ames, IA. The meet went well and we are optimistic about the season. Last year's successful recruiting took our women's roster from 33 to 53, making it the largest women's team in the UNI program's history and marking the first time our women have ever outnumbered the men. Not to be outdone, our men's team added a large number of blue chip talent and have their sights set squarely on winning a Missouri Valley Conference title. 

The indoor season kicks off in the UNI-Dome Saturday, January 14th.

There will be no shortage of things to write about this year. But perhaps this very first blog should be about sharing with the readers my vision for our teams as the UNI Head Coach:

The cowards never started. The weak died along the way.
Only the strong survived. These were the pioneers.”
~Pioneer Creed

The early pioneers braving the harsh Oregon Trail were not in search of an easy life, but a place to make a better one. Born of the Heartland, those extraordinary men and women took their blue collar work ethic with them on their journey and courageously settled the West.

Today's Western United States, once populated by a spirit of hard work and rugged individualism, is heavily populated with individuals in search of an easy life, living by a spirit of entitlement. But that early American spirit isn't dead. The cradle of that spirit is the Heartland, and it is still alive and well. 

From it's inception as a home for Civil War orphans, the University of Northern Iowa has always embodied this American spirit. The UNI Track and Field teams, always living by the Pioneer Creed, are known for their tenacity and work ethic. Today, these fearless athletes are among the toughest in America.

Northern Iowa is not for everyone. We are not the prom queen; we’re more like the girl next door. The individual that thrives here feels like they are coming home when they first arrive. They come to Cedar Falls because it feels right. Their toughness is a given. It’s a special individual who never gives up. This trait seems to be written into the DNA of UNI athletes and makes us bigger than the sum of our parts. We are a family. This is who we are and why we are so hard to beat.  

Our job as UNI coaches is to teach our student athletes and cultivate a culture of excellence and character in all aspects of the program – because it is our job to be the best. It is our job to mentor our kids; to develop well-rounded adults ready to take on the world they are entering after UNI. 

Like the early pioneers, the extraordinary individuals who have earned the right to be called UNI Track and Field athletes, understand that an easy life isn't better. And that a better life is not to be found; but to be made.

GO Panthers!

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