May 5, 2005
By Brian Witter
The Santa Clara
The year in sports has wound down and with only baseball and track left to compete in anything, the Broncoholics are preparing for their annual summer hibernation. 2004-05 was chock full of watershed moments in Santa Clara athletics.
A surge in Ruff Rider enrollment, possibly the greatest upset in Division-1 NCAA college basketball, and a new stadium have all left their mark in our memories. Though, instead of a venue opening or remarkable win, the most tremendous change undergone within the athletic department this year has been the inauguration of Dan Coonan as athletic director.
From the moment he moved the student section at basketball games to center court, there was a sense that the administration had made a wise decision in choosing the right man for the job. Coonan had reached out to students and connected with them in a way that made them feel like true fans, rather than just casual spectators.
Over the last several years, there has been an impression that there was something "missing" from athletics here, in a sort of apathetic detachment between students, alumni and the sports themselves. The current rejuvenation of various programs is a step in the right direction, and Coonan has been working hard to fulfill the need for some sort of variety in giving us identity in supporting our beloved teams. Although for Coonan, it's not just the fans that he reaches out to but players as well. The Bob Dylan concert in Leavey was his idea to garner more revenue for the programs.
Of important note this week, standings for the West Coast Conference's Commissioner's Cup were released and showed the clinching of our first title ever, which is given out to the WCC school that finishes the best across-the-board in all men's and women's sports.
We shall see whether or not the trends of innovation and development will continue, but this honor is indicative that things are going well in terms of the quality of the programs themselves. The correlation between our sports teams winning and attendance is pretty strong.
However, there remain boosters who still retain bitter feelings over past issues with the athletic department (football), yet they know that this year was fantastic for anyone who follows Santa Clara sports. Even if we have no national champions to brag about, we do have a brand new AD with an old recipe for success: listen, learn, and lead.