Athletic Spirit

Imagine a tournament in which both teams finish as champions. That's what occurred Monday in Bridgeport, Connecticut when the Marist College (disclaimer: where I teach) Lady Red Foxes played Loyola University Maryland's Greyhounds for the Women's Basketball MAAC Championship. (Marist won 63-45). Professional teams can only aspire to the consummate level of sportsmanship shown by both coaches, Brian Giorgis of Marist and Joe Logan of Loyola. When Logan led his team on the court after the game to honor Marist, he wasn't just going through the motions. The crowd and fans at each school knew they were experiencing a rare display of mutual respect. Each of these coaches will be the first to thank their players and their fans as well as each other; but  think each deserves even a little more time in the spotlight.

Both Brian Giorgis, right, and Joe Logan, below, have been MAAC Coaches of the Year and are homegrown and happy right where they are even though both might find opportunities elsewhere. Logan graduated from Loyola in 1996, met his wife there, and has developed a solid basketball program and winning team. Georgis, long-time coach at Our Lady of Lourdes High School, has coached in Poughkeepsie for 34 years—the past nine at Marist. His loyalty even has been recognized by The New York Times:

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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — After the buzzer echoed through the McCann Center, ending the regular season, 3,000 cheering fans of the Marist women’s basketball team stopped and turned their focus to midcourt, where Coach Brian Giorgis held a microphone.

His Red Foxes had just beaten Fairfield, 60-45, to finish a perfect run through their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule, going 18-0 for the second time in four years. The victory gave Marist a 23-game winning streak, the nation’s longest and the best in the program’s history. Giorgis used his time to lavish praise on his players and their adoring fans.

For many other coaches of successful midmajor programs, a scene like the one at McCann last Sunday would be a first step toward goodbye on the road to a more high-profile position. But Giorgis has been a part of the fabric of Poughkeepsie for 34 years, first as a high school coach and, since 2002, at Marist. It is not very likely that he is going anywhere.

“I’ll listen to somebody, but it would take an awful lot,” Giorgis said later, away from the crowd. “I’m about my happiness."

Giorgis gives back freely to his community. "Most importantly, Brian has been good for Dutchess County and Poughkeepsie," said James McGuirk, CEO of Astor Services for Children. "After Marist made the NCAA Sweet Sixteen a few years ago, I invited Brian to speak at Astor's annual dinner. He not only agreed without hesitation, he asked if there was anything else he could do for us--and he's been a regular supporter since then, someone who really understands and appreciates the value of the work we do with kids and families. It's been a pleasure to know him and to follow his success."

Both coaches receive high praise from the presidents of their colleges. “I truly believe he’s one of the great coaches in America, men’s or women’s game,” said Dennis J. Murray, Marist’s president, praising Brian Giorgis. “The high quality of the women you see on this team, both in their character and intellect — they’re great students — is reflective of the coach.” Rev. Brian Linnane, S.J., President of Loyola University of Maryland, said fondly of Joe Logan: ""Joe realizes that our student-athletes have a unique opportunity to understand and embrace the core values that define Loyola as a Jesuit university—principles like honesty, integrity, leadership, and commitment to community. He also knows that student-athletes have a chance to uphold these values in a visible way that guides and inspires other students as well. For all his considerable accomplishments on the court, his unwavering commitment to helping the young women on his team accept and thrive in their roles as student-leaders is his most valuable contribution to his alma mater."

Join me in wishing both coaches, both schools, and both teams many successes in the future, and in thanking them for bringing the true spirit of athletics to our young people.

William Van Ornum

 

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6 years 8 months ago
Our congratulations to the teams, coaches and colleges-Marist and Loyola.  What an uplifting story!    My son has filled me in on the Marist team, so we are saying:  "Go Marist!"  March madness is in full bloom in our home.  My son and I have attended many women's bb games over the years at our local Catholic and State universities.We have noted, too, the good sportsman  OOPs, sportswomanship and spirt along with the intense rivalries.

My interest and love of women's BB is long-lived.  It began when I played as a guard on my small Midwestern girls" hight school andas a guard during my freshman year at college.  Here is a bit of interesting history.........For a time it was believed that girls/women didn't have the stamina to play on a full court.  So at the time I played the teams each had 6 girls, 3 guards and 3 forwards and the court was split in half.  As a guard I'd try to get the ball away from my opponent forward and lob it across the line to my forward.  Thank goodness that notion was done away with.  the game is much faster and more exciting played on full court and as seen by these great BB teams, women have more than enough stamina!!
we vnornm
6 years 8 months ago
Thanks Janice, for your good thoughts, and for bringing up the "sportsmanship"..."sportswomanship"...sportspersonship"...."good sport"....literary quandry. best, bill
6 years 8 months ago
Congratulations to all!  It's all in the family: Society of Jesus and Society of Mary.
Cheryl Benjamin
6 years 8 months ago
Congrats to both teams: for the men who may have had a rough season but still got back on the court and held their heads every game and especially to the women who carried the reputation of the Marist Red Foxes from the previous years. It makes me proud that it is the women who led the school to this victory. I repect these females for being the greatest and still remaining humble throughout. It is that humility, good sportswomanship and determination that assisted them to this victory. You go girls!!!!! Congrats again!
Erica Rascati
6 years 7 months ago
It makes me proud to go to a school where athletes are hard working in all aspects. Not only are our athletes well respected in their sports, they are also well respected academically. When students are put under pressure both mentally and physically it is a challenge to shine through and be able to succeed in both domains. I greatly respect student athletes and I wish to congratulate Marist Women’s Basketball on their great season as well as all the other athletes who competed this season!
Kailee Mcevoy
6 years 7 months ago
Being a member of the Marist College Pep Band, I attend all men's and women's basketball games throughout the season. From what I've seen in the past two seasons of women's basketball, Brian Giorgis is an amazing coach. Though the women on the team are incredibly talented, I feel they would be no where without Giorgis. He is a sweet man who truly cares for each woman on the team, and it shows in every game. The women had an awesome season and I'm so happy I got to be a part of it. 
Megan Walters
6 years 6 months ago
I think this is truely outstanding to bring this topic to readers' attention because it is more difficult than people realize to be blessed with a coach who looks out for their players best interest. Sportsmanship between two competing teams is something that is so crucial in a good sporting event. When the final buzzer sounds, respect is still given to the losing team who should be walking off with their heads held high knowing they played a fair, well fought game.
As I read through this article, I could not help but relate it to your article, The Future of Mental Health. I discussed how jobs are becoming more about the money rather than the love for what they do and it is difficult to do a thorough job when they do not have the want to be there. However, Giorgis has a different case. It was stated in the article "last Sunday would be a first step toward goodbye on the road to a more high-profile position..." and yet  Giorgis was quoted saying "I'm about my happiness." I give him that much more respect for sticking with the Womens Basketball program at Marist. I truely believe that is a large factor to their success, he puts all of his efforts into the program because he loves what he does. Not only does he focus on his team but he also goes above and beyond for the community. He is a perfect example of somebody who does more than necessary because of his love for his job and he has not left for a higher position which would probably pay more. If only more people would stick to a profession they love rather than what pays, they would benefit others around them.
Kate Conard
6 years 7 months ago
As a student-athlete who attends Marist College, I am very proud of our Women's basketball team this year.  They have worked so hard and deserve their success.  As a swimmer, I know the work load of balancing school with athletics and it is no easy task; it takes a lot of discipline.  Not only do I congratulate the girls on their success, but the coach as well.  Marist would not be so well represented in women's basketball without the talent of their coach.  Coaches are very important in athletics; I think they need to be someone athletes can look up to, and have experience in that sport.  A coach needs to be respected by their athletes in order for them to be successful, therefore, they are just as part of the team as each individual athlete; if you have a problem with someone on your team, the whole team struggles - same goes for if you have a problem with your coach, you will struggle.  It's just interesting to think about the connection between athletes and their coach.  Look at Michael Phelps and his coach: they might seem to be friends on camera, but as an athlete and swimmer myself, I'm sure that what we see on camera is not what it's like at practice.  Coaches have to be tough with their athletes to get the most out of them.  With out hard work and dedication, you can only go so far.  The baskeball girls at Marist College have proven that listening to their coach, even when practices are tough, resulted in great success.  This is setting a great example for all college sports. 
Elizabeth Batchelor
6 years 7 months ago
I was so proud to also see our Red Foxes excel in the area of basketball.  It is hard to believe that they went 18-0 for the second time in four years.   My parents got tickets to the women’s regional tournament hoping that they would see the Marist team up close playing in Philadelphia, but unfortunately they lost in that second round.  The students’ dedication to the game and the way that they represent the Marist community is wonderful.
 
When I went home over break, people knew the school that I went to and I was proud to be a member of the Marist community that is representative of the values that we hold so high –integrity, honesty, leadership and a commitment to community.  Our student body embraces these core values and also their commitment to a spiritual life.  This spiritual life I believe has helped our student athletes in many ways.  
Chelsea Unger
6 years 7 months ago
            The success of the Marist Women’s Basketball team, achieving their second undefeated season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in school history, not only put the team on a high but brought around school pride to the small institution. Students who usually did not care about sports were glued to their televisions to see how the Lady Foxes would play against Loyola University’s Greyhounds.
            The game, to decide who would be the champions of the MAAC, was abundant with support for both Marist College and Loyola University. Additionally, both teams showed a deep respect and appreciation for the hard work and dedication that the opposing team had put forth in order to achieve the honor of playing for the win. The championship venue is where these women were able to show off their skills. A championship game was one of the major goals of the season. For any athlete, part of the season is dedicated to getting to “the big show.” There is no feeling like an excellent performance with your team, setting the pace of your game and having the support of 3,000 cheering fans. Those fans were showing their appreciation of the efforts, time and sweat each and every player put into this single event.
            It is essential for a team to have support, this includes from: the school, family, team and coaches alike. What is a win without anyone to share and appreciate it with? The Women’s basketball team deserved all the success they achieved this year and I offer my congratulations to them. As a former student athlete, I understand the commitment, time, energy and sacrifices that these women had to make for their triumphs. Having the responsibilities to be a student, let alone a Marist College student,  while knowing there are expectations of them to perform on such a high athletic level surpasses being tough; it is a challenge every day. Granted these women get to play on television, have their faces on posters, and receive scholarship money, but the normal college experience that plenty of students call the “best years of their life,” is vastly different for these women and essentially does not exist. The entire college experience is like comparing apples to oranges in many ways. The point of these statements is for people to understand that they probably did not realize how hard this team actually worked for the title and honor of being MAAC champions. Their accomplishments exceed raw talent and much credit is due to them and their coach.
            I would like to continue to congratulate coach Giorgis on his accomplishments this season and leading the Lady Foxes to victory. I am beyond satisfied with the emotion he displayed after the win against Fairfield. I strongly believe that every coach should feel that invested in their team. A team has difficulty performing for a coach they do not have confidence in. Essentially the coach and athlete relationship is a very dependent one. A coach needs to be there for their athletes, offering guidance and wisdom; the athlete needs to trust in the coach to take the advice and direction. Coach Giorgis and the Marist College Women’s Basketball team appear to have a relationship that is indicative of deep respect, appreciation, and confidence in each other.
            Being an athlete for a Division I team is an enormous commitment that many people do not realize. It can wear a person down and push them past what they believed was their mental and physical limits. The fact that Girogis and the Women’s team had such a successful season and did so in a manner that is tasteful enough to make any team envious is a real reflection on their values and speaks highly to what Marist College is all about.
maria martin
6 years 7 months ago
To be brutally honest, Marist College is not known for its excellence in athletics. Most athletic events are rarely attended and always quite. However, this is not the case for the Marist College woman’s basketball team. Most games are packed and excitement is soaring through the McCann gym during any given game. Having the Lady Red Foxes make it so far in the basketball conference is amazing and adds greatly to the student population’s school spirit. I for one want to congratulate all the players, and the coach. Having such a dedicated coach defiantly adds a positive attitude to the team. Marist College woman’s basketball also helps the community of Poughkeepsie see the great achievement that comes from their town. Friday night games are packed with not only students,  but local supporters as well.
Patrick O'connor
6 years 7 months ago
First of all, congratulations to the Marist Women’s team for a great season. As a member of the Marist community, it makes me proud to see my peers do well in their athletic contests. As a fellow student-athlete at Marist, I know what it is like to be a representative for our community. In any sport, there are emotions that spread like wildfire. It is always nice to see athletes show respect to their opponents through sportsmanship. Rivalries make games more intense, but also more fun for the athletes. It is important to give everything you have in the game, but it is perhaps more important to be respectful in your displays of emotion. Thank you Red Foxes for representing our school with class!

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