A s the summer winds down and students begin to wander back to campus over the next few weeks, it only seems fit to reflect on the summer that was for Penn Athletics.
After all, it’s been an eventful summer.
We’ve seen a new athletic director, Grace Calhoun, take the wheel for the first time in 20 years and with that a new direction for the entire program.
Coaching vacancies were filled.
Former Stanford assistant Alex Tirapelle became the next head coach of Penn Wrestling. A number of assistants were hired for positions throughout the program.
A fresh set of graduates moved on to other endeavors.
Some would find their way to opportunities overseas, as in the case of former Penn basketball star Miles Cartwright. And plenty of others are still waiting for their opportunities.
Current athletes would find themselves in new athletic situations.
Rising senior lacrosse player Meg Markham tried out for the U.S. National Team, while fellow rising senior baseball pitcher Ronnie Glenn had strong outings in the Cape Cod League.
It’s too soon to tell whether this summer was a successful one for the Quakers, as after all it’s hard to judge a coach until you’ve seen their team play.
To an even greater extent, it’s hard to judge an athletic director’s success from her first month on the job.
It may be a few months until we see the full extent of Calhoun’s plans to improve the campus presence of athletics and better defining the Penn experience for student-athletes.
While this summer likely didn’t consist of any decisions that will likely define the future of Penn Athletics (the decision to hire Calhoun was prior to the summer), it certainly laid the groundwork for what will be an interesting year to come.
In these coming weeks, Penn athletes will continue their training for the coming fall season, which should hold plenty of excitement in its own right.
After all, Penn football will have its chance to hoist an Ivy League Championship trophy in Al Bagnoli’s final season with the program (and also rebound from a disappointing 2013 season).
It’s a department-wide goal, as Calhoun told The Daily Pennsylvanian earlier in the summer, “First and foremost, we keep saying that we want to make sure coach Bagnoli goes out with a championship.”
It’s definitely a possibility for the Quakers, provided they fill the voids left by their graduated seniors. The most notable of these being quarterback, where Penn students (who made the rare journey to Franklin Field) will struggle to remember anyone but Billy Ragone slinging passes.
Though at this point who takes the field under center for the team’s opening game against may be a mystery, coach Bagnoli and his staff have dealt with plenty of turnover in the past and should continue to thrive.
Other fall sports may lack storylines of the same intrigue — not every team has a coach retiring after his 23rd season — yet will provide plenty of entertainment.
And when fall begins to turn to winter, perhaps the most interesting season of all will begin as men’s basketball hopes to rebound from a few poor seasons and three underclassmen leaving following the past season.
Only time will tell for Allen, Bagnoli, Calhoun and the rest of Penn Athletics, though this summer set the stage for what should be an exciting fall and winter to come.
HOLDEN MCGINNIS is rising Engineering sophomore from Gladwyne, Pa. and is an the sports editor of The Summer Pennsylvanian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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