Sports Highlights

New head coaches for football, basketball, and volleyball, championship teams in fencing and cross-country, recognition of outstanding scholar-athletes in tennis and baseball, and the 100th anniversary of Columbia wrestling —Columbia sports fans have had a lot to cheer about lately.

Columbia is hoping for an even better scorecard this year. Last summer, President Lee Bollinger demonstrated his interest in strengthening the University’s athletics program by instituting an administrative change that has Physical Education and Intercollegiate Athletics Director John Reeves reporting directly to him instead of to the Provost.

“The closer you are to the ultimate heart of the University, the better off you are,” Reeves told the Columbia Spectator.

A new general for the gridiron . . .

Bob Shoop’s arrival as head coach heralds a new era for the Lions football team. A former Yale wide receiver, the 36-year-old native of suburban Pittsburgh made his coaching reputation as a defensive specialist. He coached Boston College’s secondary for the past four years and previously served as an assistant coach at West Point (1998), Villanova (1997), Yale (1994–96 and 1989), and Northeastern (1991–93).

“Bob brings a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. He has advanced quickly through the coaching ranks because of his hard work and dedication,” Reeves said in announcing Shoop’s appointment. “Bob has been associated with some of the best football minds in the country. He is the perfect man to lead the Lions to the next level. He is a smart, driven winner.”

. . . and one for the hardwood

The men’s basketball team also netted a new head coach for the coming season in Joseph Jones, a Ronkonkoma, New York, native who spent the last six years as an assistant at Villanova. Before that, he spent three years as an assistant at Hofstra.

“Joseph’s skill as a recruiter is his biggest asset,” said Reeves. “He has demonstrated ability to recruit and knows the New York area. He has been a key cog in the success at both Villanova and Hofstra.”

Fencing

Ivy League fencers remain en garde for the Lions. The women’s fencing team added to Columbia’s proud fencing history by winning the Ivy League championship, while the men’s team shared the league title with Penn. Columbia has won more Ivy League Fencing Championships and more NCAA Fencing Championships than any other school.

Tennis

Oscar Chow ’03CC capped his collegiate career by becoming the first Columbia men’s tennis player in 14 years to earn All-American. His other honors include being named Ivy Co-Player and Senior of the Year. Chow was also a unanimous first-team all-conference selection in singles.

Columbia tennis players now have a new facility in which to ace their opponents. The $5.2 million Dick Savitt Tennis Center at Baker Field celebrated its grand opening last fall. The center’s namesake won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in 1951. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1976.

Baseball

Two Lions, infielders Ryan Schmidt and Billy Hess, were selected to the 2003 Verizon Academic All-America University Division team.

Cross Country

The women’s cross country team won the 2002 Heptagonal Championship for the first time in the program’s existence. Their 63-point victory margin is the largest in “Heps” history.

-Highlights from the Office of Athletic Communications.