Jeff Ward: Catching Up With the Polar Bears

The Bowdoin Daily Sun’s latest contributor is Jeff Ward. In his first post, Bowdoin’s Ashmead White Director of Athletics sees a busy summer coming to an end and a whole lot of excitement on the horizon.

The pace of life has changed dramatically around the Buck Center over the past ten days. Coaches are returning from camps and tournaments around the county. They have been out identifying those special athletic young men and women with the academic credentials to be considered by Bowdoin.

Now the focus is shifting to September, the return of students, and the beginning of games. Superstition prevents me from publicly sharing my predictions for wins and losses. I will say that the expectations for the class of 2014 are very, very high. In addition, every team coming into the fall season believes they will be better than a year ago. Patrick Noone ‘12 was just named a preseason All-American in football (the only one in NESCAC), but he will not be the only Polar Bear to claim the title of All-American this season. We are talented and deep across the board.

While coaches have been off recruiting, it has not been lonely around here. We’ve hosted a number of our own camps and the U.S. National Women’s Rugby team has been here training for three weeks. Coaches were marveling at the athleticism of those women!

Every year, more students choose to spend their summer in Brunswick. Athletes are well represented in the 200-plus students in residence. Of course, there are a lot worse places to be this time of year than Maine. I’ve really enjoyed talking with them in the early evening as they do their summer workouts in the beautiful new fitness center. The Buck Center had over 70,000 visitors during the academic year. Students, staff, and faculty have continued that level of enthusiasm in the summer (it doesn’t hurt that the air conditioning is the best on campus).

The range of student jobs is wide. Two of my favorites are held by Lonnie Nunley ’12 (football, Richmond, VA) and Katie Bergeron ’11 (Women’s Basketball, Bradley, ME). Lonnie has continued his work-study from the school year. He assists Paula Volent in the Bowdoin Investments Office. How many years of graduate school is that worth? Katie, in addition to working basketball camps and in the athletic department, has been volunteering for 20 hours per week with the Frannie Peabody Center for the prevention of HIV/AIDS. The look on her face describing her work is priceless. It’s clear that both Katie and the Center are benefiting from her efforts.

I hope everyone will take out their calendar and plan to cheer on the Polar Bears at least once this fall. Whether you’re supporting Bowdoin at home or on the road, I promise it will be a great day.


  1. Mike Coster says:

    Enjoyed your column.
    Keep it up !
    Mike coster 57

  2. Hubert S. Shaw, Jr. says:

    I look forward to your columns because I fondly remember the athletic events at Bowdoin which I attended with my mom and dad and then as an undergraduate. You and the athletic staff have done a great job in putting Bowdoin on the map in competitive athletics. Thank you and keep up the great work. Go U Bears. Hugh Shaw ’65

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