Ron Grahame officially sets September 1 retirement date, DU announces

Photo: Courtesy of The Denver Post

As expected, Vice Chancellor for Athletics, Recreation and Ritchie Center Operations Karlton Creech spent his first year observing department operations while making few operational or personnel changes. One of his key lieutenants during this period was Ron Grahame, who acted as Interim Athletic Director following Peg Bradley-Doppes’ departure and currently holds the title of Associate Vice Chancellor & Department Athletic Director. During his long career, Ron provided an experienced and steady hand, especially when it came to DU hockey operations, Denver’s premier sport.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, DU Athletics finished yet another year of incredible success with their 11th Director’s Cup in 12 years.

Now, according to Denver Athletics, Ron Grahame will retire in about two weeks, on September 1st, followed by a handful of other changes within DU’s athletic department. We will have more on Ron Grahame’s storied career and contributions to the University in an upcoming feature but anyone who knows Grahame knows that he put DU athletes first in all of his decisions. A native of Victoria, British Columbia, Grahame was one of the greatest goaltenders in DU Hockey history. He played in the NHL and spent most of his professional career supporting and guiding Denver athletics. He will be truly missed by all at DU. Continue reading Ron Grahame officially sets September 1 retirement date, DU announces

Four Burning Questions for Denver Fall Athletics

Volleyball 100Can head coach Tom Hogan’s volleyball squad defend their 5-year regular-season conference winning streak and five consecutive NCAA appearances following the graduation of stars Becca Latham and Emma Willis along with season-ending injuries to outside hitter Taylor Joachim and to their best player, outside hitter Katarina Marinkovic? The addition of Louisville transfer outside hitter Amanda Green will help but…will a raw Pioneer team mature by league play? This will be DU’s most challenging season in recent memory. A repeat performance would be Hogan’s best coaching job ever at the University of Denver.

Continue reading Four Burning Questions for Denver Fall Athletics

Cozy Summit League relationships cast dark shadow over Augustana

Photo: Courtesy of Argus Leader. The new Summit League’s office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on the Sanford Health Campus is now nearing completion. 

Conference coaches jokingly refer to the Summit League as the ‘Sanford League’. But let’s hope the Dakota-centric league rethinks their reliance on North and South Dakota for new members. With only 880,000 people in South Dakota and 760,000 people in North Dakota, a sixth DI member from one of the two states, Augustana University, may be too many – even for die-hard locals.

Can a small state like South Dakota support a third Division I program? Will Augustana cannibalize other South Dakota member fan bases? Will the addition of yet one more member persuade non-Dakota members to either depart or deter new member schools from other states from joining? Continue reading Cozy Summit League relationships cast dark shadow over Augustana

Disingenuous DU needs to restore Pioneer nickname to programs

Only 18 months after telling us the Pioneer nickname would stay, DU has chopped away the word “Pioneer” from two major programs — without warning and without alumni engagement. And when confronted about this malfeasance, the school merely delivered some cordial excuses about why they did it. “We’re refreshing our approach,” they told us. 

As of August 14th, 92% of voters in our recent survey simply do not believe DU’s excuses. Out of 283 participants, 259 said they believe DU will continue to remove the Pioneer name from additional programs, perhaps as a prelude to removing the nickname altogether. Indeed, as a DU alumnus and longtime friend of LetsGoDU put it when he wrote to us this morning: “You can’t spell ‘disingenuous’ without DU.”  Continue reading Disingenuous DU needs to restore Pioneer nickname to programs

Purdue-Fort Wayne Leaving Summit League in July, 2020

In a move that was long expected, Purdue University-Fort Wayne (branded as ‘Fort Wayne’) will leave the Summit League for the Horizon League in the midwest, in July of 2020. The Mastodons were the last team in the Summit League in the Eastern time zone. The move will leave the Summit with nine full members, including DU, once Missouri-Kansas City rejoins the league in July of 2020.

“Purdue Fort Wayne and [it’s] athletic administrators have been very upfront about exploring a possible transition to a conference more reflective of their geographic footprint,”  said Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple in a league statement. “This move did not catch anyone in our league off guard and Purdue Fort Wayne’s transparency throughout the process was appreciated…”We will continue the efforts to explore expansion and create new membership options, similar to the recent addition of the University of Missouri Kansas City. Membership changes cause short-term disappointment, but in the long term, our league and its members will continue to prosper and meet the challenges placed in front of them.” Continue reading Purdue-Fort Wayne Leaving Summit League in July, 2020

DU confirms Pioneer tradition erasures by Division of Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence

The University of Denver’s New Vice-Chancellor for Marketing and Communications, Renea Morris, has confirmed to LetsGoDU that at least two long-standing programs under DU’s Division of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence have recently been given name changes which have removed the word “Pioneer” from the names. The same “Inclusive Excellence” team was also believed to have been a central player in a number of other anti-Pioneer activities on campus between 2016 and 2018, including the 2017 so-called “mask ban” that now prevents the unofficial school mascot, Denver Boone, from appearing on campus. Continue reading DU confirms Pioneer tradition erasures by Division of Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence

DU ‘Pioneers’ nickname once again at risk due to internal sabotage and erosion

Once again, recent University of Denver administrative action appears to be sabotaging the Pioneer nickname, this time quietly removing “Pioneer” from two long-standing, on-campus programs, the Pioneer Awards and Pioneer Passage. Both programs have recently been renamed to eliminate the word “Pioneer,” directly contradicting a 2018 DU Board of Trustees decision to keep the 95-year-old Pioneer nickname in place.

You’ll recall that in January 2018, we broke the story that a so-called “mask ban” was suspiciously enacted by DU to prevent the “Denver Boone” mascot from appearing at DU home games. Within weeks of that debacle, we reported that the DU central administration was secretly colluding with student groups to change the “Pioneer” nickname to “Trailblazers”. Within weeks of our stories, after vociferous objections from the alumni and fan community, then-DU Board of Trustees Chairman Doug Scrivner sent out a damage-control email with assurances that the Pioneer nickname was not going to change.

Still, the Pioneer nickname continues to be slowly scrubbed away from within. Since many of our DU fans and readers are not currently on campus, we believed it was our duty to report on this sabotage so that these quiet steps could be brought into the public sphere.

First, then-Chancellor Rebecca Chopp quietly renamed the Evans Award, the highest recognition the University could bestow, as the Chancellors’ Medal, in order to help rid DU of its association with its western pioneer founder, John Evans.

Next, in early 2019, DU’s long-standing student awards program, The Pioneer Awards, was suddenly (and quietly) renamed the Crimson and Gold Awards.

And we now have proof that Pioneer Passage, the meaningful induction ceremony during first-year orientation week, has apparently been renamed New Student Convocation, set to debut this September. The projected orientation schedule created on Apil 29th, 2019 had “Pioneer Passage” scheduled for 10:45 AM on Tuesday September 3rd, while a July 22, 2019 version of the same schedule now has “New Student Convocation” slated for the same time and date, proving that DU dropped “Pioneer Passage” name sometime between April and July of 2019. Continue reading DU ‘Pioneers’ nickname once again at risk due to internal sabotage and erosion

DU’s Hockey Uniforms Grow in Appeal Over Time

Photo: Courtesy University of Denver Athletics

We wrote about North Dakota’s hockey uniform changes earlier this week. But what about DU’s hockey uniform evolution?

In large measure, much of DU’s hockey uniform concept dates from the early years of the DU hockey program in the early 1950s, when the Pioneers introduced home and away jerseys in both crimson and white with crimson pants, with the school/city name “Denver” placed in arching letters across the chest. Those jerseys also had a large red, white and gold elbow striping on the sleeve and shins with a later matching stripe around the bottom of the jersey, which was added in the 1960s. Those cornerstone design elements, with some periodic typestyle and color evolutions, are still on the jerseys today and are crucial parts of the DNA of Denver’s hockey look and tradition. Continue reading DU’s Hockey Uniforms Grow in Appeal Over Time

North Dakota Fighting Hawks launch new hockey uniforms

For the second time in three years, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks have introduced new hockey new uniforms. The new Adidas sweaters are ‘stripier’ than prior uniforms with repeating green, black and white stripes.

The home uniform plays down the Fighting Hawk logo and features North Dakota. The away uniform offers up a design twist with a revision to the current logo and more bold stripes. The alternate jersey has angled stripes and the University is piloting a revised Fighting Hawk logo.

North Dakota Uniforms Feature Pic 4
Optional ‘Yankee pinstripe pants’ were introduced with alternating green and white stripes.

Continue reading North Dakota Fighting Hawks launch new hockey uniforms

Billups takes full control of DU Hoops

Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics

With the newly announced departure of assistant coach Dan Ficke to assume head coaching duties at Belmont Abbey College, Rodney Billups is now surrounded by staff and players he has selected. In Addition to Ficke, also gone are senior assistants Ricardo Patton and Steve Snell who left earlier this year.

Dan Ficke’s landing spot, Belmont Abbey College, is located just 10 miles west of Charlotte, NC.. Ficke’s father, Bill, played for the Crusaders under legendary head coach Al McGuire. Dan Ficke was always a good friend to LetsGoDU and wish him, his wife Jordan and twins the very best. 

Ficke Named Head Men's Basketball Coach

The departure of Ficke was the final coaching connection to the past regime of Joe Scott, Billups predecessor. And the same goes for the players – all Rodney Billups picks. Continue reading Billups takes full control of DU Hoops

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