All posts by 5BWest

From Hops to Hookah – University Park going up in a puff of smoke

We recently reported about the closing of Fermaentra, a craft brewery located at 1715 East Evans Avenue – just west of the DU campus. At the time, it was thought that another microbrewery would occupy the space and replace the University of Denver’s only walkable microbrewery.

The cost of rent was cited by Westword as the cause for the closing of Fermaentra and a new brewpub was expected to come in its place. To our surprise, several days ago the building was transformed into the Art Hookah Lounge. Still, it is hard for many to believe that the new Art Hookah Lounge will generate much more traffic and business than its predecessor – but we could be wrong. Continue reading From Hops to Hookah – University Park going up in a puff of smoke

Why Baseball and Augustana College Drove UMKC’s Summit League Return

Why did the Summit League add UMKC and why now?

The addition of UMKC takes the number of schools in the Summit League to 10 – an ideal number for scheduling, travel partners and stability.

But not so fast.

It has been known for quite some time that current Summit member Fort Wayne has been expected to leave the conference for a more geographically convenient landing spot, like the Horizon Conference – even Summit League commissioner Tom Douple has admitted so. And, it seems Western Illinois is always balancing precariously on the financial ropes. But interestingly, the biggest concern of many Summit League members is the future of baseball. With only six teams, the Summit barely meets the NCAA minimum for an auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament. The loss of either the Mastodons or Leathernecks would likely be fatal to baseball – especially to Summit League members on the southern flank. Continue reading Why Baseball and Augustana College Drove UMKC’s Summit League Return

Final Phase I Project of the Denver Advantage underway with Leo Block Demolition

After a late start, The Burwell Center for Career Achievement is finally under construction after overcoming several zoning technicalities. The new facility will house Career Services, act as a resource for corporate relations and engagement and provide as a gathering place for alumni and alumni relations. The new facility is being built at the intersection of Asbury Avenue and South Gaylord Street, replacing the former Leo Block Alumni Center.

Burwell Center

Photo: The Burwell Center for Career Achievement will cover 23,000 square feet and meet energy requirements to achieve LEED Platinum designation. In addition to interview spaces and offices, the building will have a guest patio and living room for visitors to the DU campus. Continue reading Final Phase I Project of the Denver Advantage underway with Leo Block Demolition

Rapid Reaction: UMKC Returning to Summit League

According to a report from the Washington Post, the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) is leaving the Western Athletic Conference and returning to the Summit League for the 2020-2021 season. The addition of UMKC will bring conference membership to ten schools. The move makes it unclear what will happen with Augustana College – a school considered to be a shoo-in for the Summit League’s tenth opening when they transition to Division I play.

Interestingly, reports cited an ‘invitation’ which was extended by the Summit League to UMKC. According to the Washington Post, “We’re thankful to the WAC and their commitment to Division I excellence. We accepted the invitation to return to the Summit League because, after careful review, we believe it will help us achieve our goals,” UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said in a statement. Continue reading Rapid Reaction: UMKC Returning to Summit League

Jamie Franks targets ambitious men’s soccer schedule for sustained excellence

Photo: Courtesy of The Denver Post

On paper, Denver Men’s Soccer’s schedule looks like a suicide mission. This upcoming season, DU men’s soccer will be playing collegiate royalty, many of those contests on road – but that is exactly the way Franks wants it. Never one to hide his ambitions, Franks said, “The goal of the program is to win a National Championship. To be able to win six knockout games, we have to go up against the best –  It’s not about having the best record going into the NCAA Tournament, it’s about being the most prepared we can be for knockout style football in November and December, and this schedule will do that for our group this fall.”

Denver announced their 2019 Schedule. And, it is chalk full of challenges – especially on the road. Continue reading Jamie Franks targets ambitious men’s soccer schedule for sustained excellence

Class of 2019 Takes a Final Bow

Well, it is the end of another academic year. Congratulations to the graduating class of 2019, who continued to witness the greatest sports era in the history of the University of Denver. In fact, this year was the first school year they did not have a national championship team – yet, nearly 75% of DU’s athletic teams advanced to the NCAA playoffs.

Best of luck from LetsGoDU.

Go Pioneers!

Armin Afsahi Leaving DU for Harvard

Photo: Courtesy of the University of Denver

When a Chancellor departs, it is not unexpected to have staff changes, and as Rebecca Chopp steps down from her Chancellor position this July, one of her key Vice Chancellor hires has decided to leave DU for Harvard University.

DU’s Armin Afsahi, DU’s Vice Chancellor for Advancement since 2015, has just accepted a similar executive position as Harvard’s Associate Vice President and Dean of Development for Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). Starting in July, Armin will lead the fundraising for FAS — the largest division at Harvard, which includes all undergraduate programs, some graduate schools, museums, libraries and athletics. Continue reading Armin Afsahi Leaving DU for Harvard

Five Big Takeaways from 2018-2019

DU Women Dominated the Field

While recent season’s showed DU men overshadowing their women counterparts, 2018-2019 was the Year of Women in Athletics at DU. Women’s hoops, led by Jim Turgeon,  went 18-14 and won a first round NIT road contest against New Mexico. Women’s golf won the Summit League and went to the NCAA’s. Gymnastics advanced to the NCAA team finals – the first time ever and showed that they have the potential to be the first women’s team at Denver to win a national championship. Liza Kelly directed women’s lacrosse to a 16-4 record and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. Women’s soccer, a long time staple at Denver, went 13-6-2, won the Summit League and went to the NCAA playoffs. Women’s tennis drove their way way to a 17-6 record with a power five schedule, won the Summit League and went to the NCAA’s. Volleyball went 27-3 – undefeated during the Summit League regular season and advanced to the NCAA’s.

What is even more amazing, these women’s teams may be even better next season. Continue reading Five Big Takeaways from 2018-2019

DU Adds Two New Hoops Assistants

Photo: Courtesy of Denver Basketball

Denver basketball added two new assistants today in hopes of turning around the struggling program. Out goes Ricardo Patton and Steve Snell and in comes Bacari Alexander and Roman Sposato. Dan Ficke continues as an assistant to Rodney Billups while Zach Ruebesam moves up from grad assistant to director of basketball operations. Dwight Thorne moves over to director of player development and Henry Aldous will stay on with the Pioneers as a graduate manager.

Of course, the staff changes that are getting the greatest attention involve the hiring of Alexander and Sposato as assistant coaches. Continue reading DU Adds Two New Hoops Assistants

Denver Athletics’ elephant in the room

Denver Men’s Basketball.

With perennial national contenders that fill the halls of Ritchie Center, the Denver Athletics program boasts a rich tradition and history of success. And yet, somehow the men’s basketball program has fallen behind and continues to be a puzzle at best. It’s a program that should be able to contend in the Summit League but is showing troubling signs of regression.

Some claim that with DU’s rich hockey tradition, basketball will never prosper at University and Evans, while other DU fans hope basketball never prospers at all, as it may be seen to threaten hockey’s long-standing primacy as DU’s winter flagship sport.  Still others, likely the larger crowd, wish for a day when both sports flourish and cheering crowds flock to Magness Arena in support of both programs. Count us in that latter group. Continue reading Denver Athletics’ elephant in the room