Category Archives: Pioneers

70 Years of DU Hockey History Part II: A Temporary Decline – 1970-1994

Our own Puck Swami has authored a four-part historical retrospective for the 70th anniversary of the DU Hockey program. This is Part II. Part One can be found here, and Parts III and IV will follow in the coming weeks. While these stories will run far longer than our usual stories, remember that 70 years is a lot to cover. Enjoy!

Given DU hockey’s successes in the program’s first 20 years, there was no reason to believe that the Pioneer hockey program was about to enter a 35-year period with no NCAA titles. After all, there was plenty of talent in the pipeline. In the early 1970s, DU leveraged its 1960s dominance to attract a number of star players who would move on the NHL — George Morrison, Peter McNab, Bruce Affleck, Rob Palmer, Mike Busniuk, Rich Preston, Mike Christie, Mike Lampman, Vic Venasky and Ron Grahame would all wear the Crimson and Gold in the early-to-mid 70s before moving on to the highest level. Continue reading 70 Years of DU Hockey History Part II: A Temporary Decline – 1970-1994

DU Fails to Respond to Pioneer Nickname Issue

It’s been nearly a month since our Sept. 9th piece when we asked DU to publicly affirm the Pioneer nickname as well as reinstate the Pioneer nickname to those programs where it was dropped. To date, DU has failed to respond.

In 2019, DU senior administrators removed the Pioneer nickname from at least three longstanding programs. Pioneer Passage was changed to “New Student Convocation”; the Pioneer Awards were changed to the “Crimson and Gold Awards” and the Pioneer ID Card abruptly appeared without the Pioneer name (although after the DU community caught wind of this, the card was ‘restored’ with an option for cardholders to choose cards without the ‘Pioneer’ name).  For more details on these changes, see the link here. Continue reading DU Fails to Respond to Pioneer Nickname Issue

Safeway sponsorship proves power of ‘Pioneers’

Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics

The recently announced University of Denver athletics sponsorship with Safeway shows the power of the ‘Pioneers’ nickname. Without a doubt, the on-campus benefits look substantial where “Safeway will receive exposure at the Ritchie Center, Peter Barton Stadium, DU Soccer Stadium, print, digital, game day takeovers, radio advertising and exclusive use of marks. The multi-year contract will surround all DU NCAA sports with a unique and specific emphasis on women’s sports & wellness. Safeway will also contribute to the Pioneer Nutrition Station which will benefit the wellness and performance of DU student athletes.” Continue reading Safeway sponsorship proves power of ‘Pioneers’

Pioneer Soccer Upset Bid Falters Late in 2-1 Loss to #8 SMU Mustangs in Overtime

Josh Drack
DU’s Josh Drack (left) scored this go-ahead goal in the 83rd minute, but the Pioneers fell 2-1 to the Eighth-Ranked SMU Mustangs in OT.  Photo: University of Denver

This loss will be one the University of Denver Pioneer Men’s Soccer team will remember for a long time as eighth-ranked Southern Methodist University foiled DU’s late upset bid, ripping out the Pioneers’ heart with a game-tying goal in the final 2 minutes, then flat-out eating the Pioneers’ heart with a game-winner in overtime, 2-1 on Sept. 21 in Denver. The SMU win exacted revenge on the Pioneers for last year’s 1-0 Denver win over the Mustangs in Dallas.

Things were looking really good for DU as the second half clock ticked down in a tight game. DU’s Josh Drack had just scored a pretty go-ahead goal for the Pioneers with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation time, against the run of play in the second half, and the Pioneers were suddenly leading #8th ranked SMU, delighting a large crowd of over 1500 fans at DU soccer stadium on “Bark-in-the-Park” night home opener.

But with the big upset seemingly just within the Pioneers’ grasp, the DU wheels came off in the final two minutes of regulation, as SMU’s Garrett McLaughlin poked-home a game-tying goal with just 1:25 left in regulation in a goal-mouth scrum, forcing overtime at 1-1.

And once again, DU found a way to lose on overtime this season, letting SMU’s leader Eddie Munjoma dance free for a rocketing shot that beat DU goalie Will Palmquist to win the game for the Mustangs in the third minute of overtime.

SMU had dominated the second half of the contest, out shooting DU 12-3 after DU was better in the first half, as DU missed some strong chances to score early in the contest.

SMU improved to 7-0-0 on the season, and the Pioneers fell to 1-5-1.


Denver Pioneer Sarah Thomas becomes first to swim four English Channel laps

DU Alumnus Sarah Thomas during her record English Channel Swim/Photos: London Independent

DU Pioneer alumni women simply dominate the world in long-distance feats of human sporting endurance, with performances that leave the most capable far behind. Continue reading Denver Pioneer Sarah Thomas becomes first to swim four English Channel laps

DU falls to #97 in US News Rankings; Continues 8-Year rankings backslide

In some disappointing news, the University Denver has fallen an additional slot from #96 to #97 in yesterday’s (Sept. 9) release of the annual US News and World Report Ranking of National Universities, the most well-known US university ranking system. The fall marks yet another downward notch in a near-continuous DU backslide since 2012 when DU ranked #82, and brings DU another step closer to falling out of the top 100 altogether. Continue reading DU falls to #97 in US News Rankings; Continues 8-Year rankings backslide

Denver public gives giant thumbs down to DU’s nickname meddling by 100-1 ratio

The Denver public has spoken loudly, and they clearly don’t want DU to mess with the Pioneer nickname — by a 100-to-1 ratio.

For a University that wants more engagement with the local metro area as a high strategic plan priority, this firm rebuke of DU’s recent efforts to erase the Pioneer name should provide quite a clear roadmap of how NOT to win public favor.

A Channel 7 Denver 360 TV news report gave us our first chance to measure local public reaction to DU’s recent efforts to erase the Pioneer nickname on the DU Campus. And there was an overwhelming reaction on the station’s Twitter and Facebook pages, supporting the Pioneer nickname by a ratio of nearly 100-to-1. Continue reading Denver public gives giant thumbs down to DU’s nickname meddling by 100-1 ratio

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