A few weeks ago, back on October 11th, the “Go Denver Pioneers Spirit Fund” was launched publicly, with a $2,500 matching funds challenge for donations made prior to December 31, 2018.
We’re happy to report that the Let’s Go DU blog community has already made $1,865 in donations since that date, putting us about 75% of the way to the $2,500 in our matching funds goal set by generous donors.
We’re appealing to you to raise the remaining $635 before the end of the year to gain the matching funds!
You can read more about the fund here, as well as donate online directly here.
We’re excited about our progress toward the $2,500 matching challenge, and hope you’ll help put us over the top as we near the end of the month!
Thank you for your support of this DU Pioneer spirit initiative!
As Denver Pioneer fans, we’re lucky that we can pop our attention from one successful DU sports program to another. All three fall DU sports (men’s and women’s soccer plus women’s volleyball) earned appearances in their respective NCAA Tournaments this fall. And DU hockey is now ranked seventh in the nation on this bye week, more successful than almost anyone thought they’d be at this point in the season with a young team. Which brings me to the next DU team worthy of more of our attention, the DU women’s basketball team, who have shot out to a 6-1 start to the season and a current national top 40 RPI (#39) ranking, including a current four-game winning streak, as of Sunday, Dec. 2. (Note: Early season RPI rankings are subject to volatile swings, as game data comparisons are still somewhat paltry.)
I would venture a guess that perhaps only 10 percent of our readership here at LetsGoDU have ever been to a live DU women’s basketball game before, and it’s hard to blame them. There is a lot to do in Denver, and the DU women’s basketball teams have been pretty terrible in recent memory, known more for single-digit win/last-place seasons, a fired coach and crowds comprised mostly of friends and family members. Apart from a surprise 2001 NCAA appearance in the early years of the Ritchie Center and a period of decent mediocrity (72-52) under former coach Erik Johnson from 2008-2012, there hasn’t been a lot to cheer about with DU women’s hoops in the last 20 years.
But this year’s DU women’s team is starting to change some of that…
The Pioneers are starting to get noticed in just the second year of the Jim Turgeon coaching era, with home wins over then-#16 RPI Lamar and the latest win, a 29-point win over Loyola Marymount, a top 100 team who had already beaten UCLA and Arizona this year.Moreover, the Pioneers are a very high-scoring bunch, averaging a stunning 90 points per game to date this season, and sport a victory margin of 16 points per game.
And Turgeon, who came to DU from CSU-Pueblo in NCAA Division II two years ago, is doing all this with many of former DU coach Kerry Cremeans’ recruits, who knew only college basketball failure before Turgeon’s arrival. Moreover, he’s done it with a wholly different philosophy of team speed, running the floor at altitude and sharing the ball, instead of Cremeans’ over-reliance on feeding key players, a coaching practice that reportedly lost the locker room and brought an end to her losing tenure at DU. This year, DU has five players averaging double-digit scoring per game, a depth which makes it harder for opponents to key on any one player, and also makes for a much happier DU locker room.
DU’s high scoring attack has been led by Lauren Loven, a junior holdover recruit from Cremeans, who is now flourishing in the ball-sharing Turgeon era, leading the entire nation in made three-pointers (30 in six games through Nov. 30), and is averaging 21 points per game overall to lead the Pioneers in scoring. Additionally, fellow Junior Madison Nelson has exploded recently, with a 20-rebound performance against Lamar and pumping in 28 points in the win over Loyola Marymount. But it’s not just upperclassmen.
Hard-working associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Kayla Ard and the rest of Turgeon’s Denver staff have also brought in some freshmen who are stepping up right away, including Sydney Mech, a local swing player out of Cherry Creek High School who can play either forward or guard, and who is shooting a scorching 50% from the field, averaging 10 points per game. Additionally, talented freshman guard Tsimba Malonga from the Chicago area, who has averaged over 20 minutes per game in the last two games, is being rewarded with more playing time as her contributions increase.
While the 6-1 early record is outstanding, it has been created with a lot of home games, and we’ll soon see what the Pioneers are really made of in the coming weeks. DU is preparing to go on the road for seven of its next eight games, including visits to Wyoming, the University of Nebraska and Colorado State, before heading into the teeth of Summit League play, where top level programs South Dakota and South Dakota State are projected to lead the Summit League.
The Denver Pioneers start the 2018-19 season on the road with a tough game against the Air Force Falcons
Welcome back Pioneers fans! After a long summer, college hockey is finally back and it couldn’t have come any sooner. There have been several questions surrounding the Denver Pioneers this offseason regarding their new leadership behind the bench and on the ice, but only time will tell how the young group transitions.
Denver Pioneer head hockey coach David Carle continues to add experienced NHL insights to his program staff, having named named former Cornell all-American and eight-year NHLer/Team Canada goaltender Ben Scrivens to the newly-created position of Team Manager on Sept. 6, 2018.
The new position will be filled while Scriven’s earns his masters degree at DU. Carle had previously added longtime NHL player Steve Reinprecht as a volunteer assistant earlier in the summer, making room for two former NHL players to enter the team’s brain trust.
Sports scheduling for the Denver Pioneers, in all sports, is often an elusive and frustrating exercise.
Being located in Denver is the largest problem, as playing here requires plane rides and hotel stays for all but a handful of DU’s D-I opponents, which is tough for non-revenue sports. We don’t have the exact figures, but it’s probably a safe bet that about 85% of DU’s opponents must fly here to play us, and likewise, DU needs to fly its own mostly non-revenue sports teams to 85% of its opponents — a dynamic that puts a lot of pressure on athletic budgets and eliminates many opponents for cost reasons.
Then there is the mile-high altitude here, a factor that still scares a number of opposing coaches from flatter places. For example, in 2004, the University of Virginia men’s lacrosse team, ranked #1 nationally at the time, came out here to play both DU and Air Force, and lost both games. The Cavaliers’ coach publicly blamed the altitude for their stumbles, and the Cavaliers have not appeared on the DU home schedule since then. Who knows how many other opposing coaches privately loathe our altitude? Continue reading Puck Swami: DU and the Elusive Art of Sports Scheduling in Denver→
DU’s New Head Hockey Coach David Carle – Photo Credit: CBS
The University of Denver’s hiring of David Carle as its ninth hockey coach in nearly 70 years of program history is a hire that has elements of excitement, safety and risk baked -in, and the fact that it took three weeks for DU to announce it means that the hire was no slam dunk.
Left: Troy Terry, Upper Right: Dylan Gambrell and Lower Right: Henrik Borgström
As expected, the talented Denver forward trio of Troy Terry, Henrik Borgström and Dylan Gambrell have all elected to forego their remaining NCAA hockey eligibility and have all signed three-year NHL Entry Level Contracts (ELCs) with the respective teams that held their draft rights. These ELCs have a maximum base salary of $925,000 per season, and the players may also earn signing and performance bonuses that may cap out at up to $3.75 million. All ELCs are two-way contracts, meaning that if the player is sent to play the AHL, they will be paid a minor league salary of about $70,000. Continue reading Terry, Borgström, Gambrell and Hillman All Leave Denver Early for NHL Contracts→
The hiring of University of Maine Athletic Director Karlton Creech as DU’s new Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation looks to be a ‘safe’ hire for the University of Denver, likely to build incrementally on the legacy of the retiring Peg Bradley-Doppes, who spent the last 13 years in the position. Creech begins at DU on May 1, 2018.
Most of you know by now that former Denver two-time all-American Hockey Captain Jim Wiste passed away this week from heart issues at the age of 71. Wiste, who co-captained the 1968 NCAA Champion Pioneers had a solid professional hockey career in the NHL and WHA after winning the NCAA title at DU. But he was perhaps best known around Denver as the owner of the venerable Campus Lounge, a Denver neighborhood tavern, for the 40 years between 1976 and 2016.
Wiste was part of the very first wave of college players to go from college hockey to NHL hockey in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the plucky center managed to save enough money from his hockey career to buy the Campus Lounge when his hockey playing days ended. Continue reading Jim Wiste, Pioneer Captain, 1946-2018→