June 28, 2007
Presentation Made to the Board of Regents Requesting the Bearcat Stadium Playing Surface be named "Mel Tjeerdsma Field"
Prepared and presented by Dr. Bob Boerigter, Director of Athletics
There are occasions in the life and history of a University where one of its professional staff members, through their service, leadership, competence, and performance establishes an impressive and distinguished record of excellence that far exceeds all of their predecessors and that remarkable record establishes a standard by which all future professionals in that position will forever be measured. This is the case with our head football coach, Mel Tjeerdsma.
The Head football Coach has one of the more complex jobs here at the University. We expect our head football coach to be a good personnel manager, hiring, motivating and supervising a professional staff of five full time assistant coaches and four graduate assistants. We expect him to be a superb recruiter, assembling a roster of 120 college students that is representative of our student body profile, are academically motivated and capable of graduating from here with a success rate higher than the normal student body, and possess the character traits that make them respectful of our rules and culture. In addition they are gifted physically to be able to play college football at a very high level.
We expect our coach to be superb at coaching the game of football, for whereas some schools are pleased when their teams win a few games or half of their games; we tell our coach we would prefer that he wins all of his games. Our coach is expected to be an ambassador for the University, a good public speaker, a willing and competent fund raiser, a clinician available to share his knowledge and expertise with others in the profession and to have the human relations savvy to be able to relate to custodians, faculty members, alumni, University administrators and Regents and our loyal Bearcat fans; both those that enthusiastically support our team, and those that like to second guess the play calling on Sunday morning, while having breakfast at the local Hy-Vee.
What is being proposed to you today, to name a venue after a current member of the University staff is unusual in collegiate athletics, but it is not unprecedented. The University of North Carolina named its new arena in honor of Coach Dean Smith while he was still coaching there; at Duke University's Cameron Indoor Stadium the team plays on the "Coach K Court" named for Mike Krzyzewski; at Tennessee the basketball floor is the "Pat Summit Court" in honor of their women's basketball coach. Mel Tjeerdsma has many things in common with these coaches - among them is the fact that each has become a legend at their institutions.
Members of the Board of Regents, I propose to you today that the playing field within Bearcat Stadium be named Mel Tjeerdsma Field, in honor of our current head football coach, the finest football coach in America.
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