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IT IS TIME

-To those who proudly wore the Green and Gold for the Men's Track and Field Team

IT IS TIME

-To those who proudly wore the Green and Gold for the Women's Track and Field Team

IT IS TIME

-To those parents,brothers and sisters,sons and daughters of the proud men and women who wore the Green and Gold

IT IS TIME

-To the parents and friends of the current athletes proudly wearing the Green and Gold

IT IS TIME

-To all those who love the great sport of Track and Field Let the Green Mountains of the great state of Vermont come alive with the voices of all those who love Vermont, The University of Vermont and Vermont Track and Field.  With ONE voice let's send the message "BRING BACK UVM MEN'S TRACK AND FIELD"

IT IS TIME FOR THE UVM ADMINISTRATION TO HEAR FROM ALL OF US!!!!!

 

ED KUSIAK
KUS




Posted on 10/24/2001
Eric P. Benson

Dear President Colodny,

I recently received the news that the UVM Men's Indoor and Outdoor Track programs are being eliminated after this season. As an alumnus who benefited greatly from my participation on the UVM track teams, I find this news disheartening.

From 1975 - 79 my participation on the Indoor and Outdoor Track Teams played an integral role in my UVM experience. Currently I am an Associate Professor at Clemson University, where big time college athletics reigns. As an average athlete at UVM, I now realize that I would have had little chance to make the track team at a Division I school like Clemson. However, Coach Kusiak and UVM provided the unique opportunity for me to compete. More importantly, my involvement with the track team provided growth experiences and relationships I would never have forged at other universities.

I am pleased that you are not cutting other running programs. However, I don't see the wisdom in cutting the men's track programs while keeping men's and women's cross country and women's indoor and outdoor track. All of these programs are synergistic and the added expense of keeping the men's track programs should be minimal.

In your letter in the latest Vermont Quarterly you stated: We are about education. That's not just about preparing for a job. It's about the opportunity, and the serious responsibility to look beyond ourselves, to show the way to making this community, this nation, and this world a better place. And to be leaders, not bystanders, in that vital quest.

The opportunity to participate in track and field programs helped me look beyond myself to my team. Coach Kusiak taught me what it was like to be a leader, not a bystander, playing a key role in my development, my drive to continue my graduate studies, and my active involvement in my community today.

You won't find my name in any UVM record books or in the Athletic Hall of Fame, but you'll find no one who benefited more by his experiences or who is more saddened by the loss of these programs. Cutting the programs will create a hole in your vision of a University that is about education and making the world a better place. And in that hole will be the lost opportunities for many young men.

Of all of my professors at UVM, Coach Kusiak was my most important mentor. Please seek his wisdom and insight, and please reconsider this decision.

 

Sincerely

Eric P. Benson, Ph.D. Class of 79
Clemson, SC




Posted on 10/17/2001
Steven M. Eustis
seustis@btv.ibm.com

Dear President Edwin Colodny,

As a runner of this great state of Vermont, I know the great educational and fitness value of running and track and field. Unfortunately recent University of Vermont administration actions have eliminated funding for the men's track and field team at UVM. As befits a small but comprehensive university and with a special partnership with the citizens of Vermont, I respectively seek its reinstatement as a University Sponsored Athletic Program.

Please take a moment to consider the following: All Vermont Division 1 & 2 High Schools have Track and Field Teams. Most Vermont Division 3 High Schools have Track and Field Teams. Vermonters comprise 65 to 75 percent of the UVM Men's Track and Field team. 1995 thru 2000, UVM Men's claimed 55 separate first, second, and third place finishes in the America East Conference. We acknowledge the fiduciary responsibility of the Trustees and officers of the Administration at UVM. It is important for the Trustees and Administration to be aware of its affiliation and commitment to provide admissions for Vermont residents in ways consistent with principles upon which UVM was founded. UVM should not give our Vermont runners a reason to leave the state to attend other universities.

 

Sincerely,

Many runners of the state of Vermont (listed separately*)


*NOTE: This letter is currently being signed by runners across the state.
It will be available for signing at the Green Mountain Marathon and 1/2 Marathon on Oct. 20th. For more information about these races, go to www.gmaa.net




Posted on 10/17/2001
Marie T. Carmichael
Marie_Carmichael@windsor.k12.vt.us

Ladies and Gentlemen

As a Vermont resident and the parent of a UVM Junior, a high school graduate from the class of 2000 and 3 prospective high school grads from the class of 2002, I have spent many hours reading UVM catalogs. Our first one dates back to 1997 and the one I hold now is 1999-2000. As I peruse the pages I know why my son decided to leave Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, as a first semester freshman, to return to Vermont life.

I have come to the section regarding Life at the University. There are four components, living; activities; organizations; and sports & recreation with an overarching quote that reads, "Work hard, play well...",a quote from Dean Blatt, then UVM's vice president for student affairs.

Work hard, play well, an expectation of UVM students. The text goes on to read, students are an active group - more than half take part in varsity athletics, club sports, or intramurals during their years on campus.(p. 17)

Being in the dual role of parent and educator, I have come to take great pride in my state and it's place in the move toward adopting standards and expectations for students, educators and those who are involved in the education of Vermont students.

It is an educator that I address this letter to the Athletic Council.

My greatest role as a teacher has been to watch my children grow in this beautiful state while preparing them for their adult lives as leaders of tomorrow. Having our family in Vermont, where they could grow healthy in body and spirit was the perfect back drop for the values education that was so important for us to share which came naturally in word and deed. Going to UVM my son has also had the honor to learn from many fine teachers and coaches who have nurtured and carried on the role of imparting values to instill those same leadership goals. Do more than expected. Don't settle for mediocrity. If something is wrong make it right. Never give up. How fortunate for all the sons and daughters at the University of Vermont to know that these values are living words not just cliches and jargon.

Vermont has been the perfect place to introduce and develop in our children their awareness of balance of life. UVM gave my son the opportunity to grow stronger in mind, emotion, spirit and body. Work hard, play well..? What could the adults of my generation have been thinking when they chose to publicly announce cuts in the very programs that the university professes to boast that more than half the student body takes part in during their college years. A crucial decision, without warning, directly affecting the future lives of many people and putting our sons and daughters in mental and emotional turmoil, 2 days before their season opening race, with so much devastation going on around them.

Working hard and playing well depends on personal motivation, perseverance, the desire to learn and the right blend of challenge and task expectations that are neither too difficult or too simple for people's abilities. The one thing we as educators know best is that learning is a social activity and with "more than half of UVM students taking part in varsity athletics...", the learning potential in each social setting is limitless. Do you really want to start cutting costs in athletics knowing that our future leaders must be healthy in body as much as in spirit, emotion and mind.

The Director of Athletics wrote in his letter of September 28, 2001,

"Athletics would need to examine it's offerings and it's abilities to provide quality experiences with diminishing resources. Services to programs, administrative attention and resources were being spread far too thin to provide the kind of experiences we hoped to achieve."

I must have missed meeting Mr. Farnham at any of the indoor track and outdoor track and field events, and he must have missed the quality experience of Catamount pride and spirit that this team of over 50 men and women displayed winter and spring for the past two years. Services to programs, one bus? Administrative attention, 3 coaches for 52 people, no trainers. Resources being spread too thin?

Finally Mr Farnham mentions, "University commitment and enhanced dollars in many areas is the first step in helping the Athletics program become better suited to providing a quality experience." He goes on to point out the areas most in need are scholarships, facilities, operating revenue and salaries. Who would these scholarships apply to? The men in the cross country and the track and field programs are not offered scholarships. What is the upkeep and maintenance cost of the track at UVM? What about University commitment to Vermont and the future athletes who love their state and want to represent their state in a sport that may carry them one day to Olympic competition?

I am so honored to have my son attend the University of Vermont and to be surrounded by the beauty of the Green Mountains and one of the finest institutions of education and life. It is here he has met quality leaders and grown with champion men and women and we sincerely hope he will be able to complete his dream of becoming another one of the top Vermont runners in UVM history.

I thank the UVM Board for professing the words of Dean Blatt , "Work hard, play well," and I ask them now to consider the words of Oscar Wilde, "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes." After experiencing the passion and expression with respect to what mens' indoor and outdoor track and field means to past and present alumni alike, Take Vermont Running Forward and bring back men's indoor and outdoor track and field to UVM.

 

Respectfully yours,

Marie T. Carmichael




Dear President Colodny,

First, let me congratulate you on your acceptance as interim President of UVM. I believe you can put us back on our feet again with the support of us all.

Now about me, who I am and what I hope that you can do.
I am Reginald H. Arnold, Class of 1930, B.S. in Civil Engineering.
I attended my 71st class reunion last June- Green and Gold Luncheon.
One other member of my class attended also.

I got to talking with the Alumni office person- Pat Brennen about scholarship endowments and came home all enthused about doing something. I have always had a great love for UVM and the State of Vermont. I worked 41 years as a practicing P.E. in Civil Engineering and surveyor in Vermont...I was 39 years in the Vermont Highway Dept- the last ten years as Assistant and Chief Engineer. I retired in 1973 and signed a contract with a Highway Management firm and was sent to Vietnam to be in charge of 15 engineers and to set up their Vietnam highway Administration. We were driven out of Saigon on April 15, 1975 and thus I retired a second and last time as a practicing Civil Engineer. I remarried and moved to Sun City, Arizona where we lived for 25 years. When my wife passed away with cancer, I moved back to Vermont.

Now, I want to tell you about my years at UVM (1926-1930) where I participated on the track team- running the mile or 2 mile on alternate weeks. Track stars, Archie Post, O.T. Wood, Carl (Sonny) Simpson were Jr. And Seniors then and Jack Latly, a professor, was our Coach and a strict one he was.

Track is an individual sport, you are the master of yourself...you learn discipline, leadership, endurance to the limit, comradeship, how to budget you time...all these qualities learned at no expense- our track shoes were even loaned to us!

I ran in cross country each Fall and was Captain my Junior year. After 4 years of this, the qualities mentioned above were all drilled into me and I have never forgotten them and have "used" them in my retirement years.

While in Sun City, I joined the movement of "Quality of Life"- very popular amongst older people. At age 75, I took up Cardiovascular exercise, running, walking and finally "Race Walking"- which is my favorite.

I developed Type II Diabetes when I was 55, I had a mild heart attack at 80 and a knee replacement at 87. In all instances, I was able to recover and continue to participate in yearly Arizona Senior Olympics and won Gold medals in my class.

At the time of my heart attack- it occurred while I was warming up for my usual 3 mile Race Walk. I was pretty disappointed and I asked the doctor if he thought it was due to my exercise. His reply was..."if it wasn't for your race walking, I am sure you would be dead now." Quite a bold statement! That was 14 years ago.

I am still here and will be 94 on 11/13/01. I continue to walk fast (1 1/3 mile) each day at the Mall and I elevate my pulse to 102-108, the most my doctor permits..

Of course, I take a minimum of medication-but honestly believe my doctor when he says that my cardiovascular effort is the real secret to my longevity. I further know, without hesitation, that the applications I learned as a track runner taught me how to care for my body to this day. I ask that you give serious thought to reconsider the decision to eliminate men's track and field. This gives young athletes something you don't read in a text book and even adds longevity to their older years.

I speak from experience as noted above. I think it is asking too much to give up all the great advantages derived from track participation. I hope this letter gets directly to you and hope you can take some action.

I am not a "crackpot" type of individual nor a doting old man. I am of sound mind !

 

Sincerely yours,

Reginald H. Arnold P.E. '30

P.S.

I am a UVM Grad
My deceased wife was a grad
Daughter and granddaughter are grads
Son-in-law was a grad
Grand-son's wife was a grad




Dear Mr. Nestor:

Do not eliminate UVM's Mens' Track & Field program. Over time, this ill-conceived and poorly executed decision will deprive many UVM students of a quality athletic experience, hurt UVM's reputation and its ability to attract a diverse group of motivated achievers, and hamper UVM's fundraising efforts. It should be reversed immediately.

Mens' Track & Field is one of UVM's most cost-effective programs, and one which most closely suppports UVM's stated values. Track & Field always attracts a diverse crowd, and its athletes consistently maintain some of the highest average GPAs of all sports teams. Most important, UVM offers the only quality collegiate track and field program in Vermont. This is an important point. At no other school can a Vermont track athlete compete for his state, wearing a Vermont jersey. As a Burlington, Vermont native, this was a critical factor in my decision to attend UVM. I am proud of my state, and the four years that I ran in a Vermont uniform were the most satisfying of my athletic career. My time as a UVM athlete was an essential formative experience that helped me develop the self-discipline to be an effective Army officer and prepared me to run on two USA teams in international competition. Depriving current and future students of this great experience would be a terrible shame.

Deciding to eliminate the program without consulting the coach, informing him that his program was being considered for elimination, or giving him the courtesy of notification before leaking the story to the press is appalling. I am embarrassed for UVM, and for the people involved in this decision. I hope that they learn from this experience, and that they are able to handle future decisions with more sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and wisdom.

 

Most sincerely,

Steven A. Stebbins
UVM '83
University record-holder, 10,000 meter run




Hello from a fellow runner. I am a member of the local Green Mountain Athletic Association (400+ members, all runners!). I am saddened by the news of men's track being cancelled. I did not run varsity at college (Penn State) (I ran in our competitive intramural league) but my wife ran varsity at Colgate. I know how important athletics is at a school, win or lose. Track is one of the most fundamental of all sports - I can't imagine cutting that from a sports program that plans to still keep more than 20 sports going! Is there something we local runners can do to help out? Is there a standard short letter that we might be able to sign and send out to a key person or group of persons? Please let me know what we can do.

 

Steven M. Eustis
Race Director of the Archie Post (another UVM track great!) Five Miler
Publicity officer of the GMAA -- web page: www.gmaa.net
e-mail: seustis@btv.ibm.com




I recently received a letter from the captains of the University of Vermont Men's Track and Field team informing me that the program was going to be eliminated at the end of the current academic year. I was appalled to hear of this turn of events.

Since the University is a public institution of higher education whose mission is to serve the needs of the state of Vermont, I feel it is a shortsighted decision to eliminate the Men's Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Team. The Mission Statement from the Summer, 2001 Catamount Club Sports News states "Intercollegiate athletics at the University of Vermont promote the personal development of student-athletes, . . . fosters the pursuit of academic excellence, and provides community enrichment." It is a gross contradiction of the Mission Statement when a program whose participants are among the best student-athletes on campus is eliminated. If one considers that the cross-country team was ranked 34th nationally in GPA, and that all of those athletes also participate in Track and Field, one would be hard-pressed to find a better definition of the student-athlete. These disciplined and intelligent individuals are superb role models for students at all levels of education, as they rise to the challenge in the classroom and in competition. There is a lot to be said for the sound mind, sound body concept, and these students embody that ideal. If academic performance was not important to athletics, why then does every educational institution in the country have minimum academic standards for their athletes?

The Mission Statement refers to community enrichment. There are many former members of the Men's Track Team who have enriched their communities, both in and outside of Vermont, by staying involved with the sport and by drawing on their experience to help others. I am currently working as a mathematics teacher in Glen Rock, NJ, where I have also coached track. I am currently President of the New Jersey Track and Field Officials Association, an organization dedicated to improvement of the sport at the high school level. I have encouraged my students attend UVM, including one who qualified for the Mortar Board, Mary Beth Turanchik,, UVM Class of 1993. By eliminating the Men's Track team, you will be cutting off an important resource that benefits the people of the state of Vermont and the community of individuals that is UVM. There are a number of former track team members who are now "giving back" to the community in many capacities by teaching, coaching, and inspiring others to develop their potential as human beings. Remember, "It takes a village to raise a child."

In the Press Release dated September 14, David Nestor was quoted as saying, "This decision represents an important step forward in terms of focus and quality, and allows us to use our limited financial, human, and facilities resources more effectively." The press release made by the Athletic Department stated "if insufficient additional institutional funding is not available, internal reallocation within athletics will be necessary." To me, these quotes above clearly state that the future goal of the UVM Athletic Program is to develop one or two nationally ranked sports teams at the expense of all the others. However, no amount of money that is spent on the men's basketball program or men's hockey program can guarantee a nationally ranked team. A large checkbook does not insure success in intercollegiate athletics.

Is the business of higher education at UVM to have students achieve excellence in the classroom or perform in front of a packed Patrick Gym on the basketball court? Is the job of the new fund-raising czar to insure success on the basketball court by soliciting alumni donations? The Men's Track team is comprised of non-scholarship athletes who are as dedicated and committed to their sports as those who earn scholarships. Their dedication is shown every day in practice and in the classroom. They are highly disciplined, self-motivated, goal-oriented, and committed individuals who strive to be the best they can be in all endeavors. These qualities are as enduring as they are pervasive in all aspects of life. The experience of being part of a team, "a family," a group that helps its members achieve personal goals cannot be underestimated.

For the above reasons please reconsider the idea of eliminating the Men's Track Team. As a member of the Alumni Association who has long supported his alma mater, I request you seriously reexamine this decision.

 

Sincerely,

Tom Beatini, Class of 1980
22 Wierimus Road
Hillsdale, NJ 07642




Dear Dr. Colodny,

I was disappointed to learn of the University of Vermont's decision to discontinue the men's indoor and outdoor track program after the 2001-2002 season. I have reviewed the criteria behind this decision, read recent Burlington Free Press articles on the subject, and spoken with Coach Kusiak. I find it noteworthy that the level of participation at the high school level in Vermont, and positive campus and community image were not factors in the decision. It appears to me that this decision was arbitrary and focused on sports that are less "popular" with the community, thereby making it easier for the University administration to push the cut through. Given the criteria, "popular" sports, such as hockey, would not stand up to the test. I can't believe that the hockey team would rate higher than track in competitive level of success given their annual dismal performance on and off the ice. In addition, only a very small minority of students go to UVM because of its hockey program.

Academically, track and gymnastics have stellar records. I'm sure level of financial resources (the big bucks) played a major role in your decision. My intent is not to pick on the hockey program, as I know that all sports are valuable to their participants and to the campus community. However, I am left baffled as to why this cut was necessary. I was a participant and co-captain of the men's track team during the late 1970's. I found that involvement with the team greatly enhanced my experience at UVM. Coach Kusiak promoted a "family" environment among team members, often leading hiking trips on fall weekends and inviting team members to his home for meals. Having the men's and women's team train, travel, and compete together added to this positive environment.

I remain in contact with team members today and I know of more than a few marriages that occurred as a result of this positive interaction. I never knew coach Kusiak to cut a person from the team. Everyone was allowed to compete. One impact of this, which I'm sure you didn't consider in your decision, was the participation of athletes from other sports. Often, we had members from the men's soccer and basketball team's train and compete with us in the spring to supplement their training regimen. I'm sure this greatly enhanced their performance in their primary sports. Additionally, cross country and track are very much dependent upon one another. Virtually all cross country runners compete as long distance runners in track during the winter and spring.

Running is a year round sport. So, by cutting men's track, you've also cut cross country. No long distance runner of merit would do one without the other. Finally, track has much more widespread participation in Vermont (and nationwide) than almost any other sport at UVM. Thus, the potential to attract potential students is higher. I found it interesting that you kept the women's track program. The incremental cost of having a men's team is negligible under this scenario. Coaching and transportation are already covered. The only additional cost is additional rooming for away meets. A recent Free Press (October 6, 2001) article said that you assumed that you would save the cost of the track program by cutting the men's team. I think it would be much less than that. The article stated that the savings was on the order of $40,000 to cut the men's program (assuming ). I'd put the savings at about half that amount, or about $20,000 based on my experience with the team. The article went on to state that the University gets $13,000 for every sport it offers from the NCAA. So, the net savings was about $7,000 a year. I'm confounded that you would take away such a positive student experience and enhancement to other sports programs for a paltry amount such as this.

Finally, the academic performance of the athletes participating in the sports you cut is stellar. The men's track team has some of the finest student's on campus. My academic experience at UVM prepared me for a very successful career in the engineering profession. Additionally, while browsing the University's web site I found that the men's gymnastics team was also recognized as "Academic National Champion". You are certainly sending the wrong message on the importance that the University places on academics by cutting teams that have great student athletes.

I certainly recognize that the University is undergoing financial difficulties and that an examination of finances in all areas is necessary. However, the benefit to cost ratio for this decision is heavily in favor of keeping the men's track program. The University administration has stated that they would consider keeping the program (Free Press, October 6, 2001) if they can assure the funding will be there. My question, and I haven't seen it defined anywhere, is how much will it take. I recommend that the University set up a separate alumni fund for each sport. You've hired a Director of Development who's job it is to raise money. Put him to work! Set an annual goal for alumni contributions, and I'm sure that the legions of us that have been positively impacted over the years will top it. I've told coach Kusiak that I'm willing to help out in any way necessary to assure that men's track remains intact at UVM. I'm happy to do this through a financial contribution (as I've done in the past) or by donating my time to organize alumni or help in some other way.

I sincerely hope that when the weight of evidence is in from those concerned, that you will reconsider your decision to drop men's track. This program has a long and distinguished history at UVM and has positively impacted many. Ultimately, the University will loose much more in lost enrollment than the paltry amount saved. It would be a real loss to the University community and to the State of Vermont student's that aspire to attend UVM to drop this program. Please don't!

 

Respectfully,

Bernard T. Gagnon
Class of 1980




From One Who Cares About UVM Track and Field-

I chose to matriculate at the University of Vermont in 1972, primarily because of the recruitment efforts of then Men's Track and Field Coach William Nedde. This simple decision had a profound impact on my life. I completed my Undergraduate and Graduate degrees at UVM, married my wife who is currently an Associate Professor in Psychology at UVM and joined a handful of individuals (from UVM) to launch a company that now employs 200 Vermonters.

I also participated in Men's Cross Country and Track and Field from 1972 - 1976. This experience greatly expanded my personal vision and horizons. It was a privilege to spend time with this motivated, and diverse group of individuals. I learned discipline, how to deal with and overcome obstacles, to accept my limitations and enjoy my strengths. This experience provided me with a treasure chest of rich experiences to draw from throughout my adult life.

The announcement of UVM's decision to terminate Men's Track and Field was shocking to say the least. More disheartening was this vague set of "Criteria", which upon reflection just doesn't hold up.

Previous letters of outrage have clearly reviewed these issues (www.uvmtrack.com ). Highlights include:

  • No one can argue that the student-athletes that currently and have made up the Track and Field program are not some of the finest at UVM, often with an average GPA over 3.0. The Men's Track and Field team passes the academic quality test!

  • There is no real cost savings, if even 50% of the current or future Track and Field student athletes do not decide to attend UVM. At the current blended instate/out of state tuition rates this could easily represent over $200,000 per year in lost tuition. All of us are increasingly aware that UVM is already struggling to recruit adequate students. Why ravage this existing and proven source of high quality student-athletes? The financial cost criterion just doesn't hold up to any scrutiny.

  • Did this administration committee review the database of UVM Track and Field Alumnae to understand their current level of their gifts and donations to UVM? UVM has proudly announced the creation of a new Athletic Fundraising Czar. Did he recognize the potential loss of allegiance and gift potential by alienating 1000's of devoted alumnae who are part of a 100 year old Men's Track and Field tradition?

  • UVM Men's team is not a National or even a Regional Track and Field power. At the same time consider the lack of scholarships, coupled with extremely high tuition. It is remarkable to note that there is a steady annual emergence of a handful of "stars" that do compete very successfully on a regional and national basis. See Larry Kimball's historical overview and UVM's own stats at www.uvmtrack.com on some of the recent "stars" of UVM. How ironic is that on a current Administration Home Page there exists in bold letters the announcement that Anna Norgren "96" will compete in the IAAF World Track and Field Championships, only slightly below the announcement that Men's Track and Field is being canceled. How can you debate that there is inadequate success achieved by the Men's Track and Field when the facts so clearly contradict this?

  • Much has been said about the 27 Sports Programs that UVM supports, as compared to other America East schools. Perhaps UVM has better embraced the real meaning of the term student-athlete. At the same time, the more relevant question is "have any of these schools canceled Men's Track and Field"?

Yes, all of this may simply come down to money, who has it and what team can generate it. Isn't college athletics supposed to be about more than this? Greek tradition gave birth to Track and Field, traditions that clearly emphasized a balance between our intellect and our bodies. Sadly, this balance is missing among the "Criteria" emphasized by this group of administrators.

As a businessperson, I have been taught to carefully focus resources to increase value. All of us who participated or are associated with the Men's Track and Field family, both today and yesterday, are "shareholders" in its future. We are ready to stand up and be counted and make the financial sacrifices necessary to preserve a valuable asset. Give us a chance.

I pledge my support to a full assault on this short sighted and myopic decision and urgently request the Board of Trustees to show their courage and leadership skills by immediately reversing this draconian reaction and to reinstate Men's Track and Field at UVM.

Let the Games begin.

 

Peter Weith, BS, MBA
Co-Captain 1976
Wasson Award - Outstanding Scholar-Athlete 1976
weithp@biotek.com




To: The Burlington Free Press

Inexplicably appropriate: Your article about the Taking of the Track Team 1, 2, 3, along side an article on Nostradamus, --The Complete Prophesies and other stories. There was an almost immediate onslaught of unprecedented interest in the late (17th century?) soothsayer after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Superstition reigned supreme; logic faded fast and a vast swath of the populous cowered under the horoscopes and time lines of our day.. William Butler Yates was writing of this when he penned his poem, The Second Coming, a time wherein "The best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity." They attack track!

Who will come to the rescue of UVM Track? I certainly will. I for one will offer financial support simply out of conviction that it is wrong to shut down university-sanctioned running at UVM. It is wrong not as a matter of money (there is always enough money) but rather wrong as a matter of the quality of individuals UVM will exclude from its ranks, wrong as matter of stopping the development of other individuals who--not only might but will come back to repay UVM and society twenty times over what it now costs UVM to continue the program. Excluding track excludes from the University a collective set of individuals with desire, skills, leadership, discipline --qualities that no great place can do with out. Surely some of the kids will stay at UVM without track. They will labor alone or in small groups and, yes, even becomes leaders of this state in this century. But what kind of comment is it on the University when it says it will eliminate Track, the most independent of all sports in a most independent-mined state. Track, pure athleticism void of hype and cover: Team sports can cover you on an off day; running indoors, outdoors or in the hills in cross-country has no such sanctuary. There is no cover. And the heart aches. The result is discipline, and the building of something which use to be called "character." Look around you. See who the leaders are--see how many of them are runners of some sort. They and the future runners of UVM can advance in their roles as leaders on their very own --and they will. -- But shame on UVM for not endorsing that advancement. And shame on UVM for stepping a little closer to the abyss by absurdly eliminating men's track & field and cross-country from its ranks. Nostradamus alongside UVM.

 

Carl Jay Gutierrez, MD
3600 Ave du Parc #A-2809
Montreal, Quebec H2X 3R2

Home (514) 845-1345
Cell (514) 865-3368
Fax (208) 460-7831
www.carljay.com




To The UVM Administration:

I am a proud graduate of the UVM class of 2000. I am also a proud graduate of UVM's Track and Field program. Like all other UVM T&F current team members and alumni, I am upset with the University's decision to eliminate their program after the 2002 season. As an alumn, I would like for you to help me to better understand this decision. I would also like some help to understand how it was that Coach Kusiak was not even given an opportunity to defend his program...a program that he has dedicated his life to build. I would also like to understand what steps the team and alumni could take to reverse this decision. The UVM men's team is comprised of the type of students that you all as administrators must dream about. Hard working, dedicated, mature, talented, intelligent, goal-oriented and loyal men. These guys are not asking for much, just a chance to compete...in most cases it is a chance to compete for their own state school. The team does not have scholarships, fancy equipment, fancy uniforms, fancy facilities or many coaches. The team does not ask for those things. The team just wants, and deserves, to wear the green and gold for years to come.

A response would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you.

Sara Kinnamon
UVM Track and Field Team Alumna,
Class of 2000




To whom it may concern:

It has just come to my attention that you are considering dropping Men's Track & Field from the list of University supported activities. I fully understand the difficulty in financially supporting a complete athletic program for men and women; today's environment of dwindling resources makes this extremely difficult. I believe, however, that special consideration should be given to this decision.

I speak from the perspective of someone who participated in collegiate Track & Field as an athlete, coach, and administrator for two university programs. Today's collegiate environments spend considerable efforts supporting sports that have very high economic costs relative to the number of individual participants. Track & Field affects many individuals for the financial investment required. My experience -- as an athlete, coach, and administrator -- is that I learned many things through my participation in this wonderful sport that I have been able to take on to my new professional career. Skills honed on the "practice field"; relationships with teammates and the university, affection and allegiance that now transfer into financial contributions. I urge you to reconsider your decision to drop the Men's Track & Field program from your athletic offering.

 

Carlos M. Alers
Vision, National Accounts Manager
800/334-8534 ext. 4216
970/225-9891 (Direct Dial)
carlos.alers@medic.com




Dear Governor Dean:

It is very seldom that I write to any political leaders, but I now feel compelled to do so in regard to a matter which may be trivial to you given the current situation affecting us all here in the United States.

On Thursday, September 13, the University of Vermont (perhaps using our nation's terrible tragedy as a veil) announced they were cutting five sports including the men's indoor and outdoor track and field programs. This year is the 100th anniversary of Track and Field at the University of Vermont. Among those who have participated in the sport at U.V.M. were Albert Gutterson of Springfield, the winner of the 1912 Olympic gold medal in the broad (long) jump and Clarence Demar of South Hero, a medallist in the 1936 Olympics and a seven time winner of the Boston Marathon. Judi St Hilaire from Lyndon was a seventh place finisher in the 10000 meter at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. I dare say there have been over 2000 student athletes who have competed in the track and field program.

Growing up in Chittenden County, my early sports heros were not major sports figures, but rather U.V.M. track athletes and native Vermonters such as Larry Damon, Ray Allen and Fred Kolstrom who competed for the University in the 1950's and 60's. All are now members of the University of Vermont Hall of Fame. My high school coaches were Ted Hinckley, a U.V.M. graduate and Arthur Tudhope, likewise a Vermont graduate and Hall of Famer. Archie Post always had tremendous words of encouragement and inspiration for me as I was growing up.

Ed Kusiak, the current coach, has been at the University since 1969. His reputation and the reputation of the program are among the best in Vermont and throughout New England. The program at U.V.M. is not merely a men's program or a women's program, it is a combined Track and Field Program that works harmoniously together. Coach Kusiak was one of the first coaches to allow women to compete with his program. In fact, he was the first President of the New England's Women's College Track and Field Coaches Association.

Unlike most sports at the University of Vermont, the track and field program is made up mainly of Vermont residents. Over the past ten years, 72% of the student althletes in both the men and women's program are Vermont kids-student athletes who consistently have one of the highest grade point averages on campus. Coach Kusiak's philosophy has always been to recruit Vermont student athletes first and develop these athletes into top performers.

Having been a volunteer assistant coach with Coach Kusiak for ten years from 1988 to 1998, I am well aware that many of the track & field athletes stay in Vermont as educators (among a variety of top professional occupations). I suspect that at least half of the high school Track and Field coaches in Vermont are products of the U.V.M. program and had competed for Coach Kusiak. Think about it----for the $20,000 it takes to run the men's program with the women's program, the Vermont education system and the youth of our state are paid back many many times over. This is less than the same cost to bring in one out of state athlete on an athletic scholarship for one year who takes the money and is never heard from again.

Through conversations with certain individuals, I understand the manner on how certain sports were chosen for elimination. Rumors of lawsuits and large donations may have saved programs that were on the initial list. Coach Kusiak was never given a chance to defend his program.

As a lifelong Vermont resident and a taxpayer, I have been appalled by the disruptive upheaval at the University. I would rather have my dollars support a program where I know the athletes are wholesome hard working Vermont kids who will be retained in our educational system. As long as the track and field program is not on the on athletic map at U.V.M., I will never give a nickel or attend any events sponsored by the University of Vermont. I will also petition my legislators to limit funding and have my tax dollars put to use to help Vermonters.

As a trustee of U.V.M., I hope you have power to reconsider this action. Thank you for your time.

 

Sincerely,

Lawrence Kimball




I too was very saddened to hear about the planned termination of the men' s track program at UVM. I had the proud opportunity of running for four years to include co-captain in 1975. It was an experience that I will never forget, and I remain proud to wear my Vermont singlet track shirt at various road races to include the most recent Boston Marathon. I was at school when we were told that football was to be eliminated, and yes we did survive but I do feel we missed out at a full college experience. It should be noted that Miami also dropped college football at that time but later had the foresight to reinstate at a higher level of excellence. I hope the university can truly use the added monies that would have been spent on the track team. I know I will not be as excited as in previous years to donate money to UVM(1975, med school 1979).

I sincerely hope that the administration can rethink this decision. I do know that my current home state's proud state school in Charlottesville where my daughter hopes to matriculate in the fall threatened similar elimination of the so called lesser income sports, but later through other funds changed their minds. I feel very deeply for Ed Kusiak who has given his life for UVM track. He deserved better notice.

 

Sincerely yours,

Tom Harrington MD
3901 Oak Drive east
Chesapeake, Va
23321
Tharring23@aol.com




Sorry to hear the bad news. Its a tough blow but keep fighting, there's always a way to win. Part of being a member of this team, even in good times, is having to fight against tough odds.

Fight hard, train hard, study hard and above all do it with class. If you do that than no matter what happens you can hold your heads high.

Remember there's a lot of us pulling for guys, your not in this alone.

Good Luck!

 

Chris Jasparro

UVM Track and Field (1985-89)




As a 1960 graguate and a three year member of the spring outdoor track team I recall fondly the role of juggling studies and track .The two pursuits are quite compatable .Most institutions are suffering serious capital short falls but track does not seem to be an expensive sport to maintain.Track at UVM was an area were athletes from in state and outstate got to know each other very well and the marvelous distance runners of Vermont shared their training regime with out of staters.I hope a way can be found to sustain and encourage track for future generations to come.

 

Arthur Levison 1960




Dear Mr. Colodny,

The news of UVM dropping of the 5 Varsity Sports sure hit home hard with me. The dropping of these programs sure shows that UVM has sank to a very low level in the college world. These sports most likely have 75 to 100 student athletes and their GPA is above a 3.0, this should be the kind of student that UVM wants. It sure does not send the message to the world that cutting the sports and losing these students is good for the school. What cost savings are found in this ? Maybe $100,000, but the lost of 50 out of state students at the $30,000 plus a student sure looks like a fast lost, not to mention the poor in-state student who now will have to go out of Vermont to satisfy their sports needs . You do the math.

My background is that I ran track at Vermont and even held some records. I graduated as a Civil Engineering major and can tell you that I choose UVM for the engineering and the track program. The fellow runners on the team all had 3.0 averages and some even became doctors. The friendships from the sports people last a life time and the students will never have the chance. I have regularly given to the college and has had my company contribute, but not again. Why bother, you people can not manage the store now and it sure is showing. In the business world the heads would roll , I can feel for you as a interim president, but the lost of the "good" students will run deep for a long time. I was on campus when they dropped football, did it save money or just lower the standards more.

My daughter recently went off to college. UVM had her two requirements, her major and women's gymnastics. Upon review of the campus, great frankly, she was not impressed. She is now attending a college down south at a lower price than in-state tuition with a much better setting. The news of dropping the gymnastics programs came to no surprise to us, but I if read correctly your men's team had the highest GPA in the nation. It will be a shame they will have to leave the college early.

Why is the men's track going and keeping the women's? They use the same coaches and facilities, if you are going to cut cost get rid of both. I am aware of Title-9 and the gender issue and this may be your factor. The next sport to go might as well be cross country, any decent runner does track and might even enjoy it. The lack of a track team will greatly reduce the desire of a person to come to UVM to just do cross country. Then the next sport can be skiing or swimming to go. Get rid of all sports and just have a big party school. The past hockey team problem would be reason enough to axe that program, but that is a "money sport" and you would never cut one of those.

I hope you understand my position. This is one very upset UVM Track alumni. There is more to sports than winning and UVM better learn this. I would welcome your comments after you get done counting all the money saved by eliminating the sports.

 

Regards,

Richard Clark
Class of 1976

!08 Princeton Ave.
Feeding Hills,
MA 01030




Dear Team,

This is Matt Audibert, UVM Men's Track Captain '95 and '96 and proud supporter of UVM Track. Like everyone else, I was appalled to hear of the cuts and their timing. I have called Kus and will be sending correspondence to all of the officials at UVM that I can think of to make sure that they all know that this is unacceptable. This website you have is awesome. I'm live out in San Francisco and have been following UVM Track via the internet and this is making it much easier to keep up on all of the news. I received the letter from George and Jeff yesterday and hope that all of the alumni get it. I see the web page has a link for mailing list, it would be great if all of the alumni could post their email and regular addresses so we could mobilize together.

I've been away from UVM for 5 years but I feel as if I have had my current team taken away. As a native Vermonter who was able to represent my home state at UVM, I can't imagine Vermonters today not having that same opportunity. I'm sure that others feel this way as well. I will do everything I can to help get the program back. It's nice to see the dedication that you all have to the team and to Kus.

Long live UVM Track.

 

Matt Audibert
28 Clyde Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
415-369-9721




To whom it may concern,

My name is Knut Nystad. I used to participate in skiing, xc running and track for UVM from 1990 to 1994. I currently work as the Nordic Head Coach at the University of Denver. As you might know we have won the NCAA Championships the last two years.

This e-mail is in support of trying to keep the UVM's Track and Field Program. At the University of Denver we are going through the same problem as UVM. The administration is trying to find out if they can support 19 sport programs.

University of Vermont has to go to dramatic measures to allow the best teams to compete at a hight level, but in this case it does not seem like common sense has been applied.

Women's Track and Field will continue. The potential savings of cutting a men's team canot be significant. The training facilities have to remain the same, the busses to the meets still have to run, the coaches still have to coach. It would have been interesting to see how UVM sees it can save money by cutting the men's team. I also find it surprising that a university with the athletic field house being named after a male track star is cutting its track team.

I am glad to see that the students themselves are trying to save the team. UVM should be proud of that 25 men without any scholarship support are tryingto save a team that brings in a significant amount of tuition dollar (probably far more than the potential savings of cutting the program).

In order to save the team it is important that the track team figures out the following. Let us be honest, it burns down to a question of dollars and cents.

1 - The additional cost of running the men's team
2 - The loss of tuition dollars ifthe team is cut
3 - The current contribution/gifts in kind to the men's track team.
4 - The impact on contributions/givings if the men's team is cut.

By presenting a net present value of costs. contributions, tuition payments etc maybe someone will wake up and realize that there are only minimal, if any, savings that can be realized by cutting the men's team. The track team also needs to think about creative ways it can increase the donations to its program. Only taht can save the team at this point.

Philosophically speaking...UVM is a state school. Should it not provide an opportunity for male track participants?

The next thing is perhaps that they will re-name the field house.

Do not give up. Please feel free to forward this e-mail to the Interim President, The Vice President of Student Affairs and to Members of the Board of Trustees. Good luck in saving the team. Please feel free to respond to this e-mail.

 

Proud to be one of many Alumni of the Track Team.

Knut




I feel as you folks do having been Manager of the 1964 Track team.
UVM will no longer be on my donor list.

 

Gerald E. Miner, JR




Dear Chairman,

We are writing this letter to express our disappointment in the recent decision made by the University of Vermont to eliminate the Men's Track and Field program and the process by which this entire incident was handled by the University's administration.

First, we are appalled at the timing of this release. This was horribly inappropriate timing by the University. The stress and tragedy of the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks was enough. The athletes of the sports that were cut absolutely did not need the news that they would not be able to compete in their sport at the University of Vermont the next year. It was insensitive timing, and a public apology should be issued to the athletes involved.

Second, we were disappointed in the decision given how well the team seems to have done against the criteria reported in the Burlington Free Press with which you made the decision. We think the Men's Track and Field team has done well on a number of these dimensions. For example, many of the current and former members of the Track and Field program would have attended other universities if there was no Track and Field program present at Vermont. In the last three years alone, the Men's Indoor Track and Field team has broken 7 school records while the Men's Outdoor Track and Field team has broken 5 school records. In breaking these records Vermont athletes have proven themselves to be not only some of the best in the conference but in all of New England as well. The Men's Track and Field team has produced numerous Conference Champions, New England Champions, as well as many other top finishers in those competitions. Last spring a University of Vermont athlete was named the most outstanding performer of the men's America East conference championship meet. In the past few years the Men's Track and Field team has also sent a number of athletes to the IC4A championships, which is an eastern competition where over 100 East Coast schools compete, and it is one step away from competition at the NCAA National Championship Meet. Academically, the Men's Track and Field program has some of the finest student-athletes on campus. In 1999, 76% of the Men's Track and Field team was on the America East academic honor roll. The Men's Track and Field team consistently has one of the top, often the highest, GPA out of all the varsity sports teams at the University. The only University of Vermont athlete to win both Verizon All-District and All-America first team academic honors was a Men's Track and Field member who graduated recently with an engineering degree and a school record in his event. These were just a few examples of the long list of success the Men's Track and Field team has enjoyed. The Men's Track and Field team is a low-cost program where the participants have had levels of both academic and athletic success that few teams at the University can claim.

As reported by the Burlington Free Press (September 14, 2001) the following criteria was used to make your decision:

  • The program's impact on enrollment
  • The competitive level of success
  • The level of interest generated
  • Potential for future growth
  • The level of financial resources
  • The program's contribution to academic quality

In an effort to understand the reasoning of the University, we would like to receive a copy of the document assessing the above criteria made on all sports at the University of Vermont.

We are disappointed in the decision. As alumni and former athletes, we feel that our alma mater should feel the same obligation and commitment to excellence that was expected of, and displayed by, us while enrolled as student-athletes and captains of the Men's Track and Field team.


Brett E. Schneider -
University of Texas at Austin
Master's Candidate
Men's Track and Field Co-Captain 1999

Thomas D. Johnson, EI -
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Master's Candidate
Men's Track and Field Co-Captain 1999




Can you advise me where the pros and cons of this desicion can be obtained?   I sincerely hope that this decision can be reversed. At the moment without facts at hand, I am less than proud of my dear Alma Mater.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Riche Evans V '48
Captain of the UVM Track Team of 1948.




Bring Back Track & Field.

I was terribly disheartened to learn that UVM is making the decision to drop the Track & Field program.

It is most likely difficult for academics and committee members to quantify the benefits of having a Track & Field program at UVM but easy for them to quantify the savings by getting rid of it.

As a student athlete at UVM in the 80s the Track & Field program was an invaluable part of my life. It helped me train for the Olympics, World Championships and NCAA Championships in skiing. More importantly, it helped me find balance during the skiing off season so I could continue the necessary focus on my studies.

At a time when universities across the country are being criticized for their methods of addressing, or not addressing, excessive drinking it amazes me that UVM would cut a program that provides a healthy outlet for young people under the daily stresses of growing up, studying and preparing for the future.

I would like to lend my support in getting UVM to reconsider their decision to remove Track & Field from the athletic program.

 

Sincerely,

Bruce M. Likly
Principal
Kovak-Likly Communications




Today I received a most disappointing letter informing me that UVM has decided to eliminate the Men’s Track and Field team. For the first time ever I feel let down by the UVM leadership. I was a member of the UVM Track and Field team from 1985 through 1988. During those years as both a student and athlete the Track team provided me a home away from home. We were sisters and brothers who studied together, ran together and became a strong team together. I got so much confidence and support from being a part of that team. My experience at UVM would not have been as rich without this terrific group of people. The Men’s track team will truly be a great loss and Track and Field at UVM will not be the same, you have taken away a lot from the women as well. I feel a great loss knowing that my 2 year old who already loves to say "Ready, Set Go!!" and show me how fast he can run will not be able to follow his dreams to UVM if he follows in the footsteps of his Mom, Uncles, and Grandfather in pursuing Track and Field.

I hope that you will reconsider this decision, the sport of Track and Field has a long history at UVM and provides so much more than just another "athletic offering." It provides a chance to follow ones dreams to run for Vermont. It may not seem like much but my few years running for UVM has shaped my life. I was not a star athlete, I did OK but it was my fellow teammates, men and women, who pushed me to do my best on the track and in the classroom.

 

UVM Track and Field Team Alumna,

Catherine (Eads) Wein, Class of 1989




On Thursday September 13, 2001 our team was suddenly torn apart. Athletes were left stunted after of a week of national tragedy. To add to this, The Board of Trustees decision to cut the Men's Track and Field program was a shock to us all. The Track and Field team has a bond like no other. We are like a family; we train together, race together and support one another on the track and in the classroom. A community has been separated. The division between the teams is devastating. As student-athletes we devote our extra time to training and racing. It's a hard task that only a select few can accomplish. Being an athlete gives students a sense of pride, a focus and a chance to excel in something that we love. We spend countless hours training, our passion for running is something unexplainable. To know that part of our team will not be joining us on the line next year is heart breaking. To know that future Vermont men will not be able to run for their state university is unbelievable. As a Vermonter, I dreamed of coming to my state university to run. The chance to represent my state is an honor. This honor has now been destroyed for so many young men. Our hopes and dreams have been crushed by this universities decision to eliminate the Men's Track and Field program.

 

Sincerely,

Bethany Brodeur
Second year cross-country and track and field athlete.




The Day Al Gutterson Cried
Class of 1912 and Olympic Gold Medal Winner
Gutterson Field House

On Thursday September 13, 2001, I was notified that a decision was made by the administrative leaders at the University of Vermont that men's indoor and outdoor track and field was among the five sports to be eliminated from the UVM athletic program. This was a terrible week for America because of the terrorist attack on New York and Washington and a devastating week for the UVM Track and Field Family. With my Team already distraught about the attack on America the timing of this announcement was deplorable. This indeed was the day that Al Gutterson cried!

As a coach at the University of Vermont for 34 season I was not given the courtesy to defend my program before the committee that eventually decided our fate. The UVM track team was not a Men's team or a Women's team. It has always been coached as the University of Vermont Track and Field team. We ran with one heart and one soul and on September 13th one half of our heart and soul was eliminated. For many years I coached this team by myself with the addition of my first full time assistant coach in the mid eighties. By coaching 6 sports with one full time assistant coach many could say that UVM got their moneys worth.

I feel sorry for the University of Vermont. I feel sorry for the past and present members of the UVM Track and Field family. I feel sorry for all the young boys in the state of Vermont who compete in track and field and will never have the opportunity to compete for their state University. Over the years between 65-75 percent of my team members have been Vermonters and that was my recruiting philosophy for both my Men's and Women's teams.

To the president of the University of Vermont, the Board of Trustees, the Athletic Council and everyone who had input in this decision I would respectfully like to make this response.

On behalf of all the great young men who have proudly and honorably represented the University of Vermont in the great sport of Track and Field I would like to say what General Anthony Clement McAuliffe said to the surrounding German Army at the siege of Bastogne when asked for his surrender - "NUTS".


 

Ed Kusiak
Coach of Men's and Women's Cross Country
Coach of Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field
Coach of Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field