I’d like to start by wishing you an incredibly happy and relaxing holiday season. This has been an incredible year on many levels as we ascended to full membership in the Colonial Athletic Association and announced a transformative $3 million gift from the Kehoe Family Foundation.
The past 12 months have not been without their share of challenges, but I am confident that history will remember 2022 for the steps that were taken as a department.
As the majority of our student-athletes have returned home for a well-earned holiday break, we have been busy at work planning for a prosperous 2023. I can assure you that positive change is coming, and you can expect to hear exciting news early in the new year on a number of fronts.
It should come as no surprise that fundraising will be the driving force behind what we do. Earlier this year we announced the third largest gift in program history, a $3M commitment from the Kehoe Family Foundation. This gift will bring a state-of-the art videoboard to LaValle Stadium, launch the renovation and expansion of the football locker room, and fund critical initiatives in leadership and life skills.
Obviously, gifts of this size are significant, but so is the belief from the individuals who provide them. Kevin Kehoe was a member of the first club football team at Stony Brook and, in making the commitment, felt compelled to make a difference and serve as an active participant in the continued growth of our department. Sadly, Kevin passed away on September 30, after his valiant fight against cancer but his impact will be felt for generations to come.
Although we will continue to raise money for capital projects, the bottom line is that we must generate more for operational needs in order to put ourselves in the best position to succeed. It is no secret that state funding has declined, and although private donations have increased, they have not outpaced expenses. For example, we knew that travel costs would increase as a member of the CAA. What we couldn’t anticipate was that our expenditures on ground transportation would more than double due to inflation. The cost of simply driving a team to the airport would blow your mind!
We have also held back on filling positions as a means toward helping the budget, but that relief is merely temporary. These vacancies ultimately have diminishing returns so we have plans to welcome some key hires in the year ahead.
As we continue to operate with urgency with regard to our fundraising efforts in the new year, we will also amplify our presence in the NIL space. I am asked with increasing regularity about NIL and how our donors can be involved. While we launched the Seawolves Exchange this fall as a vehicle to connect local business with our student-athletes, a more comprehensive strategy is in the works.
Needless to say, I will have a great deal more to share in the coming weeks and months so please stay tuned!
Men’s Basketball In Action Tonight, Welcomes Army on Sunday
Following Monday night’s win over Sacred Heart, our men’s basketball team is back in action tonight at Wagner before returning home on Sunday to face Army for the first time since 2004.
It is always a tremendous opportunity to take on one of the service academies so I hope that you will make plans to join us for Sunday’s 1 p.m. tip. Our guys get a tremendous lift playing in front of our home fans, who always bring electricity to Island Federal Arena.
For those who haven’t followed as closely, our team currently has seven healthy scholarship players available. This has understandably created some challenges but I’m proud of our team for fighting through them. We do expect Toby Onyekonwu to return soon (with a face shield to protect his broken nose) followed shortly by fellow freshman Leon Nahar, who has been recovering from a broken foot. Jared Frey, who has been out since the season opener, and Aaron Clarke continue to work through their injuries in order to be fully ready for the start of CAA play.
Tyler Stephenson-Moore (15.1 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game) and Frankie Policelli (10.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg) have provided outstanding leadership on and off of the floor while being asked to play heavy minutes. I’m not surprised because Tyler and Frankie are two incredibly high-character young men who are committed to building a championship program at Stony Brook.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Women’s Basketball Back Home For Wednesday Matinee
Our women’s basketball team will return to action at Island Federal Arena on Wednesday against Maryland Eastern Shore for an early tip time of 2 p.m.
This will be the first game for the squad since a 75-59 win over St. Francis Brooklyn on Dec. 10. Senior Gigi Gonzalez was named CAA Player of the Week after averaging 20.5 points, five assists, and five rebounds over a two-game stretch.
Be sure to join us on Wednesday for a great day of holiday hoops!
Please Consider A Year-End Gift
As I mentioned in my opening, investment in Stony Brook Athletics is needed now more than ever. Many of you have been with us for a long time and supported our department through donations and ticket purchases. We will never be able to adequately express our appreciation, but please know that every gift makes an impact.
As you think about your relationship with Stony Brook Athletics, I am asking you to strongly consider a year-end donation. Truly, the size of the gift is much less significant than the willingness to be involved. What is always most important is your belief – in Stony Brook, our student-athletes, our department and what we can continue to build together. It’s time to win CAA championships, and your support will play a huge role in that effort!
Happy New Year! Let’s make 2023 a year to remember.
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