I asked him first about what he saw as the future membership and alignment of what I referred to (tongue planted firmly in cheek) as "The Big Eleven".
He said that he did not see anything happening in the near future, and that the conference would be fine as is, and that no expansion would take place without a school that was the right fit. He did mention N** D** specifically, and said it would be good for Northwestern if another private school with high academic standards joined the BT, but acknowledged that ND's recently-signed TV contract precluded that.
I also asked him about the future of NU Men's Soccer (A sport in which my son excels at age 14, providing absolute proof that genetics isn't everything :-)--parochial interests revailed here.), and he said he saw encouraging signs that we are about to break through there to a winning formula.
He is very encouraged about the future of men's hoops under Coach Carmody, and think that the addition of the transfer from Duke (Michael Thompson) could spur more recruiting from the Chicagoland area.
The AD also sees great hope for this year's grid squad, with so many returning seniors and the experience of The Motor City Bowl under their belt.
He spent a lot of time extolling the successes we have had recently on the distaff side, pointing with pride to the success of our Women's Teams in sports across the board, including Lacrosse, Soccer and Tennis.
Mark revealed the tougher part of his job, in describing how he difficult it was for him to replace our Women's Hoops Coach with Coach Combs, whom he brought over from Colgate.
He also displayed a deft touch discussing the ramifications of the Wheeler Tragedy and the ongoing lawsuit. He praised the football team for overcoming all of the difficulties attendant to Rashidi's loss and the unrelenting spotlight and scrutiny it is under as a result.
One of the highlights was a passionate speech by Jewell Pickens, the mother of Jonathan, our senior LB, praising the team for moving forward from the Wheeler Tragedy and sticking together in the face of adversity.
All in all, a fantastic alumni event--perhaps the best Sports Night we ever had in NYC, and I include Gary B.'s visits and Rick Taylor's the year of the Rose Bowl.
Kudos to Willie Weinbaum, who, along with Sandy Sachs, former FB letterman in the Fifties (the "Grand Old Man" of the NU Club of NY) and Keech Combe, daughter of Chris and heiress to the Combe tradition at NU (including the new indoor tennis center), organized the event.
Our Thanks to Paul Levinson for this report - Paul is very involved with the NU Club in New York, along with the unofficial media network in the Big Apple, and is one of our NU Watchers in New York .
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