Written by Elizabeth Murphy, Carleton Newsroom
Photo by Department of University Communications; Carleton Ravens women's basketball head coach Taffe Charles addresses the audience.
Carleton University basketball players, coaching staff, alumni, administrators and other guests gathered on March 28 to honour the history-making success of the Ravens men’s and women’s teams.
Attendees were treated to a breakfast buffet at Bakers Grill as Jennifer Brenning, director of Athletics, invited numerous speakers to the podium to applaud the athletes on their victorious seasons.
“Congratulations to both teams” said Chris Carruthers, chair of the Carleton Board of Governors. “The men’s team has done extremely well and the bronze for the women’s in Victoria is awesome.”
Carruthers spoke about the value of taking part in team sports as the student athletes begin growing their careers after university.
“What you’ve learned with your coaches and everything in your team sport will pay off for many, many years down the road.”
Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte expressed her thanks to the student athletes for both their dedication to their sport and their studies.
“I appreciate the hard work that every one of you does,” said Runte. “I know it is organization, team playing, excellence in athleticism – and it’s really hard to study at the same time.”
“I’m so proud of you all. Congratulations”
Suzanne Blanchard, vice-president (Students and Enrolment) also took to the podium to thank both teams on behalf of the university.
“I’m really proud and happy to call you all Ravens,” said Blanchard. “This is great and you’re really representing the university and are ambassadors for Carleton.”
She recapped the many successes of both teams, including the perfect regular season and the astounding feat of 13 national titles in 15 years for the men’s team, as well as the 22-game winning streak, first provincial banner and first U SPORTS national medal for the women’s team.
She commended the coaches and players who have poured so much time and effort into making this such a successful season, including Head Coach Dave Smart, who was awarded his eighth Stuart W. Aberdeen Coach of the Year award.
Blanchard closed her remarks by looking to the year ahead.
“We’ll take a rest, and then let’s do it again next season.”
To close the appreciation breakfast, both the men’s and women’s head coaches talked about the dedication of the players.
“You can’t win at the level that these two teams win at if you don’t have individuals who are committing to each other and committing to their sport and working above everybody else to get those results,” said Smart. “It just doesn’t happen. It’s hard work.”
After a program history-making season, women’s team Head Coach Charles Taffe was focused on the season ahead. Speculating on winning next year’s provincials, he joked that they would not touch the winning banner to assure their run at the national title.
“We’ve got to do it Dave’s way: don’t win the OUA and then win the championship.”