As proud parents of a Richmond Spider football player, the Spider Club has allowed us and our son, Kyle, to meet alumni, former student-athletes, parents, faculty, staff, and friends who share a passion for the continued growth of Spider Athletics. These newly formed relationships have greatly enriched our experiences at UR and many will undoubtedly last a lifetime.
Through the new Spider Athletics Parents Newsletter and serving as the volunteer football parent representatives, we hope to meet many more individuals and families who share our enthusiasm not only for Richmond football, but for all the athletic teams at UR.
We have great pride in knowing that our Spider Club membership helps the successful tradition of Richmond Athletics by providing our student-athletes with the training, equipment, and experience to compete at the highest levels.We are grateful for the positive impact this has had on Kyle, and truly believe that as the “Team Behind The Team,” We R UR!!!
Women's Cross Country Run of Excellence
Last October, the Women's Cross Country team won its second straight Atlantic 10 Championship and fourth in the last nine years. This run of dominance is due to many different factors, but as head men's cross country and assistant track and field coach Steve Taylor points out, it all starts with health.
"One of the keys to continued success for our student-athletes is healthy athletes," said coach Steve Taylor.
The Women's Cross Country team was able to attain a healthy season last fall when they captured their second consecutive A-10 title. Led by junior Kylie Regan, the Spiders had five runners in the top-18 of the race, all of whom finished within six spots of each other.
With consistent success comes high expectations. The coaching staff knows that success is not possible without continued advancement of resources for their student-athletes.
"Resources such as an anti-gravity treadmill and cross training devices like the Elliptigo and an additional NormaTec will directly help our athletes and aid in recovery," added Taylor.
Along with the aforementioned tools, the University also owns property that could be capitalized on to aid the cross country team as they move into the future.
"Continued improvements in the Richmond property off River Road as a training site would also be a huge help and benefit for both our cross country and track & field teams. Additional running trails could be added with relative ease. This area has so much potential for our program, and with additional support could become a facility we use more and more to provide relief from harder surfaces for our athletes."
With the continued success of the women's cross country program, there is much promise for the future. Finding ways to create more resources and opportunities is key to ensuring the winning continues and the overall development of the student-athletes is a top priority.
Maya Ozery - Director of Student-Athlete Leadership and Development
Hello Spider parents!In an ongoing effort to support our student-athletes’ development, the Athletics Department created the new role of Director of Student-Athlete Leadership and Development.After working in college athletics for 6 years within the state of Virginia, I was familiar with the unique experiences the University of Richmond offers, and I was fortunate to be selected to fill this role.The area of student-athlete development was previously shared among multiple individuals. The creation of the role reflects the Departments’ commitment to its student-athletes.I am writing to introduce myself while sharing an overview of our exciting new initiatives.
As you may already know, the University of Richmond offers its students exceptional opportunities, and we aim to build on our strengths by focusing on the unique needs of our student-athletes.Our comprehensive education program will focus on four pillars: our students’ health and well-being, professional development, contribution to the community, and a more formal development of their leadership skills.Our goal is for every student-athlete to have access to purposeful and inclusive programming during his/her matriculation as a student-athlete, while we value attention to individual needs.
First, we are excited about developing a leadership program that will begin in the fall 2017 semester and provide high quality leadership programming to our student-athletes. The leadership program has been a collaborative effort with coaches, faculty, and alumni, and is designed to immerse our students with various elements of leadership, while guiding them to develop their own leadership philosophies. We are proud of our student-athletes who aim to excel in everything they do. This program will be an exclusive opportunity to explore and strengthen leadership skills.Another opportunity for our students to explore leadership is through the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and I serve as this groups’ advisor.The committee meets monthly to share and discuss different ideas that affect student-athletes at the University of Richmond, and is comprised of representatives from each team.
Second, our student-athletes are engaged with the community in different ways.A few highlights include our men’s golf team spending the day volunteering with the MLK Day Family activities, men’s lacrosse hosting at-risk youth from Harlem Lacrosse for a day on campus, women’s soccer assisting Connor's Heroes – an organization that helps kids in the Richmond area who have cancer, and the football team hosting a campus-wide “Be the Match” bone marrow drive during the first week of classes.While we all recognize the time commitment of being a student-athlete, the eagerness of our student-athletes to grow while contributing to our community is inspiring.
Third, at this point in the spring semester our student-athletes are working hard to prepare their applications for study abroad trips, internship opportunities, and research projects, and with my new role, we are able to centralize our resources.
I look forward to supporting our student-athletes and hopefully meeting you all soon!
Swimming and Diving Program Continues Dominance
Richmond Swimming and Diving has proven to be a model program on the national scene for more than a decade now. On Saturday, February 18, the Spiders won their seventh-consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship and 15th in the last 16 years. Simply incredible.
The run of excellence that the swimming and diving team at Richmond has showcased is unprecedented. It starts from the top, with head coach Matt Barany, who was named the A-10 Women's Swimming Coach of the Year following the Spiders' championship season.
"This championship will be memorable for so many reasons," Barany said. "The resiliency of this group might be the most impressive take-away."
Because of this success, coach Barany recognizes that there is a target on his team's back, as other programs aim to match the success this group has realized year-after-year.
"Other teams are moving up on us," Barany said. "We’ll continue to look for ways to grow and get better."
At the end of the day, it's about culture, and you won't find one better than the swimming and diving team at the University of Richmond.
Spencer Percy - Assistant Director of Annual Giving / Spider Club
Dear Spider Parents,
My name is Spencer Percy and I am in my first year with the Spider Club. I’m loving it here at Richmond and have realized very quickly how special of a place this is!
The Spider Club is the entity of Spider athletics that helps raise funds for our student-athletes, and through our donors’ generous support, our teams receive the very best opportunities and resources. If you’re not already a Spider Club member, then please consider joining the “Team Behind The Team”.
I am reaching out to all parents of Richmond student-athletes to announce the launching of a “Spider Athletics Parent Newsletter”. The idea behind this newsletter is to provide a communication tool across the broad landscape of Spider student-athlete parents. There is always exciting news to share about the success of each respective team, projects that the Spider Club want parents to be aware of, and connecting Spider student-athlete parents is of the utmost importance to us. This newsletter will provide a platform for parents to share, learn and cultivate new ways to make Spider student-athlete experiences even better!
My hope is that each sport will soon have a parent who can serve as a representative and liaison between all other Spider sports. Those interested in serving in this role, please contact me. Each sport is certainly welcome to have more than one representative – in fact, it’s encouraged.
Please share any feedback, and again, if you’re interested in being a parent representative, please let me know as soon as possible.
Thanks in advance for your consideration and for your support of Spider Athletics!
11th Annual Student-Athlete Thank-A-Thon / Week of Thanks to Take Place in April
Each spring, the student-athletes at Richmond spend a week thanking the donors who make their experiences possible.
It's a week long campaign of thanks that consists of calls, emails, social media presence, and web stories defining the importance of the philanthropic mission for Spider athletics. Educating the student-athletes on what that support means is vital.
Every Richmond NCAA member team has an opportunity to make calls to donors to the Spider Athletic Fund during the week. The opportunity for the student-athletes to speak with alumni, parents, and friends of Spider athletics is a special one. It illuminates what makes those folks passionate about the University of Richmond and why they elect to support athletics.
"Thank-a-Thon was an opportunity to thank the donors who help advance Spider athletics and provide us with opportunities we wouldn't be able to have otherwise, said current sophomore women's golfer Sophie DiPetrillo. "For example, the men's and women's golf team traveled to Ireland this past season for a tournament."
No student-athlete enjoyed the experience of Thank-a-Thon more than Sophie DiPetrillo. Her experience with the week of thanks is a perfect example of what Richmond athletics wishes for every student-athlete to gain.
"A thank you goes a long way. The donors were very grateful that I called to thank them," added DiPetrillo. "I ended up having great conversations about Spider athletics and specifically about the golf team. Calling the donors bridges the gap between student-athletes and them. Thank-a-Thon and the week of thanks creates a community bond."
Having the opportunity to play a collegiate sport is something very special, and it's rare. Educating student-athletes on how their experience was made possible should always be high priority, and when the student-athletes grasp the idea of generosity from donors they've likely never met, things begin to come full circle.
Ben Edwards is a 2014 graduate of Richmond and was a standout on the football field for the Spiders. Not only was Edwards a superb student-athlete on and off the field, but he's now a committed young alumnus that gives back to the University and program that afforded him so many opportunities.
"Being a Richmond student-athlete helped create opportunities for me that I dreamed of as a kid, including an amazing college experience," said Edwards. "I wouldn't be where I am today without the football program and the support that was given to the team throughout those four years. I am forever thankful for the people that helped make my college career one that I will never forget. As a young alumnus, I am more than happy to give back to Richmond athletics so that current and future student-athletes will hopefully have an even better experience than the one I had."
It's individuals like Sophie DiPetrillo and Ben Edwards who bring the Thank-A-Thon concept full circle. Spiders Athletics is excited for another great Week of Thanks, coming this April 3-7.
Baseball Alumni and Parents Rally to Raise Funds for Pitt Field Renovation
Renovated Pitt Field Rendering
As part of "Elevate, the Campaign for Spider Athletics," which was launched in late 2016, the Richmond athletics department revealed plans for renovations to numerous athletic facilities here on campus. Pitt Field, the home for Spiders baseball since 1975, is overdue for a face-lift, and a group of Spider alumni have stepped up to help make that happen.
"I can't put a price on the lifelong friendships I built with my teammates and fellow alumni both on and off the field," said Brian Alas, '01 baseball alum and a key affinity group leader in the fundraising effort. "The Spider Baseball program not only deserves this, but it also needs this to keep pace in the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics. I'm thankful for the opportunity to give back to a program that has given me so much."
A group of eleven Spider baseball alumni have volunteered their time to be affinity group leaders and rally their teammates to support the Pitt Field Project in any way that they can.
The University invested in a new playing surface, surrounding fence and batter's eye in 2015, proving it's commitment to the program and improvements to the facility. The next phase of the project includes grandstands, a new team locker room, press box, scoreboard, coaching offices, and more.
"I was excited for the opportunity to assist with the fundraising efforts for Spider Baseball as a part of the “Elevate” campaign," said '96 baseball alum, ex-major league player and affinity group leader, Mark Budzinski. "As a member of the UR baseball team from 1991-1995, I formed some lifelong friendships and learned a great deal about the importance of teamwork which I have applied in my career moving forward. I want other student-athletes to have the opportunity to experience what it means to be a Richmond Spider and compete at the highest level, which is why I got involved. As an alumni group, we feel that it is of utmost importance to continue to improve upon the updates to Pitt Field and provide a facility in which the players can refine their skills to be competitive at the Division I level and represent the pride we have for Spider baseball, both in Richmond and nationally."
The five-million-dollar goal for Pitt Field is a lofty one, but the eleven dedicated baseball alumni are determined to Elevate the future of Richmond baseball.