The David Archer Era of Cornell football officially started when he was named head coach in January. But for most people it really began when the Big Red beat Bucknell 45-13 in the season opener at Schoellkopf Field on September 21.
While Archer ’05 entered the game as the youngest head coach in Division I at 30 years old, he had plenty of reasons to feel comfortable on the sidelines. He was a three-year starter on the offensive line and a team captain as an undergrad. He had spent the previous six seasons as an assistant coach for the Big Red. And he enjoyed the role of instructor, having spent two years teaching at the Dr. William H. Horton School in Newark, New Jersey, in the Teach For America program before returning to the Hill in 2007.
Shortly after the Homecoming victory over Bucknell, we caught up with Archer and got his first impressions as the Big Red’s 27th head coach.
Cornell Alumni Magazine: What was it like walking onto Schoellkopf Field as the head coach for the first time?
David Archer: It was a very exciting and humbling feeling. It’s such an amazing university and so many great people have been involved with the football program over the years. I’m in love with Schoellkopf—it’s one of my favorite spots in the whole world.
CAM: What are your most important goals as head coach?
DA: I want to build a program that the University and the alumni are proud of, one that attracts high-level recruits from across the country and develops them as student-athletes. I want the players to take advantage of all the resources the University has to offer, create lifelong friendships, and have them always be as attached to Cornell as I have been. I’ve had a great time working with these players and a great time working with our staff. We’re all growing together, and I love every day.
CAM: When you came to Cornell, did you plan on becoming a coach?
DA: No, what I wanted to do is help people. I got an economics degree because I thought it would be marketable. During my senior year, I was pointed in the direction of Teach For America, and I spent two years teaching. I loved it. In my second year of teaching, I was also a volunteer coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University. While I loved helping fourth-grade and eighth-grade kids, I knew I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life, so I decided to give coaching a try.
CAM: When Kent Austin announced he was leaving Cornell, did you think there was a possibility you would take over the job?
DA: No, I didn’t, even though I wanted to. Before his resignation was officially announced, I got phone calls from a couple of players who asked me if I would be interested, but I wasn’t going to try to force myself into an interview if I wasn’t wanted. But some alumni told me they thought I should get the job; I told them if they felt that way, they should contact [athletic director] Andy Noel and let him know—and I think a lot of them did.
CAM: How much does it help taking over a team that has someone like Jeff Mathews ’14 at quarterback?
DA: Jeff is a really good player, but he’s even better off the field with his leadership, the example he sets, his investment in our younger players, and his selflessness. I really can’t say enough good things about Jeff Mathews.
CAM: Are you getting tired of being referred to as the youngest coach in Division I football?
DA: The only time that comes up is in interviews, and I take it more as a compliment to Cornell than anything else. I’m proud to say I’m the youngest head coach in the country, and that I am a product of Cornell University.
FLEET FEET Sprinter Bruno Hortelano-Roig ’13 established his credentials on the world stage this summer, winning the Spanish national championship in the 200 meters and beating Usain Bolt in a heat at the World Championships in Moscow. He broke his own school record and set a Spanish national record with a 20.47 clocking in Moscow. Hortelano-Roig was also a member of the Spanish 4×100 relay team that set a national record of 38.46 in the heats, although the unit missed the semifinals by 5/100 of a second.
MAT MEN The wrestling team has added a pair of alumni to its coaching staff. Mike Grey ’11 was named assistant coach after two seasons as a volunteer assistant. Grey was first-team all-Ivy all four years and won two Eastern titles while helping Cornell to two national runner-up finishes. His replacement as volunteer assistant will be Kyle Dake ’13, who became the first wrestler in NCAA history to win national titles at four different weight classes and is now training for a shot to wrestle in the 2016 Olympics.
TOP EXEC Shortly after announcing he would step down as commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig named Rob Manfred ’80 as MLB’s chief operating officer, the sport’s number-two post. Manfred joined MLB as executive vice president for labor relations and human resources in 1998; previously, he was a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he assisted with various baseball labor negotiations.
EN GARDE Five Big Red fencers were among the 60 members of a United States college team that competed in the third annual Korea–USA Elite Fencing Invitational on Jeju Island, South Korea, in August. Angelica Gangemi ’16 was Cornell’s top finisher, placing fifth in the women’s foil. April Whitney ’14 and Christine McIntosh ’14 posted top-15 finishes in the foil, while Olivia Weller ’15 was 11th in epee and Audrey Speer ’13 was 15th in the sabre.
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