Letter to the Editor: Gym and coach worth Rider pride

I am writing in reply to a letter to the editor in the April 3 edition of The Rider News from Craig J. Peterson ’77. Mr. Peterson said he was “outraged” and “rolling in disgust” over the fact that basketball coach Tommy Dempsey did not instruct his players to foul at the end of regulation in the overtime loss to Niagara in the MAAC semifinals. If Mr. Peterson had read the post-game stories in the newspapers or on GoBroncs.com, he would have read that the instructions to foul were given and carried out, but the call was not made. Here is an excerpt from GoBroncs.com on March 8.

“Niagara’s First Team All-MAAC guard, Tyrone Lewis, banked a 30-foot three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to send the game into overtime. Prior to that shot, the Broncs had held Lewis, the 2007 MAAC tournament MVP, to 10 points on two of 20 shooting. ‘When it got down to four seconds we tried to foul him before he could shoot the three but it wasn’t called. It hurts because we did such a great job defensively on him all night. He shot contested threes (three for 11 including the banked shot) all night long. We really guarded tonight,’ Dempsey said.”

As far as Mr. Peterson’s comments about “that dump of a gymnasium” (Alumni Gym) and his request to “build a gym Rider grads can be proud of,” he should be urging fellow alums to donate more to the university so there could be a new facility, not urging them to “withhold contributions until Dempsey is fired.” I wouldn’t count on Coach Dempsey being fired any time soon, since he has led the Broncs to a Rider-record 58 wins over the last three seasons and was named both the MAAC and the Metropolitan (NY/NJ) Basketball Writers’ Coach of the Year in 2008.

Mr. Peterson went on to say how the only thing Alumni Gym was ever good for was concerts. He must have missed the 1993 and 1994 Northeast Conference Championship games on ESPN live from Alumni Gym, or the nationally televised win over Saint Peter’s in the Broncs’ Zoo in 2008. In fact, Rider has won 22 of the last 26 games in Alumni Gym (.846) and 127 of the last 168 (.755), so “the dump” has been pretty good to the Broncs since Mr. Peterson graduated. Alumni Gym has also been the site of nationally ranked wrestling, with such teams as Nebraska, Iowa State, Purdue, Missouri and Lehigh competing at Rider over just the last few years.

So I say to Mr. Peterson, you were incorrect in your assumption that Rider was not instructed to foul, you were misguided in telling alums not to donate and you were flat out wrong when saying that the only thing Alumni Gym is good for is concerts.
Bud Focht
Sports Information Director

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