Champions! Special group of student-athletes launches March

March 13, 2018

I am thrilled to begin my chat with a group of champions on my mind. I was fortunate to be in attendance at Quicken Loans Arena as the 50th women’s basketball team in Central Michigan history claimed its fourth MAC Tournament championship.

On the ride home I reflected on what made our week so special. First was our fans. The hundreds of Chippewa supporters that made the journey to Cleveland truly made a difference in three very close games.

Our coaching staff is comprised of exceptional leaders who take their cues from one of the finest coaches I’ve been around – Coach Sue Guevera. Coach G’s record speaks for itself in terms of demanding excellence on the court, but her impact in our community as an ambassador for CMU truly sets her apart.

But what undoubtedly made this such a special championship was the true team effort put forth by our student-athletes. Over the course of 12 quarters, so many different women put their stamp on this championship. This team expected to be champions, and that’s exactly how they will enter the NCAA Tournament.

As we celebrate one group of champions, I implore you to join me in supporting our conference-leading gymnastics team in the MAC Championships at McGuirk Arena on Saturday, March 24. There’s nothing like winning a title on your home floor, and I sincerely hope you’ll come out and support the women who make up this storied program.

On the men’s side, I’m excited to turn my attention back to Cleveland this week as our wrestling team sends seven wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. I extend my congratulations to all seven with a special nod to our heavyweight Matt Stencel, who took home an individual MAC championship in front of the home crowd at McGuirk Arena.

Finally, with a strong finish in March, the men’s basketball team earned an invitation to the College Insider’s Tournament. I applaud our team for seizing the opportunity and claiming a first-round victory against a good IPFW team to notch the program’s first postseason win since 2003. Congrats, guys!

As the leader of our department, I am charged with helping to establish an identity for Central Michigan Athletics. It’s probably evident from the performances that I’ve highlighted in this chat and in previous entries that I want this department to be about excellence.

One example of this is the aspirational Chippewa Champions Center project. We have seen individuals and companies alike recognize the extraordinary nature of this campaign, and it’s been so gratifying to see our supporters rise to meet the challenge. In the weeks ahead we’ll share some of their stories.

Excellence at CMU will be a holistic proposition. The great teams I’ve been part of seemed to have one common denominator: They’re comprised of people that hold themselves accountable for achieving excellence. We’re learning to do this every day, and I’m excited for you to experience the kind of success we will come to expect at this university.

Fire up Chips!

Michael Alford Signature

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