Football Program Makes Academic Strides During Fall Semester

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By Garry Bowman
Director of Athletic Communications

The Golden Gopher football program showed signs of steady improvement on the field during the 2011 season, ending the year with several strong performances, including victories over bowl-bound squads Iowa and Illinois to go with a thrilling near-miss at Legends Division champion Michigan State.

But the program's improvements didn't end once the team stepped off the gridiron. The Gophers also produced as a team in the classroom during the fall semester, recording the squad's highest term grade point average in at least seven years.

Head coach Jerry Kill talked frequently during the fall about building the Gopher football program on concrete. And to a large extent that starts with academics.

A total of 68 Gophers posted GPAs over 3.0 during the fall of 2011, resulting in a team GPA of 3.01. It was not the only positive academic measuring stick turned in by the program. The strong performance also boosted the team's overall cumulative GPA and improved the program's Academic Progress Report (APR) numbers, a key academic measuring stick of the NCAA.

Monday, Coach Kill rewarded the McNamara Academic Center (MAC) staff and tutors with a luncheon for all their hard work.

"We have a lot of people that work in the academic area to help all of our student-athletes," Kill said. "They do a lot of work training our young men's minds and we really appreciate all the hard work they do."

Lynn Holleran, Director of the MAC, said that it meant a lot to the staff for coach Kill show his appreciation for their hard work.

"Coach Kill asked if there was a way he could thank our tutors for all their hard work, not just with the football players, but with all the programs," said Holleran. "We thought putting on a lunch was the best way to do that. We had a really successful academic semester, not just with football, but with student-athletes overall. A lot of that success is because of the hard work of (the MAC staff). So we thought it was a great way to thank them."

The Gophers are back to work in the classroom this week with the start of spring classes. The team has also begun its offseason conditioning program to prepare for spring drills, which get under way toward the end of March.

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Dear Coach Kill, Staff, Players, Educators, Mentors and Tutors,

Each of you should be proud of yourselves for the hard work and dedication you put into this program. You will here daily people always stating how proud of you they are. Whether it be a parent, teacher, fan, etc. You really need to look in the mirror and face reality. You did a tremendous job so far, keep up the great work. I am a fan of people like you who face adversity and step up to the challenge. Being a Special Education Teacher for student's with emotional, behavior, and learning disabilities, stories like this make a difference. This article proves the judgment of your character and the "Belief Without Evidence". It's stated, "Rome wasn't built in a day, brick by brick." I hope you are starting to vision greatness on the horizon; the program has the right people on the forefront. I look forward to reading more GREAT things in the future to come!!!

Reach Your Full Potential,

Brent Luebke
Two Rivers High School Head Football Coach

This is truly great news! Congratulations all the way around!


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