Saturday, January 9, 2016

Guest Columnist: Gannon Assistant AD Dan Teliski

In the comments section of the previous post, "Bob" wrote: You are talking about an administration who when confronted by an alumnus complaining on how the athletic program was doing commented with "Why are you getting all excited we are only a division ll program?"

In response, Gannon Assistant Director of Athletics for Media Relations Dan Teliski sent me this email Saturday morning. I didn't want his thoughts to be buried among the comments from games that took place several days ago, so I'm posting his complete email here as a guest column.


Good morning Jim,

I hope all is well. As you know, I am not one to participate in blogs with so many other responsibilities that I have. However, someone brought to my attention a recent comment made regarding how our athletics department isn’t doing well. I felt the need to set the record straight.

Unfortunately, our men’s basketball team is suffering through a subpar season. However, to say our athletics department is not performing well because of one team’s subpar season is a misguided and uneducated statement. First, we are currently 37th out of over 300 NCAA Division II schools in the Learfield Directors’ Cup which determines the best athletics department in the country.

In the last 1 ½ years …

  1. Women’s Soccer was No. 1 in the country
  2. Women’s Volleyball advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, making its seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance
  3. Football won the PSAC Western Division
  4. Women’s Cross Country had an individual finish second at the PSAC Championships
  5. Men’s Golf had a PSAC champion and made its third consecutive NCAA Tournament team appearance
  6. Men’s Basketball won the PSAC Championship and recorded its third straight 20-win season
  7. Women’s Basketball played in its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament with its fourth straight 20-win season
  8. Softball advanced to the PSAC Softball Championship Game and played in the NCAA Tournament
  9. Men’s Water Polo won the CWPA Division II Championship
  10. Acrobatics and Tumbling advanced to the National Elite Eight
  11. Competitive Cheer finished sixth nationally
  12. The University built the only indoor turfed facility in the state among non-DI schools. It also constructed one of the top wrestling rooms that is comparable to big-time NCAA Division I programs, as well as new state-of-the-art weight rooms, human performance labs, etc.
  13. Finished eighth out of 18 teams in the PSAC Dixon Trophy standings, including No. 1 among the three Erie County schools.
  14. Sixteen of Gannon’s 20 programs qualified for the postseason, including 12 of its 16 PSAC sports
  15. Ten Gannon teams participated in the national postseason
  16. Last year’s athletic honors included 57 conference players of the week, 73 all-conference selections, 32 all-region selections and seven All-Americans.
  17. Gannon had student-athletes sign professional contracts in baseball, football and basketball.
  18. Baseball had a pitcher drafted in the 19th round of the MLB Draft.

Within our community …

  1. Our student-athletes performed 3,758 service hours during the 2014-15 academic year.
  2. Our student-athletes raised nearly $20,000 for local charities during the 2014-15 academic year.

And academically …

  1. Gannon’s 515 student-athletes produced an overall 3.25 grade point average during the 2015 fall semester.
  2. Nearly 66 percent of the students playing sports at Gannon achieved a 3.0 GPA or better. Thirty-two student-athletes recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA during the fall semester.
  3. The 11 women’s intercollegiate teams produced a combined 3.37 GPA. In fact, all 11 teams achieved a team GPA of 2.91 or better.
  4. The nine men’s intercollegiate teams produced a combined 3.12 GPA. All nine men's programs had a GPA of 2.86 or better.
  5. A school-record 200 Gannon student-athletes (we had 405 student-athletes last year) were named PSAC Scholar-Athletes (1,228 named PSAC Scholar-Athletes during Gannon’s seven years in the PSAC)
  6. 49 percent of Gannon’s student-athletes (we had 405 student-athletes last year) were named PSAC Scholar-Athletes, the highest percentage among all PSAC Schools. Gannon had the top percentage six times in the last seven years, including each of the last three.

I could go on and on. But I believe I made my point. I would like to stress that we believe our athletics department is actually doing very well despite a subpar men’s basketball season. We are very proud of our 515 student-athletes and believe we are producing quality citizens who are successful in the world upon graduation.

Thank you for your time and thank you everyone who supports Gannon Athletics. Despite bumps in the road, we will continue to stress to be the best in all we do. We won’t always be the best in everything we do, but that remains our goal. As our latest marketing department campaign says … #GUbelieve. Go Knights!

Dan Teliski
Gannon Assistant Director of Athletics for Media Relations


  1. The comment that was made was not a reflection on how the athletes or coaches were doing it was in the context of where athletics fit in the priorities in Gannon's over all plan for the future. This comment was made a couple of years ago.

    1. so why would you list it then if it was a couple of years ago? That was before the new AD was in place...

  2. After reading Dan's letter apparently this was just one administrator's opinion and not the general opinion and the school is providing all the resources that athletic program needs to succeed. I know in the past the coaches were preforming miracles with the resources available.

  3. Very good update, Dan.

    ...And to think some fans believe that the men's basketball team has been circling the drain the last few years......

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  5. You know, #453, I try to be respectful of you when we disagree. I don't know why you can't do the same. Yes, some fans really do believe this team has been circling the drain the last few years. So what. We should all be able to state our opinions here without you firing back with snide, arrogant comments about what we think.

    1. All good.

      Let's just get the next game.

    2. Wow such hostility. I don't see anywhere in 453's comment where there was anything snide or arrogant. He liked SID Teliski's update. Then he stated a fact "...some fans believe that the men's basketball team has been circling the drain the last few years..." From reading comments, this is a fact as many fans have said, in various ways, that the team has been going downhill over the past few years.

      453 mentioned no names... he made a general, factual statement.

  6. Nice job, Dan. Couldn't agree more. The totality of Gannon's athletic program has been extremely impressive. I think that we got a little behind the other local schools during the latter part of last decade, but the program has come like gangbusters in the 2010's. Kudos to the administrators and coaches -- it's truly a team effort.

  7. The school could certainly do more to promote the team and the games, in order to get a bigger student and community turnout.

    1. Agree.
      GU needs to pump up the games.

  8. Grassroots stuff, for starters. (discussed in this space a few years ago.)

    Back in the day, the late Kevin Quinn, a Finance Officer at Gannon, would come to Saturday MYAA games at McDowell's South Gym and dump a handful of general admission tickets on scorer's table for a bunch of us, ages ranging from 9 to 17. It was the start of a multi-decade experience for some.

    It wouldn't take much of an effort to have the same thing done at grade school gyms across the city for Saturday evening's game (and,the games beyond).

  9. I agree with #453- get the younger kids to come to the game and they'll bring their parents or friends for years to come.

    Gannon basketball has been a community institution for a very long time, and I think it's a shame just to accept its decline due to the Otters, BayHawks, etc. There's still a niche for college basketball in the community. There may not be the 3,000 screaming fans filling the aisles but even bringing back the attendance levels of the 90's and early 2000's would provide better energy than today.

    This isn't entirely on the coaching staff either; Winning helps but its not the ultimate answer. Contests, drawings, and giveaways for students will get them in the door. Finding some ways to make the arena more fan friendly and college student friendly will help too. More game advertisement. It's those little, creative things that will make a difference in the long run.

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  11. 1. have youth teams come play a "mini game" at half time... kids get in free, parents have to pay (even reduce it to a special event fee of like $2 or $3... it's not breaking the bank for parents and they're not paying $5 or $6 to come watch their kids). Otters do this often.
    2. any youth wearing their basketball organization's uniform/shirt gets in free (have a small voucher and they need to turn that in the game they go... to make sure people aren't doing it all season)
    3.give different organizations a night that they can come as a team and get pictures with the players, get autographs, get a team picture with the team, let them ball boy, have a special student announcer to announce the entrance of the team, or the lineup..

    all simple things... makes a child's day and guess what? "mommy, daddy... I want to go back and watch those guys"