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Sports Roundup: Perseverance Pays Off for Cramer '04; Jessiman '06 Drafted by NY Rangers; New Coaches Named

Posted 10/14/03

Casey Cramer '04
Casey Cramer '04

A coach in North Carolina once cut Michael Jordan, thinking he wasn't quite good enough for high school basketball. That coach probably wishes he could have one back. A lot of coaches probably feel the same way about Dartmouth senior tight end Casey Cramer.

Cramer entered the 2003 season with 127 receptions, 1,782 yards, and 15 touchdowns at Dartmouth, ranking in the Big Green's top five in every category. Yet he almost didn't get the opportunity to play at all.

"I sent out game tapes to over 50 colleges, but there wasn't much response," says Cramer. The only Division I-AA schools to recruit Cramer were Lafayette, Harvard, and Dartmouth.

"There were some D-II and D-III schools, but there weren't a whole lot of options," Cramer recalls. "All the colleges...said I was too small or too slow to play, especially in the Ivy League."

He briefly considered not playing any football in college, but his passion for the game was too much to overcome. "I decided it would be crazy not to play," he says.

He persevered, and today it's safe to say Cramer has defied those who didn't believe in him. Last season, he earned first team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association and the Sports Network, and second team from the Associated Press.

He was also named first team All-Ivy and an ECAC I-AA all star.

Contrary to his expectations three years ago, Cramer came into this season as one of the top players in I-AA. He was named to a couple of pre-season All-America teams. But he insists the recognition doesn't mean anything unless followed with accomplishments.

"The recognition is...just basically saying that you could be good," he says. "What would mean more is if I won some postseason awards because those say that you've had a good season."

He is proud he has been named a captain of the 2003 Big Green. "It's a little different in that I am kind of in the spotlight now," he says. "The guys really look up to you and see how you act on and off the field."

Last season Cramer finished eighth in the nation, with 72 catches, and became the fourth Dartmouth player to surpass 1,000 yards receiving in a season (1,017). Another season like that could have the NFL knocking at Cramer's door.

"It would be any kid's dream to play in the NFL, but time will tell, and it depends on my senior year," he says. "I'm not going to bank my life on it."

NY Rangers Draft Jessiman
Hugh Jessiman '06
Hugh Jessiman '06

Dartmouth sophomore forward Hugh Jessiman became the first Big Green player selected in the first round of the NHL Draft, going to the New York Rangers with the 12th overall pick. Jessiman was the highest ECAC player drafted since 1983 and one of only four ECAC competitors to be chosen in the first round.

"These are the guys I grew up watching as a kid," he says. "Now I have the opportunity to be in the organization and, hopefully, play for them a few years down the road. It's pretty incredible, and it's something that I'm going to have to work pretty hard to achieve."

The 6'5", 200 lb. right winger, led Dartmouth with 23 goals and was second on the team, with 47 points in 34 games. He was the 2002-03 rookie of the year in both the ECAC and the Ivy League.

Wilson Named Men's LAX Coach
Bill Wilson
Bill Wilson

Bill Wilson, Cornell's top assistant coach and defensive coordinator, is the new head coach of Dartmouth's men's lacrosse program. He helped coach Cornell to a share of the 2003 Ivy title, and Princeton to the 1996 Ivy and NCAA Championships.

Wilson began his coaching career at Princeton in 1995 as an assistant coach before joining Hofstra in 1996 as the top assistant coach and defensive/recruiting coordinator. He was instrumental in Hofstra's impressive 1997-2001 run when the Flying Dutchmen made four trips in five years to the NCAA tournament, reaching the quarterfinals in 1998 and 2000. He recruited Doug Shanahan, the Hofstra midfielder who won the 2001 Tewaaraton Trophy as the nation's top collegiate player. Wilson recruited a total of 10 players who earned All-America recognition.

Wilson replaces Rick Sowell, who resigned this past summer to become the men's lacrosse coach at St. John's.

Hudak to Lead Women's Hockey

Mark Hudak

Mark Hudak, who helped direct Dartmouth women's hockey to two trips to the NCAA Frozen Four, has been promoted to head coach of the Big Green program.

Hudak joined Dartmouth's athletic staff as assistant coach in 1998. He has served as Dartmouth's associate head coach for women's hockey for the past two seasons. A 1989 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, Hudak played four years of varsity hockey for the Cadets and was a commissioned field artillery officer in the U.S. Army from 1989 to 1992.

By Matt Dougherty

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