Why I Love PE….


Neil Cunningham

Neil Cunningham

By: Neil Cunningham
Head Women’s Soccer Coach
Assistant Athletic Director
Director of Physical Education

As the Director of Physical Education (PE)  I think it is fair to say that I honestly love teaching PE and so do my colleagues. It gives us all an opportunity to engage students other than our athletes.  The experience is always rewarding.   To me, there is nothing more complimentary than a student who finishes the class and continues to play the sport in their own time.

I know as students you discuss across campus which professors to take. Who is the best Politics professor? Who grades easier? Who has the best teaching style? So I thought I would give you some valuable insight into the top 10 PE classes you absolutely must try to take either for credit or audit before you graduate this great school.

1. Badminton:  Where else could you have the Head Football coach teach you how to play Badminton? Do you think Charlie Weiss at Notre Dame was teaching Badminton this morning? I know what you are thinking….maybe he should. Take Badminton with Coach Miriello but be warned he is extremely competitive and does not like to lose, not even in class. If you win you will be writing 20 page papers the rest of the semester so have a heart, let the guy win. We are spoiled for choice here because if that class does not work with your schedule you can take Coach Stickley’s class and be “hollered” at in an enthusiastic manner. Not what you want after a long night but you will be entertained and be a lot more alert after class. You will love Coach Stick’s  teaching style.

2. Mountain Biking: Take advantage of Coach Piranian’s knowledge of Rockbridge County with this unbelievable opportunity to see amazing trails while getting fit at the same time. Coach Piranian is an alum who has been teaching here for 34 years. Get your first “Road Rash” when you bite it coming down Telegraph Hill cry your first tears when you cannot pedal anymore while your instructor is still going strong.. A class not to be missed.

3. Tennis: Take your pick here. The modern laid back approach of Coach Detwiler where you will learn all the basic fundamentals of Tennis in a light hearted way. Coach Detwiler will  also teach you how to hit a tennis ball at someone on the footbridge. In stark contrast you can be taught by General Franke who firmly believes that fitness is very important. It’s not uncommon for class to begin with 500 push ups and a few laps. However, I think he did win a national championship, so maybe it works.

4. Aerobic Running: I know what you are thinking here: Are you mad! I must admit that just the title of this class can make some people pull a muscle. However “Running with the Hoeys” will breathe new life into that out of shape young body. If you can get on a training program and enjoy running now it will be so much easier than starting from scratch after your first 6 months in that cubicle that awaits you after graduation. Lexington has so many great trails.   What are you waiting for? Lace up the sneakers and take a running class with the Hoey’s. You know the Hoey’s are serious as they have a daughter named Chase!.

5. Weight Training: Learn how to use a gym properly. Washington and Lee has an amazing fitness center so why not take advantage early in your college life and be a regular user. What better way to keep up that New Year’s resolution than to take Coach Colliton’s or Coach McCabe’s class. Not only will they teach you the basic lifts and help you develop a work out program but they will also make sure you leave class with abs of steel. They have the best core workouts.  Who needs 6 or 8 minute abs when you can do it for 50 minutes in class?. No excuses, its class, where else do you have to be?

6. Squash: Coach Tucker can teach Squash …period. Not only will you learn the skills and techniques of the game and how to play but you will also be taught the science behind each shot. You will leave class with the best understanding of the skills, history of the game, and all the knowledge you can absorb. I guarantee you will continue to play long after class is completed. Coach Tucker will give you a passion for the sport. You should know that you have no chance of beating him in class….he is too good.

7. Volleyball: (Outdoor) When this class is offered outdoors it fills up fast. Students have images of Beach Volleyball and playing in Board shorts and bikinis. Even when its pointed out that they play on grass and have to keep their shirts on the class remains full. This is largely due to the excellent instruction of Coach Snyder who creates the perfect environment for students to learn about the game and enjoy playing. A popular class, so sign up early.

8. Any class offered by James Dick: Scuba, Fly Fishing, Rock Climbing, Kayaking. Take one or take them all. These classes are outstanding and “James Dick is one cool guy” (quote from more than 2 students, so it must be fact) A unique opportunity to once again sample all the natural beauty of Lexington and Rockbridge County and receive PE credit to boot.

9. Fundamental Swimming: Each year Washington and Lee first year students complete the swim test.  I want to thank the administration for continuing this practice when some schools seem to think it is a waste of time. Last year, Washington and Lee enrolled 20 students who could not swim. Our swimming staff do an amazing job of teaching these students not only how to swim but to conquer their fear of the water. It’s truly amazing to see someone go through this class and see the smile on their face when they complete the test and the class.

10. Golf: If you don’t play  Golf, what are you waiting for? You will have plenty of opportunities to play later in life.  If you future boss asks you to play – it won’t be cool to refuse.  Get some lessons now! Coach Smith is the man to help you develop that sweet swing.  It is no longer cool after graduation to just dominate the 19th hole.


4 Responses to “Why I Love PE….”

  1. George Berger '87 Says:

    This is a completely cool post, and I, for one, wish I could come back to campus just to take most of these classes…ones that weren’t offered back in the mid-late 80’s. Of course, I’d be happy as a clam to come back to campus for another four full years!

    Keep this kind of thing coming!

  2. McCabe Says:

    Great blog Neil….Thanks for the props!

  3. rockclimbing Says:

    I want to subscribe to your feed but I can not seem to find where.

  4. climbing holds Says:

    thanks for all the information. have a good day and stay on the rocks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: