What of Milestones?


Joe Paterno recently won his 400th game

By: Jan Hathorn
Athletic Director

Milestones.  I’ve been thinking a lot about them lately.  Maybe it’s because I just recently celebrated my 50th birthday. Or maybe it’s because I’m officially eligible for such things as AARP and Lifetime Achievement Awards (who knew?!).  Or maybe it’s because we’ve celebrated several milestones on our coaching staff this fall: Wendy Orrison earning her 100th win at W&L; Neil Cunningham earning his 200th career win; Bryan Snyder earning his 300th win at W&L; and Frank Miriello as the football coach with the most wins in program history – 82 wins and counting.  Or maybe it’s the unimaginable 400 wins of Joe Paterno.

Which has gotten me to wondering – what exactly is a milestone?  What do milestones represent? The dictionary lists two definitions for the term milestone:

1. a stone pillar that shows the distance in miles to or from a place

2. a significant event in life, history, etc

When I see these definitions, I realize they both apply to the milestones that have been celebrated lately.   When someone reaches a significant event in their life, almost certainly there are pillars that mark the miles they have journeyed to get there.  (In my own life, these pillars ARE made of stone, since I am now officially OLD!) And these pillars, these markers, represent all kinds of events or happenings that created the miles someone has traveled.  I mean, the markers that appear along the path of someone’s coaching career definitely represent a whole lot of ups and downs, wins and losses, blood, sweat and tears along the way; the good, the bad and the ugly, if you will, of getting to those career numbers.  It’s not an easy road to travel, this coaching career thing.

One thing’s for sure: implicit in the definition of a milestone is longevity, which is why I have such great respect for coaches who achieve career numbers.  These are people who have been committed to their profession for a long time and have spent a great deal of their life’s time and effort to achieve remarkable things.  It speaks of a coach’s resiliency, dedication and passion… and maybe their mental state… as well as their love for their sport and the athletes they coach. And when you think about the pillars that appear on the path of these journeys, it’s hard not to respect them for all they’ve been through to get there because anyone who has ever been involved in athletics knows: the highs are so high and the lows are so low.

Most of our coaches would never brag to you about these achievements.  It’s not in their nature.  But I think it is only right that we honor you in this way. Heaven knows how hard you worked and what you’ve sacrificed to achieve this.

So, I offer my sincerest and heartiest congratulations to all of the coaches in our department who have realized these achievements. Thank you for what you have given to so many as you traveled this journey of many miles.


2 Responses to “What of Milestones?”

  1. Personal Coaching London Says:

    Reading this article raised up my spirit, feeling like I am part of their victory. I enjoy this article.

  2. John Nolan Says:

    Jan — Happy Birthday, youngster!! Classy and meaningful article! The program is really doing well. Saw the Catholic U game in DC and watched the progress of the H-S game on the computer as it was played. What a great team!! I couldn’t have been prouder of the quality of the play. Glad I wasn’t trying to make this team!! John

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