Slate has a fun article on the Christian basketball players that make up Athletes in Action. Why do readers of EphBlog care? Because Director of Athletics Harry Sheehy ’75 is a former AIA star.

AIA’s signature halftime and post-game prayers typically included personal statements from players about drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and how they found the Lord. Rle Nichols (that’s his real name), who won more than 400 games as an AIA coach in the 1970s and 1980s, says less religiously inclined crowds often threw things or read ostentatiously as they waited out the sermons. “Oh yeah, you’d see the newspapers go up,” Nichols remembers. Harry Sheehy, Athletes in Action’s all-time leading scorer, says Northern crowds were the toughest to inspire. When AIA played Ontario’s Laurentian University, the school’s French-Canadian explorer mascot keeled over just as Sheehy wrapped up his halftime testimonial. It wasn’t because of the power of his message–Sheehy could smell the mascot’s boozy breath from half court.

In many ways, Sheehy has exemplified the athlete/scholar ideal that many Ephs aspire to in his career at Williams. Besides having a wildly successful 20+ years as mens basketball coach, he has written a useful book on coaching for part-timers like me.

Harry Sheehy, or someone like him, should be the commencement speaker for 2005. Unlike the embarassment that was last year, he would give a speech that is original to the occasion and heart-felt in its delivery.

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