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Odom Powers Astana Past Parma

November 29, 2016

On Sunday, Rod Odom ’09 helped lead BC Astana to an 82-65 victory over Russia’s Parma.

The former Bear recorded 11 points and 3 rebounds in 21 minutes of work to help Astana get back over the .500 line at 4-3. Odom also registered the play of the game when he threw down a one-handed dunk over 7-footer Aleksandr Vinnik.

Odom and Astana take the floor again on December 4th vs. Tsmoki-Minsk.


BC Astana

Etienne Signs with Indiana

November 18, 2016

On Wednesday night Jyles Etienne officially closed his college recruitment by signing a National Letter of Intent to high jump at Indiana University.

Indiana boasts one of the finest track and field programs in the country. The Hoosiers have earned 4 Team National Championships, 47 individual National Championships (5 in the high jump), 50 Big 10 Conference team championships, 546 Big 10 individual event titles, 14 Olympics medals (7 Gold), and 464 All-American recognitions in their storied history.

When asked why he chose Indiana, here is what Jyles had to say:

I chose Indiana because of the mix of good academics, athletics, and campus life. I want to follow in the footsteps Derek Drouin and have a great impact there as a high jumper. I feel that Coach [Mike] Erb really displayed characteristics as a coach that would help me get to the next level. Lastly, the reputation of the school spoke for itself through friends that go there, and in the Big 10. I’m excited to continue my athletic and academic career as a Hoosier!

Jyles will make an immediate impact when he arrives in Bloomington. With his senior year of outdoor track still ahead of him, his personal record of 6’11” would have placed him 2nd on last year’s Hoosier team, just a shade behind Paul Galas’ 6’11.75″ (2.13m). Galas finished 6th at the Big 10 Outdoor Championships last year with a height of 6-9.5, behind a winning height of 7-1.75. Indiana finished 10th out of 12 teams in the Big 10 Outdoor Championships last spring.

Indiana’s Assistant Track & Field coach Mike Erb had this to say about Jyles’ decision to join the Hoosiers:

We couldn’t be more excited for Jyles to join the Hoosier Track and Field family. From the first time we saw Jyles compete, there was no doubt that he had the tools to become an elite high jumper. His size was immediately impressive, and we were even more intrigued when we learned just how new he was to the event. Jyles is a welcome addition and will surely add to the storied history of high level jumpers at Indiana.

The Bahamian had a sensational outdoor season last year as he won the CARIFTA Games (6’9.5″), New York Relays (6’11” – meet record), Loucks Games (6’6″), Suffolk Division Championship (6’10” – meet record), Suffolk County Championship (6’9″ – tied meet record), New York State Federation Championship (6’10”), and the Bahamas Junior Nationals (6’10.75″). He also finished runner-up at the Penn Relays (6’9″ – Top American) and the New Balance Outdoor Nationals (6’10.25″).

He finished the season as the 6th best junior in America with a season’s best leap of 6’11”. That height would have placed him 13th at the NCAA Division I Championships and already leaves him just outside of Indiana’s all-time Top 10 jumps.

This spring Jyles will attempt to defend his numerous state and county crowns and reset the 1979 Suffolk County record of 7’1″.



On This Day In History | 1968

November 16, 2016
Shay 1968 B XC

Shay in 1968

On this day 48 years ago, Richie Shay won the prestigious Dudley Hare Memorial Run, hosted by Ossining High School.

The Dudley Hare run was a pseudo-State Championship for the Brook, whose participation in the Ivy League left them out of the public school postseason competitions. But Ossining’s innovative coach, John Covert, sought to create a race that would put the best of the best on one course. Here is a description of the event from a website celebrating Coach Covert’s career:

Not content with winning state championships in both Class A and B divisions during his years at Ossining, John Covert, created a super-sized cross-country event to be held annually in Ossining, the Dudley Hare Memorial Run. Why? He knew that it was not enough to be the best across the line in a “sectional” race, where only the top public schools in each section competed. What those state championship runs left out were the top running schools from New York City, and the top parochial schools in the state. He felt that to be the best you had to compete against all of the best in one super cross-country meet. So began the Dudley Hare Memorial Run.

Stony Brook was a regular participant at the Dudley Hare Memorial throughout the 1960s. They even took away the team title in 1966 by a 39-40 margin over Ossining, who was ranked the #1 cross country team in America that season by Track and Field News. The Blue & White won the individual title four years in a row thanks to Peter Randall (1963 & 1964) and Dan Stevens (1965 & 1966). Richie Shay added his name to that list to cap a memorable ’68 season.

Despite two early injuries to key scorers, Stevens led the Brook to an undefeated dual meet season in 1968, including victories over Cheshire and Choate. In the St. John’s Invitational he handed Rice High School’s Denis Fikes his first loss in two years by taking the individual crown. By the time Fikes graduated he would hold the New York State records in the one, two, and three mile runs before going on to a sensational career at the University of Pennsylvania.

One week later Shay would become the third Brooker to win the Eastern States Championship and then added the Ivy League crown to his trophy case while helping the Brook win a 14th consecutive team title. Then, against the best New York had to offer, Shay was victorious in Ossining’s annual run.


On This Day In History | 1958

November 15, 2016
XC 1958

1958 | The Challengers: Weller, Hunter, McCallum, Coane, Lingle, Searby & Barmonde

On this day 58 years ago, the cross country team secured it’s 4th consecutive Ivy League Championship and 9th overall in program history. The team’s string of titles would reach 15 before losing the crown in 1970.

Before the ’58 season, the visionary Coach Marvin Goldberg split his squad into two teams which he called the “Challengers” and the “Defenders.”  The Challengers raced against college teams and participated in large invitationals while the Defenders safeguarded our position in the Ivy League.

The Challengers finished 5-1 with victories over Huntington, Long Island Agricultural College, Columbia, Huntington (again), and Seton Hall. The only loss was perpetrated by the West Point Plebes. They also fared well in several distinguished invitationals, finishing 10th in the NYU Open, 5th in the St. John’s Open, and 5th in the Eastern States Championship where Lingle took 2nd overall.

Meanwhile, the Defenders did not allow the reputation of the Blue and White to tarnish despite losing the services of the best runners to the Challenger team. The Defenders finished 4-1 allowing only LaSalle out of their grasp.


IPSL Ivy League

Brookers Run Against NY’s Best at State Meet

November 14, 2016

On Saturday four Bears competed in the New York State Cross Country Championships in Chenango Valley, NY.

On the girls’ side Miranda Harrigan took 38th place out of 116 runners in a time of 20:36. Cianka Haynes finished 66th in 22:21.

In the boys’ race Louis Wang finished 79th out of 122 runners in a time of 18:55. Justin Moreno followed with an 89th place finish in 19:21.


Bear Paw Thumbnail

Liotine Nearly Leads SBU Back from Brink

November 14, 2016


I could be losing 38-0 and I’m still going to try to run through your face.

~ Donnie Liotine to Newsday


The Stony Brook University football team faced a 27-0 second half deficit against Maine on Saturday. The game should have been over, except for the fact that Donnie Liotine ’13 was still on the field.

The former Bear had his best performance of the season on Saturday, rushing for 94 yards and two touchdowns to help the Seawolves surge back to within a score before ultimately falling to the Black Bears.

The Seawolves’ rally started when Liotine scored on a 1-yard touchdown with 4:19 left in the 3rd quarter. The Stony Brook defense followed with a huge pick-six to bring the Brook to within 27-14. Liotine struck again on the next possession, churning for a 50-yard touchdown run with 11:09 left in the fourth quarter that closed the gap to 27-21. Unfortunately, they would be the last points the Seawolves could muster as they were eliminated form the playoff picture.

After leading the team in rushing last season, Liotine has seen few touches at running back and has primarily been used on special teams. Saturday’s performance once again validated his importance to the Seawolves as Maine shut down the Brook’s two primary backs.

Liotine will close his junior season with the Seawolves in the Empire Clash at Albany on Saturday. Liotine led the Seawolves to victory in that game a season ago with 203 yards and a touchdown.




Memories are Made of This: FEG the Athlete and the Artist

November 14, 2016

Frank E. Gaebelein

Here is the seventh installment of recollections from D. Bruce Lockerbie.


In April 1957, when Clyde S. Kilby, the Wheaton College chair of the English Department, told me that he had recommended me to his friend Frank E. Gaebelein at The Stony Brook School, I assumed that I would be a candidate to teach and coach, as I was doing that year at Wheaton College. While my initial conversation with FEG spoke of common literary interests, we soon focused on the sport of track. I learned that—although decades apart—we had shared the same coach at New York University, where he had run on the one-mile relay team at the Penn Relays. He told me that, early in the School’s history, he challenged students to race him up Chapman Parkway, until his wife laid down the law! He also remarked on how his training as a runner had contributed to his disciplined exercise as an active mountaineer. I realized that I had met a man of remarkably diverse gifts.

But then I discovered that he also wanted to learn about my musical interests and experience. In contrast to his own, mine were woefully amateurish.

His father Arno C. Gaebelein was an accomplished pianist, and FEG had begun picking out tunes at the  keyboard when still just a toddler at the Gaebelein home in Westchester County. Formal lessons soon followed. One of his teachers was the virtuoso Clarence Adler, himself a student of a protege of Johannes Brahms. I used to joke that, by apostolic succession, when you shook hands with FEG, you could extend backward in time to Brahms! FEG had enrolled at New York University, thinking of a career as a pianist, and as accompanist to the NYU choral group he provided piano solos during their concerts. His major in English there and as a graduate student at Harvard served only as a prudent backup in case music critics’ reviews weren’t favorable. An offer from the Stony Brook Assembly, in the spring of 1921, to take on the role of founding Headmaster of a boys’ school on Long Island called for a definitive decision—and thereafter he forfeited the dream of becoming a concert pianist.

But, of course, he never gave up music or playing the piano. He wrote and lectured extensively about the art of music and became renowned for promoting a biblical aesthetic to counter some of the theories of Francis Schaffer and Hans Rookmaaker. When I was preparing the posthumous collection of FEG’s essays The Christian, the Arts, and Truth, his daughter Gretchen Gaebelein Hull produced a trove of manuscripts about aesthetics, too many to include in that book. Over his 41 years as Headmaster, students became his Tuesday evening audience for mini-recitals in the living room at Grosvenor House—followed by the reading of a detective story and Dorothy Medd Gaebelein’s desserts.  Occasionally he would perform in public, for instance playing on a special radio broadcast on WQXR or a concerto with a local symphony orchestra.

FEG transferred his personal aesthetics to his educational philosophy. He had nothing but contempt for most other schools’ instruction in music history or “music de-preciation,” as he called it. He preferred exposing teenage boys to live performances by distinguished artists. In the decades before the State University of New York at Stony Brook built its campus and concert venues, Carson Auditorium had been one of the largest meeting spaces on Long Island and housed community events such as a high-level concert series—about which more below. The only fee charged by FEG was the free attendance of all students—required!—at such events. In addition to external sponsorship, FEG used his New York City connections to arrange for musicians to give a “dry-run” performance on campus, just before a Manhattan recital. Again, student attendance was mandatory.

He took a special interest in students with musical gifts, the most prominent of whom was a Cuban prodigy named Jorge Bolet, Class of 1934. FEG had welcomed and made arrangements for him to study both at Stony Brook and at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. As Bolet rose to international fame, he repaid FEG by rehearsing his impending New York City programs in Carson Auditorium. Thus the Brookers of that era adapted a Big Band slogan, “Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye” into “Sit and sweat with Jorge Bolet.”

My point is, Dr. Gaebelein was a bona fide musician, both artist and teacher.  But on at least one musical occasion, he received a pair of lessons himself. The local community concert series mentioned above brought to Carson Auditorium a sound that in no way resembled anything ever heard at the meetings of the Stony Brook Assembly! A jazz quartet had been booked, headed by Teddy Wilson, the paramount jazz pianist of his day, with Arvell Shaw (bass), Buck Clayton (trumpet), and Jo Jones (drums). Frank Gaebelein had no clue as to who they were or how famous in their sphere of popular music. He stood with me at the rear of Carson Auditorium, at one point shaking his head and saying, “I’m like Rip Van Winkle waking up to a sound I’ve never heard before.” But the real highlight of the evening—especially to the boys—was the appearance of the “torch” singer Joya Sherrill in a bright red dress so tight she had to be lifted up the steps to the stage. Once there, she entertained with her hit song by Duke Ellington, “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” followed by “New York’s My Home,” from Gordon Jenkins’ “Manhattan Tower”—to which she inserted a line or two of her own: “Now Stony Brook’s a fine town, it’s got a fine school, and a Headmaster who’s real cool!”

The howls of glee from the Brookers in that audience drove FEG out the door of Carson!  But having already invited the guest musicians to Grosvenor House for—undoubtedly—their first post-concert reception serving only a non-alcoholic punch, FEG proved to be a gracious host. By the time, I arrived at his home, FEG was seated with Teddy Wilson on the piano bench, being instructed in how to riff on a hymn tune—very much as Bach did repeatedly in his cantatas.

By contrast, my musicianship was sorely limited. I was a Baptist preacher’s son with a total of six weeks of piano lessons before our family moved (the lessons were never resumed) and a boy soprano singing solos in church and school choirs, including the New York All-City High School Chorus, led by Peter J. Wilhousky. I’d also sung in a high school quartet that qualified for Paul Whiteman’s national radio talent show and another gospel quartet made up of four preachers’ kids who traveled as “The Four PK’s.” One Easter Sunday, when my father’s church organist/choir director suddenly quit five minutes before the morning service began, Dad drafted me to lead the choir. I continued in that role through four years at NYU, where I also sang in the University Chorale, and when I met FEG in 1957, I was leading a church choir in nearby Elmhurst, Illinois. Along the way, I’d learned to play an instrument called a vibraphone (four mallets, repertoire from Bach to boogie). This was the extent of my musical credentials, mostly gained by learning from the excellent conductors for whom I’d sung.

But upon receiving my appointment at Stony Brook—which included responsibility for conducting “The King’s Men,” I was stunned to learn that my predecessor was the noted baritone Frank Boggs from Baylor University, who had been invited to sing in command performance for Queen Elizabeth II on the evening before her coronation. Thank God, during the eight years I led, I had superb accompanists: Bob Merz, then teaching Latin, and Ruth Bell—wife of Robert Bell ’49, whose dramatic life-raft experience is told in our book In Peril on the Sea.

FEG was also helpful. At one of the evening meals during the week of early football and cross-country practice, the Headmaster introduced the assembled athletes to the new members of the faculty—Doug Burton, Don Jones, Mal Tjornholm, Jerry Gill, and me. When he came to my name, he made two points: He mentioned that both he and I had been coached by the same man at NYU, and he referred to our mutual interest in music. Then he introduced me to offer an invitation to those present to join the choir. I remember closing my appeal with the words, “Real men sing.”  It worked, because that 1957-58 version of “The King’s Men” included most of the School’s best athletes—Toby Walker, Al Malachuk, Dave Skillen, and Robin Lingle, among them.

Alumni from those years mention often mention two memories, also attributable to Frank Gaebelein the musician. Somehow he had contact with the organist who performed from the balcony in Grand Central Station for rush-hour passengers. He knew that choirs were added during Christmas and Easter seasons and urged me to offer the voices of “The King’s Men.” We were invited to sing in the huge vault of that iconic terminal. To practice filling that empty space with our voices, I took the choir outside Carson Auditorium to all-but-scream into the air. A few days after one of our several annual performances, I received a note written on the stationery of the Yale Club, just around the corner. It was an expression of appreciation and encouragement from Fenno Heath, then conductor of the Yale University Glee Club. He had been passing through the station, paused to listen, then wrote inviting any of the Stony Brook singers to join his choir!

The second memory is of our school-wide singing at Commencement Exercises—another of FEG’s ideas. Some readers will recall that, winter-through-spring, weekly Wednesday chapel services were devoted to learning a few more measures of some choral selection, dividing the students and faculty into four-part harmony. Here is how Dr. Gaebelein—vocally tone-deaf himself!—described us in his essay “Music in Christian Educucation.”

Each year the whole school of two hundred plus the faculty is organized for part singing. Through weekly rehearsals we learn some great music and sing it at public occasions… We have learned choruses from the Messiah, a “Gloria” from one of Mozart’s masses, some Bach, and this year we are working on a chorus from Haydn’s “Creation.” It is refreshing to hear adolescent boys humming or singing Mozart or Handel as they walk about the campus.

Then he added, “But one speaks of these things with humility, realizing how much should be done.”

Yes, indeed!  But FEG would be blessed to know that today, under the guiding hand of Dustin Ramirez—latest successor to Robert Davis and Peter Randall and Don Fonseca and others—music at a high level of excellence thrives at The Stony Brook School.



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