The football season is near and we are preparing for another year of coverage here on Panther Nation. It is a good time of the year to be a fan and we are entering 2013-14 excited for more at the apex of Middlebury sports history. The football team brings back one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in senior McCallum Foote, who will be supported by a group of talented but unproven offensive weapons. The evolving defense is likely to take another step forward after last year’s surprising success, led by sophomore Tim Patricia, the tackling machine in the middle of the linebacking corps. The basketball team remains a model of sustained excellence, looking to make the NCAA tournament for a seventh straight season after the departures of Nolan Thompson, Jake Wolfin, and Peter Lynch, the winningest class in school history. Joey Kizel’s senior year will feature his dash up the all-time scoring list, Dylan Sinnickson’s return to the hardwood, and the emergence of the young guys — sophomores Matt Daley and Henry Pendergast, as well as Matt St. Amour and the freshman class. It’s going to be fun.
There are a few big picture things to discuss in regard to the blog and we thought now would be a good time. First, we hope that we learned from last year and can build on our product and do a better job with our coverage in 2013-14. Some things worked really well and we hope to expand on those; we have prepared even more for this season, especially in terms of knowing all that we can about teams and players, Middlebury and NESCAC-wide. However, senior year brings with it a lot of other big commitments for Jeff, so Damon will be taking over the bulk of the writing here this year. He also will continue in his role as Middlebury Campus sports editor and WRMC Sports lead broadcaster, so make sure to check out all of his work as the season continues (try listening to our football and basketball broadcasts; we might not be polished speakers, but we work hard and know more than the other guys and it shows). Jeff will still write, and most of the work we publish here is collaborative to an extent already, but Damon is taking over the lion’s share. Finally, we are both graduating soon (Damon in February, Jeff in May), which means that beyond this year, the future of the blog is uncertain. If any of our readers know some potential contributors, please let us know (emails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com). It would be great to see the blog continue, and while we will undoubtedly be following the Panthers closely after this year, we will not have the access to games and people required to provide much of value.
Finally, thanks to everyone for reading and giving us feedback. We started the blog with low expectations and were amazed by the growth in interest over the course of a year. The momentum of support made us want to write more, and looking back, we realize it grew into quite a lively community — 71 posts, over 60,000 words, over 1,000 tweets, over 150 comments, and thousands of page views per month. And that was all thanks to word of mouth from our readers, because we didn’t do much to promote it ourselves. We appreciate it and hope we can do a good job covering the Panthers in 2013-14.
Jeff and Damon