Raeburn, Seniors Fire up Monon Chapel

by Howard W. Hewitt

November 13, 2008


Wabash College, nor its football team, need a pep talk to prepare for the Monon Bell or any other football game, Coach Erik Raeburn suggested during Thursday’s Monon Bell Chapel Talk.

The first-year coach joked about his public speaking abilities, or rather dislike for such things, and the motivation and toughness that makes him love the College.

"When I interviewed for this job the Bell game was one of the reasons I wanted to come here," he told a nearly packed Chapel. "But they didn’t tell me about this Monon Bell Chapel Talk."

He went on to explain he’s not a big "rah-rah" kind of guy. He said he doesn’t give those type of speeches to his football team, either. "I can’t give the big pep talk but that’s okay," he said, "because nobody at Wabash College needs a big pep talk."

He talked about arriving early in the morning this week for a film session to find a freshman, asleep, lying on the ground in the cold holding up the tradition of guarding the campus. "That guy," Raeburn said, "he didn’t need a pep talk."

He talked about the game’s importance to the alumni, team, students and "it’s important to me."

Raeburn was preceded to the podium by four seniors, per tradition.

Brock Graham got things started by urging the Wabash community to unite. "All of you had better be excited to walk over to their sideline and hoist that bell and bring it back to Wabash where it belongs," he said.

Defensive lineman Jared Lange started on a more serious note by saluting teammate Matt Kraft. Kraft lost his father back in August and had to leave school to aid his family. Lange talked about the team ending a day of practice and taking a four-hour bus ride to support Kraft at his father’s funeral.

Center Tony Nemieyer provided the most profound swipe at Saturday’s opponent. "This place isn’t like our friends to the south," he suggested. "They are satisfied with their 8-2 or whatever. They  complain they just can’t beat Trinity or Milsap because they’re just too good."

David Mann, a linebacker, gave a rousing close before Raeburn took the podium. "I want 800 students in the stands and to sound like 8,000. I want the other 8,000 people to sound like 80,000."

Senior Sphinx Club member and running back Adam Pilli acted as Club spokesman for Thursday’s Chapel.


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