December 22, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Dec. 22, 2011

12th Monarchs,

From all of us at Old Dominion football we would like to wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. We are hopeful you find the New Year to be the best year of your life. We are living the dream as a football program these past three years and look forward to more of the same in 2012.

As I look back on 2011, I think about the 13 Saturdays we spent together at S.B. Ballard Stadium and other campuses as well, a 10-3 overall record, a No. 9 national ranking, our first playoff appearance, and making it to the round of 16 in the NCAA playoffs. Words cannot describe the gratitude we all feel within our program towards the 12th Monarchs. You have made this a special season for Old Dominion football.

The upcoming New Year will bring new challenges for our team. We realize we will be viewed differently in 2012 by the other programs in the CAA, as well as the teams across the country. We know we have raised the bar on expectations for our program. As I told our team in our final meeting before the winter break, that is exactly how we want it. Nothing worth achieving in life should be done without a challenge. We will embrace that challenge in 2012.

As I review our grades from the fall semester, I am pleased to report some outstanding accomplishments by our Monarchs. Thirteen student-athletes earned Dean's List grades in the fall of 2011. Ronnie Cameron graduated on December 17th with his MBA as a member of the Dean's List. Thomas DeMarco will graduate in May with his MBA and was also a Dean's List member. We had 30 student-athletes achieve a 3.0 or better GPA for the fall. Not only did these student-athletes do well on the football field, they also did well in the classroom.

I am very proud of their accomplishments and the people they are working hard to become off the football field. I am also very impressed by our Administration and Faculty that take the time to work with our student-athlete to help them reach their goals as people and students. We will work harder in the spring semester with the goal of all our student-athletes making the Dean's List. As I repeatedly tell our players, anything in life worth doing is all about being the best you can be and making a great presentation everyday!

Our student-athletes will return from their winter break on Sunday, January 8th. We will start the academic semester on Monday January 9th. We will also start our eight-week conditioning program on that day with the goal of becoming bigger, faster, and stronger. Spring football practice starts in March and we will have some tremendous competition for starting positions during our practices. Your Football Monarchs have some unfinished business in 2012. We look forward to the challenges that the New Year will provide.

Thank you all for how you have embraced the Old Dominion football program. We think about you often and how you make all of our coaches and student-athletes feel when we take the field on fall Saturdays. We look forward to that feeling on September 1st, 2012 when we open our season at home against Duquesne!

Aim High,

- Coach Wilder