Proof positive that NESCAC is not your normal, everyday college athletic conference can be found very easily. Try these for team nicknames: the Colby White Mules, the Connecticut College Camels, the Trinity Bantams, the Tufts Jumbos, the Williams Purple Cows and the Bowdoin Polar Bears.
More proof positive: Says Harry Sheehy, basketball coach at Williams, "All my game is, is five guys in underwear trying to throw a rubber ball through an orange ring. Sometimes it goes in. Sometimes it doesn't. That's it. Basically, I don't believe that if a player shows up at 4:30 p.m. for a 4 p.m. practice that that will cause us to lose."
Lose? It happens constantly. No problem. In life, everyone loses a lot. At Connecticut College, men's lacrosse coach Fran Shields says his 14-year record is 89-85—"nothing to write home about." Gaudiani considers lacrosse a resounding success. Nobody can think of a coach's being fired for losing in NESCAC.
Is the NESCAC way the wave of the future? Probably not. Robert Kirkpatrick, a retired vice president of Wesleyan. shakes his head. "I'm skeptical of the ability of large institutions to control the abuses." he says. "They just can't seem to control the mentality of winning that comes from alumni." Back at Amherst. Gerety says. "There are so few of us and so many of them."
Yet NESCAC keeps tilting at the windmills. Or are those windmills? "Could it be," suggests Kirkpatrick, "that Division I-A is the voice in the wilderness and we are reality?"