SANTA CLARA, Calif. - A smile and a thank you goes a long way! In a surprise visit on Wednesday morning, eight Bronco student-athletes came to Santa Clara's monthly athletic department to do just that - thank the entire department for everything they did to help them throughout their careers on and off the fields and courts as they prepared to take final exams.
Each month Bronco Athletic Director Dan Coonan brings the entire department together for an hour meeting on Wednesday. The monthly meetings include updates from head coaches, administrators and also campus personnel.
Coonan saw the June meeting as a perfect opportunity to bring in a few of the Bronco seniors after he had senior exit meetings. "They talked a lot in the meetings about how much they appreciated everything we had done for them. They also talked about how this was such a family for them," said Coonan. "I thought it would be a great time to bring in the seniors the week of graduation to express their gratitude directly to the coaches and staff. We work to build a family atmosphere here at Santa Clara and it really shined through on Wednesday morning. It was a terrific moment and a few tears were shed by the student-athletes and Bronco staff as well."
Those who came to thank the administration were: Robbie Reid (cross country), Michael Wishart (men's water polo), Bianca Henninger (women's soccer), Paul Twining (baseball), Nicolas Vinel (men's tennis), Tanya Schmidt (women's volleyball), Kacie Wagner (women's tennis) and Alyssa Shoji (women's basketball).
Each spoke from the heart with a lot of passion about what the Bronco experience meant to them. A few teared up, including Henninger as she talked about how she committed to Santa Clara and knew she wanted to play for the Broncos when she was nine years old. Shoji also shed a few tears talking about her coaches and how they supported her through thick and thin.
Wishart might have had the best sense of humor. After thanking BBF Director Rusty Weekes for helping them with scholarship money and Zoe Kranzler for helping him make a tough decision on his major his freshman year, he thanked his men's water coach, Keith Wilbur. And this time instead of calling him Coach Wilbur, as he has for the last four or five years, Wishart said "Coach, well I guess I can call you Keith now ..." The entire crowd roared with laughter.