To imagine the University of Minnesota without a Track and Field program disheartens me to the core. The word that comes immediately to mind when I reflect back to when I went through the program in the late 1980’s with Coach Griak is FAMILY. I knew when Coach stepped into my house just outside of Minneapolis on a recruiting visit that this would be my home for the next phase of my life. As so many know or have heard, this legendary father figure made everyone feel as if they were the most important person to him. The genuine care and mutual respect was greater than anyone could know. The rest of the family, the teammates, were brothers who could always be depended on. The shared experiences - challenges, success, failures - created bonds that last throughout the years. Everyone deserves this.

The word family takes on an extra special meaning for me. I have the honor and privilege of having two sons on the current team. They have decided to give their heart and soul to this program only to have the rug surprisingly and shortsightedly pulled out from beneath them. The process in which this has been done makes me think of anything but the word family. To be sure, they have bonded with their teammates and direct coaches, but they have been treated as just a number, with little regard from the athletic department. They are resilient and strong. They will succeed. But to think of what they are going through hurts me to the core.

To think that the University is taking away a historic program of 130 years that houses so many Minnesotans like my sons and others from the nation's most popular extracurricular activity disheartens me.

To think that the University is taking away this massively successful program that just had 14 NCAA All-Americans this past indoor season and provides so many opportunities for students of all backgrounds to live out their dreams disheartens me.

To think that many of the decision-makers in this process did not have the privilege to know Coach Griak and how he created and defined years of family traditions that left a true legacy disheartens me.

To think that the University, my University, the home to my family, is prioritizing facilities over people disheartens me.

There may be many stages of grief one goes through when one loses their family, but I know I will never get to the acceptance stage of this loss.