Is Wright Responsible for Football Woes?

Many have sought to pin blame for Dartmouth’s recent athletic problems, especially with the football program, on Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg. Despite his 2000 letter dismissing the necessity of the football program, the problems may stem not from his policies but from those of his superiors.

Review Editor Emeritus J. Lawrence Scholer ’04 suggests that the football team’s difficulties began long after Dean Furstenberg arrived at Dartmouth in 1990. Indeed, the recent glory days of Indians football correspond with his arrival: from 1990 to 1997, quarterback Jay Fiedler ’94 and others garnered a 58-19-3 record.

It is since the 1998 campaign, the first under President James Wright, that the Indians have struggled, compiling only 16 wins in those seven seasons. During his tenure, President Wright has overseen football coach John Lyons’ dismissal, the grudging reinstatement of the swimming and diving teams only after a public relations fiasco and, most embarassingly, the hiring of an an athletics director with a falsified resume. And that’s only since 2002.

Such problems are hard to pin on Dean Furstenberg, the admissions director who recruited Dartmouth’s first undefeated football team since 1970.