After an undefeated season in 2005, Coach Ed Hottle began his campaign to return to the NCAA ranks. With support from the Gallaudet administration, especially President-designate Jane K. Fernandes, the Bison will play their last season of club football in 2006, and then play a full NCAA slate of eight games in 2007.
"We are thrilled-the opportunity to return to NCAA play gives us extra incentive in our recruitment efforts. This will also boost campus morale and student spirit," said Athletic Director James DeStefano. "Without the support of the University, this would never have happened." "We are excited about our return to Division 3 play," said Hottle. "It takes a lot to make that jump, but we are in the right direction. We are a lot closer than we were last year-but we have a long way to go."
One of Dr. Fernandes' favorite sayings is, "It takes a village to raise a child," and this applies to the Gallaudet football program. According to Hottle, "It truly takes a community to build a program, and we have a lot of help here from the Gallaudet community." Recruitment is a key component of football programs nationwide, and in order to compete with other Division 3 programs, Gallaudet must jump into the fray. When asked for his perspective on the jump to Division 3 football, Hottle explained, "Most Division 3 teams carry a roster of 100-plus players, and we must work to build our team through recruiting. Recruiting is truly the biggest key to developing and maintaining a program. In addition, retention goes hand in hand with recruiting. We have and will continue to emphasize academics before athletics." Hottle emphasizes this-"Gallaudet football is about a cap and gown, not a helmet and shoulder pads."
The Bison kick off their 2006 season with a September 10 showdown against Frostburg State University at Hotchkiss Field at 1 p.m.