Colgate Football Begins New Era Under Coach Dakosty

Colgate Football began its season this week on September 4 with a game against Boston College. That being said, preparations for the season obviously began long before this past Saturday – over 75 potential players showed up to Hamilton on July 7 for summer workouts, and training camp began in the first week of August. 

Even in August, this season felt a little different than in past years. After all, concerns about the pandemic and how it might affect the team are still present, albeit much less concerning than they were in 2020. And, more importantly, for the first time since 2014, the Colgate Raiders will not have Dan Hunt as their head coach on the sideline. After relieving Coach Hunt of his duties in late May, Colgate appointed Coach Stan Dakosty to serve as head coach for the upcoming season. 

Coach Dakosty has plenty of experience with the program as a defensive back for the Raiders in the early 2000s, and has coached in various positions from the sideline since 2007. When asked about the transition to becoming head coach, and whether his past experience with the team helped, Coach Dakosty said, “I think the familiarity is a positive. It was a difficult transition in the sense that Coach Hunt was one of my closest friends and he was a great mentor, but at the same time he really prepared me for this.”

Starting center Sam Diehl, who is a fifth year senior on the team, when asked about the coaching transition, admitted that originally he was apprehensive, but almost immediately Coach Dakosty proved he was ready for the position. “It was a little bit nerve racking, but Coach certainly stepped up. He immediately stepped into that leadership role and ran with it.” Diehl also talked a bit about what training camp was like under his new coach, saying, “August training camp was the biggest grind of my preseason career. But that grind was the best thing that could’ve happened to us. We got closer as a team, we got better as a team, and now we’re feeling strong and we’re feeling prepared.” Senior defensive back J.T. Hower echoed his teammate’s sentiments on Dakosty. “He’s brought a great competitive intensity to the team,” said Hower. “Everyone is excited for the upcoming season with him leading the way.”

Both Diehl and Coach Dakosty were excited and optimistic about the upcoming season. They agreed that team morale was high right now, every player worked hard and showed commitment over the past few months, and that should translate on the field. “Right now, a couple days away from our first game, you look back at the last couple months and I think if you ask if we worked hard, the answer is yes,” Coach Dakosty said. “Now it’s just about showing up on Saturday.” 

As for expectations for the upcoming season, Diehl was pretty explicit, saying, “Expectation wise, we want to win the Patriot League championship.” He went on to say that the 2021 Colgate roster has every capability of equaling the achievements of their success during the 2018 season, where the team went 10-2, and won the Patriot League and a game in the FCS playoffs. Coach Dakosty also said that his hope is to win the championship. Colgate has a tradition of doing well in the Patriot League, but ultimately that is not what the focus should be right now. He wants to take the season week by week, and said, “Each week is about us, it’s not about our opponents. If we take care of our business, if we take care of our assignments, if we take care of our focus, then the outcomes will take care of themselves.” 

After dropping their first game against Boston College, the Raiders will look to rebound and win their first game at home next week against Stony Brook, followed by two more home games against William and Mary and Lehigh.