Heading into the season, it seemed like the Bulldogs had little reason to be optimistic. Yale was coming off a disappointing 2004 campaign and were facing the unenviable task of replacing graduated stars with inexperienced freshmen. In short, the outlook wasn’t good. But ask anyone inside the Bulldog locker room and they will tell you that head coach Brian Tompkins never seemed the least bit worried.
Despite all the unfavorable predictions, Tompkins never doubted the potential of his team. And it is Tompkins who should be credited for turning that potential into amazing results, which is why he is the Coach of the Fall. Tompkins engineered a remarkable turnaround from last season, leading the Bulldogs to their first NCAA appearance since 1999 and their first Ivy League title since 1991.
The sign of a great coach is the ability to lead his team past obstacles, something the Bulldogs had a fair share of this season. Even when the young Elis faltered at the beginning with three consecutive 1-1 ties, the composed Tompkins refused to show any signs of concern. Tompkins, determined to let his players experience the requisite growing pains, kept faith in his players and continued to give big minutes to a talented but inexperienced freshmen class. Tompkins had to rely even more on his rookies when captain Shannon Brooks ’06 went down with a season-ending injury just six games into the season. But his unrelenting dedication to a team-oriented philosophy allowed the Bulldogs to rebound from such hardships and orchestrate a memorable 2005 season.