With three straight Great Lakes Valley Conference titles and two playoff runs in his first five seasons with the University of Indianapolis, Head Football Coach Bob Bartolomeo is heading into his sixth season as coach with the same high expectations.
“It’s a program thing. The guys who were once the young ones are now the lead players, and have bought into the program. They saw how the previous guys worked; how much time, energy and dedication they put into their work. Hopefully that is something the program can continue. Recruiting plays a huge part into the success. The most important is the continuity of our staff. I have been very fortunate to have the same coaches since I started as head coach, and that is huge, especially at this level. All of the assistants I have are very capable of going to bigger and better universities, but they’ve bought in too.”
Redshirt senior quarterback Connor Barthel credits the overall attitude of each individual to the program’s success.
“The attitude of the program is a key element,” Barthel said. “One thing Coach Bart [Bartolomeo] always harps on is ‘finish’ and that is one thing every successful team, no matter what sport, has to have in the back of their minds. It doesn’t matter the amount of talent you have, if you don’t put the work in and get out to get everything done and finish the right way, you’re never going to be very successful. And for all the four years I’ve been here, coach has made sure every player understands that it’s not how you start, but how you finish. You have to finish every rep, every practice, every game.”
Barthel has a little more than a season and a half under his belt as starting quarterback, and in that time has been named All-GLVC quarterback twice and currently holds the records for the team’s single-game, season and career passing completion percentage. According to Barthel, the experience he has gives him more assurance in his position .
“Just like any sport, experience level is a big part of raising your confidence. The more experience you have, the more comfortable you’ll feel in the backfield, the more comfortable you will feel with the rest of your teammates. So it just helps that I have another season of being able to read different coverages,” Barthel said.
The 2015 roster shows that there are only eight seniors this year. However, Bartolomeo said that the senior leaders are a key element to how far the team will go.
“Senior leaders are where it all starts,” Bartolomeo said. “They know it already – that it is their football time, and that we will go as far as the seniors take us. They have to play their best football and to their best ability. They have the time invested and they have to be the ones that lead. ”
At the end of July, UIndy ranked first in the GLVC preseason coaches poll for the fourth time in a row. Barthel said one of the team’s goals is to stay on top.
“Our first goal is to win conference again, for the fourth year in a row, then make it to the playoffs and make a run in the playoffs as well,” Barthel said.
Greyhound football will open at Key Stadium against Saginaw Valley State University on Thursday, Sept. 3. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.