Columbia University Ultimate Frisbee Team
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Ultimate Frisbee, sometimes abbreviated Ultimate, is an intercollegiate club sport, represented at our fair university by the Columbia University Ultimate Frisbee Team. The sport is unique in that it has no referees and one of the founding principals is the "spirit of the game" requires a special level of sportsmanship (or sportspersonship). Columbia fields both a men's team, Uptown Local, and a women's team, NYPD. This page discusses the history of the sport's early years at Columbia. For current information about the teams visit their club sports pages.
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Find out about the women's team NYPD.
- The Columbia University Ultimate Frisbee Team was founded by David "Buddha" Meyer in the fall of 1974. Buddha was a graduate of Columbia High School in Orange, New Jersey, where the game of Ultimate originated in 1968. Many of Buddha's high school classmates had founded or were running other college teams on the East Coast, including Bob Evans at Princeton, Dave Leiwant at Yale and Jon (JC) Cohn at Cornell. The team's first shirt was a copy of the Columbia High School shirt stating Columbia Ultimate Frisbee in Columbia blue above concentric circles (supposed to be a Frisbee) on a white shirt. In contrast, the Columbia High School shirt had black lettering and said C.H.S. Varsity Frisbee. The sport at this time used a Master Frisbee (165Gs had not yet been invented), and the field was 60 yards long with 30 yard end zones. Games were usually two 24 minute halves, with time stopped after goals and for out-of bounds. The stalling count was 15 seconds.
- David "Buddha" Meyer, takes junior year abroad and Larry Horlick and Jeff Birnbaum captain the team for the 1975-1976 academic year. Raymond Tang was one of the steady players. The lefty freshman from Huntington, Ken Gary joined the team in the fall and recruited sophomores Jerry "Young" McManus, Mike Forlenza and Bob Jarrett for the spring season (and many to come). Despite the infusion of new blood, the team's record remains untarnished by victory.
- David "Buddha" Meyer, a senior, returns from London School of Economics & is captain of the team.
- The team won its first game at Yale on September __, 1976. This was also Steve Kane [and Chris Schmidt's] first game. A coincidence - I think not.
The Fall 1976 Record (2-2, excluding 2 scrimmages w/ Bronx Science & 1 with Stuyvesant, all Ws) Fri 9/17/76 vs Bronx Science on South Field W (scrimmage) Sat 9/18/76 at Princeton L Sat __/__/76 at Yale 21-20 W (KG thinks it was 22-21) Sun 10/24/76 vs County College of Morris at Central Park 18-14 W Sun __/__/76 at Webb 15-10 L Called due to darkness
- For the spring 1977 season, Budddha recruits not only Rutgers transfer Mark Silverschotz, but also John Anthony, a Columbia graduate student and free-style partner of free styler Krae van Sickel; Peter Bloeme, the then reigning Frisbee World Champion (his signature is on the 165G series if discs) and a graduate of Bronx High School of Science; and Mark Danna, a well known "free-styler" living in NYC (and also the author of "Frisbee Players Handbook", which was a round book sold in a disc) to join the Columbia squad.
- The team discovered its potential in its second game of the season when Buddha taught the team how to play a zone on the subway ride up to Baker Field & the team narrowly lost 25-24 to Cornell, one of the top teams in the country (Cornell had Jon "JC" Cohn and Jim Herrick, both of whom are in the Ultimate Hall of Fame, as well as Dan Weiss and Paul Brunner).
- That season's Columbia team consisted of several "athletes" (certainly athletes by Ultimate's then standard of "athletic"), including refugees from Columbia's other sports programs, including Jerry McManus (baseball) and Bob Jarrett and Michael Forlenza (lightweight football), Steve Kane, a self-acknowledged, but nonetheless excellent, goal hanger, running around to get open for Buddha, Bloeme, John Anthony & Ken Gary to throw to. Buddha had the world's finest wrist-flip airbounce (not a typo) and Bloeme, as reigning Frisbee World Champion, had pinpoint accuracy & amazing distance. It wasn't until several years later that Peter Bloeme realized that others could run around and catch discs better than Kane, Jarrett and McManus; so Bloeme switched sports from Ultimate to become a trainer and showman for frisbee-catching dogs.
- A typical play would have a Bloeme throw-off that pinned the other team in the corner by their goal line (this was before the "brick" rule); Columbia would then apply its zone (often a "force side") and upon a turnover Columbia would score, often with Buddha throwing an air-bounce wrist flip (that is not a typo) to someone in the end zone.
- The team qualified for the 1977 East Coast Championship in April 1977. In its first single elimination game, Columbia lost to Penn State, the eventual East Coast champion. Some Penn State views of the game and Buddha is here, about 1/3 down
The Spring 1977 Record (8-4, including play-off) Sat 03/05/77 vs Glassboro at Central Park 28-13 L Sat 03/26/77 vs Cornell at Baker Field 25-24 L Sun 03/27/77 vs U New Haven at South Field 42-8 W Sat 04/02/77 vs RPI at Baker Field 27-14 W (very cold) Sun 04/03/77 vs Summit HS at South Field 25-9 W Sun 04/03/77 vs Hastings Club at South F 18-11 W 04/9?10?/77 at County Collge of Morris 37-13 W vs Penn at CCM 25-20 W Sat 04/16/77 vs Yale at Baker Field 35-14 W Sun 04/17/77 vs Princeton at Baker Filed 29-26 L Sun 04/24/77 at Webb 19-8 W 04/30?/77 vs Penn State at Amherst 15-13 L Penn State wins the Easterns
- In the fall of 1977, Steve Kane & Jerry McManus were the co-captains.
- Despite the loss of Buddha & Bloeme, the team continues to play well, but loses its 2 games to programs with "established" players with long Ultimate bloodlines (Princeton with Bob Evans from Columbia High School, and UConn with Dan Buckley & others from Staples High School). In contrast, Columbia has a bunch of unknown players, including new teammates Maurice Matiz (track refugee) and freshmen Ernie Cicconi, the pride of Hasbrouck Heights, and Paul Tvetenstrand. and others Frank Busanic (Astoria ringer).
- The team shirt changes to a blue shirt with white lettering "Columbia Ultimate" above an actual replica of a 165G disc on it (which disc is signed by former Columbia player & then World Frisbee Champion, Peter Bloeme). It was also one of the few Ultimate team shirts to have numbers on the back. This shirt remains the team uniform through at least 1984.
- Practices for 1977 and for several years thereafter are Tuesday & Thursday nights on South Field (which is in a dust-bowl like state). On Thursday nights, practices are watched by the "pre-Pub" crowd. The drinking age was 18 and there was a Pub in the basement of John Jay Hall that served beer and Thursday night was the most popular Pub night at John Jay).
The Fall 1977 Record (5-2) Sat 9/24/77 at UConn 30-10 L Sun 10/2/77 at U New Haven 26-8 W Sat 10/8/77 at County College of Morris 18-16 W Sat 10/15/77 at Princeton 23-18 L Sun 10/16/77 vs UPenn at Baker Field 32-27 W Sat 10/29/77 at Vassar 32-13 W Sun 11/12/77 vs Webb at Baker Field 26-25 W
- Florida Trip 1978 --- was there one? ___
- An undefeated regular season was followed by a three-way tie for the final two spots in the Regionals with only the top four teams qualifying for the Eastern Nationals.
- Despite beating Princeton twice, the highlight of the season was the crushing defeat of then top nationally-ranked Rutgers at Rutgers (1974, 1975 & 1976 national champions). In contrast to the spring of 1977 when Columbia had the well-known Buddha and Bloeme, Columbia's humiliating defeat of Rutgers, by a bunch of non-New Jersey, "no-name" players was an announcement that Columbia was a team to be reckoned with (even though one should never end a sentence with preposition). However, Princeton & the other "established" teams got revenge in the Regionals.
- Photos of the Columbia Ultimate team at practice are on the first page of New York Times Sports section (p. 49) on Wednesday April 26, 1978. Photos include Steve Kane handling, while Victor Garcia defends, and Jerry McManus skying over an unidentifed player.
- Due to the primitiveness of the sport, tie-breakers for tournaments had not been fully developed yet. So at the Regionals after a 3 way tie occurred for the final 2 spots for the Easterns, the NJ teams banded together and vote to have goal differential among the top 5 team determine the winner. This was the only way Columbia would have been eliminated and Knights of Nee (a New Jersy Club team with alumni from NJ schools & many "old time/established" players) & Princeton would have qualified. Columbia would have won goal differential among the 3 tied teams and goal differential for the tournament. But Columbia (without "Buddha" or any other established NJ connection) got outvoted for the only formula that let the 4 NJ teams advance. This tournament cemented the hatred for all things about New Jersey.
- The Glassboro game included one of the first brawls in Ultimate. During a tense, very low scoring game, it got ugly when a member of the Glassboro team ran onto the field from the sideline to throw a punch at Maurice. Lots of pushing and shoving ensued. Later that evening, Maurice had to visit the medical facility at Rutgers to get treatment for a small hematoma behind his ear. Needless to say, he did not sleep well given that was his second trip to the clinic that day. The first trip, early in the first game of the tournament, due to an errant Lou Pacheco (see Columbia Soccer) knee to the groin as they both went up to defend a long pass.
The Record Spring 1978 14-3 (9-0 regular season; 5-3 tourney Sat 03/04/78 at Delaware 15-8 W Sun 03/05/78 County College of Morris at Baker Field 17-6 W in football stadium in snow Sat 03/25/78 U of New Haven at Baker Field 21-5 W Sat 04/01/78 Lockhaven in NYC 8-3 W one 15 minute half Brandeis in NYC 24-9 W Sun 04/02/78 at Rutgers 22-15 W Major victory Sat 04/05/78 at Vassar 31-7 W Sat 04/15/78 vs Princeton in NYC (Central Park?) 22-14 W vs Dartmouth in NYC 21-5 W REGIONALS AT RUTGERS Sat 04/22/78 vs Columbia High School 13-5 W vs Rutgers East (the B team) W vs Glassboro L Glassboro wins tourney vs Princeton +1 W vs DC Frisbee W Sun 04/23/78 vs Knights of Nee -6 L vs Rutgers L #2 in tourney vs Webb W
- This was a great season. The "upset" of Boston Frisbee Club (BFC)/Boston Aerodisc(BAD), in Boston, (their only loss of the season) was cool. BFC/BAD was probably the first non-NJ club of "all-stars", who were formed for the sole purpose of becoming national champions. Prior to the game with Columbia they were crushing all their opponents.
- Also, this season, Columbia is teaching a very raw Pat King (who later becomes the founder and star of NEW YORK/NEW YORK, the Ultimate World Champions for 1987 and 1989 - 1993) the intracacies of the game.
- On October 28, 1978 while the ultimate team was beating Vassar & Uconn at Vassar, Columbia football was losing 69-0 to Rutgers.
- The season finale is the "hearse game" when the team travels by hearse to Princeton, arrives late (perhaps because the hearse didn't leave 114th St. until the scheduled game time), pulls up onto the field (with Princeton security follwing), and then goes on to beat hated rival Princeton who took part in the screwing of Columbia at the Spring 1978 Regionals, despite Princeton's captain Bob "God" Evans' protests of Ernie Cicconni's over-aggresive point play. The hearse was bought for less than $1000 and partially owned by team-member Tom Glocer, who couldn't keep a job in the US and was forced to move to England to get hired by some newspaper company.
The Record Fall 1978 15-3 Sun 09/17/78 at Webb 23-22 W Sun 09/24/78 at Fairleigh Dickinson 22-2 W Sun 10/01/78 UPenn at Baker Field 37-19 W (14-11 at half) Sat 10/07/78 at Bucknell 30-17 L vs Rutgers 31-28 W Sun 10/08/78 at Penn State 18-8 W Sat 10/14/78 vs Knights of Nee at Central Park 29-16 L Sat 10/15/78 at County College of Morris 25-20 L Sat 10/21/78 vs Syracuse at Baker Field 41-24 W Sat 10/28/78 at Vassar 32-18 W vs UConn at Vassar 29-22 W Sat 11/04/78 at Brandeis 29-17 W vs BU at Brandeis 29-11 W Sun 11/05/78 vs Brown at Cleveland Circle 14-12 W at Boston Frisbee Club 24-20 W Sat 11/11/78 at Princeton 27-20 W vs Lehigh at Princeton 18-9 W
- Winter 1978-1979. Ultimate Players Association (UPA) founded. New regions are established and NY including NY is in the Northeast Region while NJ is in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Not only is Columbia freed from the NJ dominated Mid-Atlantic Region, but a likely showdown between BFC/BAD & Columbia for the Northeast Regional Championship in the spring (and entry to the Nationals) appears likely.
- Winter/Indoor 1979
The Record 4-0 Syracuse Tournament in Carrier Dome (starts at midnight) 02/03/79 vs. Syracuse 15-6 W vs. Cornell 13-10 W vs. Hampshire 15-6 W Tournament Champion 02/17/79 at UConn 36-31 W
- Florida Trip
The Record 0-3-1 03/11/79 at Univ of Fla 18-18 T 03/13/79 at U of So Fla 18-16 L vs Orlando 20-15 L 03/15/79 at U of Miami 20-18 L
- In Northeast Regional semi-final at Amherst, the team loses to Cornell on a tipped disc goal with time running out and the season ends. Columbia had previously beaten Cornell in this double elimination tourney. Two unnamed players (Mike Strage & Alex Bagley) oversleep - [sure Strage I could see doing that, but Alex?] Cornell goes on to upset BFC/BAD; thus BFC/BAD's only losses in the 1978-1979 were their final games of the fall & the spring.
- In sum, despite a great deal of talent (& probably the "deepest bench" ever), including in no particular order, Steve Kane, Ken Gary, Maurice Matiz, Chris Schmidt, Ernie Cicconi, Bob Kennelly, Mike Strage, John "GG" Getsos, Grog, Bob Jarrett, Dave Dewitt (who becomes a long-time key Ultimate player in Florida after only one year at Columbia), Alex Bagley, Tom Glocer, Mike Forlenza & others, the team just never really gelled.
The Record 9-6, including playoffs Sun 03/25/79 vs County Collge of Morris at _____ ____ L vs Webb ____ W Sat 3/31/79 vs Boston Frisbee Club at ______ 23-13 L Sun 04/01/79 vs Hampshire at Yale 26-11 W Sat 04/07/79 at Vassar 30-9 W vs Dukes of Conn 18-13 W Sat 04/14/79 vs Dartmouth at Central Park +4 W cold & rainy vs Cornell at Central Park -1 L SECTIONALS at _____ Sat 04/21/79 vs Central Conn +12 W vs Webb -6 L Sun 04/22/79 vs Wesleyan 23-11 W REGIONALS at Amherst Sat 4/28/77 vs Cornell +3 W vs Middlebury +1 W Middlebury blew it & great play by Flu vs Boston 20-8 L Sun 4/29/77 vs Cornell -1 L Last second tip play loss; Cornell goes on to upset Boston
- With Maurice Matiz & Ken Gary graduating in May 1979, the Heifers, a NYC Club team is formed. Although in its beginning stages Columbia is assisting the Heifers, a rivalry quickly develops. The Heifers did have a cool shirt though, in both black & yellow versions, of a large uddered cow jumping over the NYC skyline. Conceived by Ken Gary & drawn by Alex Toran.
- The 10/6/79 Cornell victory at Vassar is an upset. A unique defense is devised. Bob Kennelly and Bob Jarret shadow Paul Brenner, while the rest of the team plays a zone. Separate from this zone, Ken Gary makes the most uncharacteristic play of his career, but it is effective, as Cornell stops doing short passes up the middle of the field.
The Fall 1979 Record 9-7, including play-offs Sat 09/29/79 at Webb 22-15 L vs UConn 23-19 W Sun 09/30/79 at Dukes 20-13 L Sat 10/06/79 at Vassar 26-22 W vs Cornell 17-7 W Upset. Sun 10/21/79 vs Kings Point (at Baker Field?) 34-4 W IVY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT at Harvard Sat 10/27/79 vs Dartmouth -10 L vs Cornell -6 L vs Yale +4 W Sun 10/28/79 vs Harvard +5? W SECTIONALS AT SUNY PURCHASE Sat 11/03/79 vs Wesleyan 12-5 W vs Central Conn 12-3 W Sun 11/04/79 vs Heifers 29-13 L vs UConn 13-7 W REGIONALS AT AMHERST Sat 11/10/79 vs Hampshire -10 L vs Syracuse +6 W vs Heifers -4 L Season over - # 5 in NE Region
- Winter Indoor Season 1980
The Record 6-1 Sun 02/03/80 at Fordham 30-5 W Sat 02/09/80 at UConn 19-18 W Yale at UConn 23-5 W Sat 02/09/80 at SUNY Purchase 67-30 W Not a typo (no wind indoors) SYRACUSE TOURNAMENT Sat 02/29/80 vs Brandeis 17-7 W vs Hampshire 14-4 L vs Syracuse 19-14 W Three way tie for first between Columbia, Hampshire & Syracuse
- 1980 Florida Trip.
- Last minute car plans change so only 8 players go in Steve Kane's parents' station wagon - Steve Kane, Chris Schmidt, Bob Kennelly, Mike Stage, Wally Don, Ken Gary, Ernie Cicconi and Jeff Coffin.
- The team goes undefeated, despite playing three doubleheaders with only 1 sub. Columbia would have won by a larger margin in one of the games, but Mike Strage confuses Ken Gary when he receives a throw-off.
- L'affaire eclair almost costs the team 2 players.
The Florida Record 6-0 Sun 03/09/80 at U Fla 18-14 W at U Fla 15-10 W Tues 03/12/80 at USF 19-11 W at USF 14-11 W Thurs 03/14/80 at Riveria (Miami) 18-7 W Dave Dewitt's team at Riveria (Miami) 18-6 W
- The Spring 1980 Season.
- Another very good season, but with a dispointing end.
The Record - Spring 1980 13-2, including play-offs Sat 03/22/80 at County Collge of Morris +4 W Sat 03/29/80 vs Dartmouth at Flushing Meadow 15-8 W vs Boston 8-7 L Sun 03/30/80 vs RPI at Baker Field W vs Dukes 19-7 W Sat 04/05/80 vs NJ Plastic Exchange 10-8 W at Rutgers 10-6 W vs Roland & Fish (NYC Club) 14-13 W Sun 04/13/80 vs Discmasters at Baker Field W vs Hampshire W Sat 04/19/80 at Vassar W SECTIONALS AT SUNY PURCHASE Sat 04/26/80 vs Kings Point +20? W vs Discmasters +8 ? W vs Yale +3? W Sun 04/27/80 vs Central Conn L Eliminated - Season over
- The Fall 1980 Season
- C'mon Chris, Ernie Phil, someone do you have this season's record? & comments
- 1980-1981 school funding is $1760 ($500 Athletic Dept. and $1260 from JBC - Student Government) per Bill Ebner's 4/28/80 letter. From memory, prior seasons' funding did not include JBC Student government fees (the student government funding did not exist) and usually the team got about $300-$500 per year.
- Winter/Indoor 1981 Record 2-0
Sun 2/22/81 W @SUNY Albany 24-11 Indoor ? outdoor Sun 3/1/81 W @Jersey Jolt (New Brunswick) 13-8 indoor ? outdoor
- Florida 1981
The Florida 1981 Record 5-2 Fri 3/6/81 L at Duke Sun 3/8/81 W at Bradenton (FL) Mon 3/9/81 W at USF (Tampa) Wed 3/11/81 L at Riviera (Miami) Dave Dewitt's team Thu 3/12/81 W at U of Orlando W at U of Orlando 2nd game Sat 3/14/81 W at Wash DC Frisbee Club
- The Record Spring 1981 23-7 (inc. 3 tourneys)
Sat 3/21/81 W Clouds of NJ @ Paramus 22-9 W Rutgers 18-15 Sun 3/22/81 L Heiffers @ Baker Field 19-10 L Webb 17-12 Tue 3/24/81 L Bronx Science @South Field 17-16 Capt. EC, please explain Sat 3/28/81 W Gators (of CT) @Norwalk 32-8 W Dukes (of CT) 15-12 W Rutgers 17-10 Sun 3/29/81 W Wesleyan 21-12 Sat 4/4/81 W @Vassar 19-9 W SUNY Albany 20-7 W Upstate All-Stars 33-24 Sun 4/12/81 W Central Conn @ Baker 24-21 Overtime [Sectionals @ Norwalk CT] Sat 4/18/81 W Central Conn 17-14 Sun 4/19/81 L Dukes 13-12 W Central Conn 14-11 W Gators (CT) 23-15 W Bronx Science 15-12 Northeast Regionals Sat 4/25/81 W Umass @ Wellesley 21-16 W SUNY Binghamton 16-14
Sun 4/26/81 W Dartmouth @ Harvard 17-15 W Harvard 12-9 L Middlebury 13-11 Easterns @ Purchase NY Sat 5/2/81 W WPI 19-7 W Harvard 23-6 L Jersey Jam 11-10 W Princeton 10-9 Sun 5/3/81 L Glassboro State 14-11 Boro is
Ivies @ Princeton
5/16/81 W Yale 20-1 W Princeton 17-14 W UPenn 15-9 Columbia is Ivy League Champs
- Schmidt Rule. Some Timing is uncertain. In the midst of a fierce and acrimonious mutli-month (multi-year?) debate  concerning whether games should be by points (i.e first to 21) or by the 'traditional" time (which was leading to stall tactics and a lot of end of game disputes as to whether time had run out on last second goals (the sport has no referees, let alone time-keepers), Columbia's captain, Chris Schmidt, proposes the most elegant solution, the "Schmidt Rule", that states the game must end on a score (thus eliminating stalling as the clock runs out & disputes whether time ran out before a last second goal is scored. I can't find Chris Schmidt's letter to the UPA newsletter, but, the Schmidt Rule is adopted at the Northeast Region Captains meeting in September 1981 and is adopted nation-wide. 
The Spring of 1981 is also the year of the cagey Captain Ernie Cicconi's end run around a Connecticut nemesis using the famed loser's bracket and the pretty co-smart Princeton captain to pick the perfect score for both Columbia and Princeton to advance one fine day in Purchase New York. Our hats off to our fearless leader in one of his great acts (and surely not the last).
- Someone has to get the record
- Northeast Regionals Nov 7-8, 1981, Amherst MA
- "The first game in Pool D was Columbia v. Hostages (a Boston all-star team). Columbia, the third-place team in 1979, was playing with an even smaller squad than the Hostages. Columbia can give anyone a tough game, and they jumped out to a 4-2 lead. Twice Columbia dropped scoring passes in the endzone. Both times the Hostages took the disc the lenghth of the field for a score. So, if Columbia catches those two scores, the Hostages are looking at a 6-0 deficit! The Hostages were able to come back from a 4-2 score however and win the game. The most imporant plays of the first day (for the entire 16 team tourney) were those two dropped passes."  The Hostages go to the Nationals and come in 4th.
- Other games in that Pool D was vs. Cornell, which Columbia lost, and vs. Brockport which resulted in ___?
In the photo from L to R are: Bob Jarrett, Les Fritzemeier, Steve Kane, Jim Drennan (looking skyward), Phil Hirschhorn (dropping disc, see desription of tourny above), Chris Schmidt, Dave Rosenfeld, Tom Jacobson, Jeff Coffin, Paul Tvetenstrand, Chris Klein, Chris Betts, Mike Strage, Greg Telonis. This photo was later turned into a prize winning Christmas tree ornament.
- ↑ See, for example, UPA Newsletter, June 1980, Vol. I, No. 2 entilted "Time for a Change? Time versus Points" which addresses the issue.
- ↑ Northeast Region Captians Meeting, UPA Newsletter, October - November 1981, p. 10; see also "Condors top Circus with Schmidt Rule" re: the Santa Cruz Tournament, in the same issue, p. 13
- ↑ "Hostages take a gutsy victory", Ultimate Players Assocaition UPA Newsletter Vol II, No. 5 January-February 1982.