Charles Lee ’06, Kayla Yee ’13, Karin Wegener Knisely ’79, Mike Nicholson ’14

Charles Lee ’06 is a bit of a legend around Bucknell, but he didn’t feel destined for greatness when he first arrived on campus. The co-captain and starter on the Bucknell basketball team that famously upset the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2005 NCAA tournament recalls being taken aside by his coaches during his first semester.

“I was having a rough academic patch. Even though I was eligible to play, they had me sit out for a while. They cared and wanted me to focus on academics first. They wanted me to accomplish everything I could.” After that, Lee worked harder than ever, ultimately making the Patriot League honor roll and winning the championship.

Bison fans and players love winning, but victory is even sweeter where remarkable athletic success in such a competitive league holds true to a student-athlete model. Bucknell has won the Patriot League President’s Cup, symbolizing overall victory across all league sports, 17 of the 22 times it has been awarded, a reflection of the excellence of Bucknell’s student-athletes, coaches and staff. These cups, shown here with the athletes, are the result of success across our 27 Division I sports. This spirit of competition is just as vibrant on club teams and in abundant recreation activities from rock-climbing to yoga.

During the photo shoot for this portrait, Lee, who is now an assistant men’s basketball coach; as well as Hall-of-Famer Karin Wegener Knisely ’79, P’14, who is now the director of biology core course labs; Olympic-contender swimmer Mike Nicholson ’14, who majors in economics and sociology; and soccer player Kayla Yee ’13, a civil engineering major, started talking about Yee’s team’s prospects for the upcoming year.

Lee says, “Kayla told us they had struggled the year before, but she was really optimistic about their chances this year. That resonated with me. Bison are always optimistic. But we don’t stop there. Our optimism is based on the work we put in. That’s a lesson I learned when I was here too that continues today. Work hard early on and it’s always going to pay off down the road.” Lee’s words just might explain a winning attitude.

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