There is something special about taking the same field your parents did during their collegiate careers. Several current Occidental student-athletes share this bond with their alumni parents and grandparents. For some student-athletes though, the family legacy at Occidental initially drove them away from the school.
“At first I actually didn’t like that I had so much history here, I wanted to kind of go and do my own thing,” football player Derek Poetzinger (senior) said.
Poetzinger’s father, Dave Poetzinger ’89, said that their family had about nine or 10 connections to the school. The prospect of forging his own path understandably appealed to Poetzinger.
Despite his family’s track record of attending the school, Poetzinger felt that Occidental was too good a fit to resist.
“I realize it was kind of stupid to not like a school just because your parents came here,” Poetzinger said. “I just liked it here.”
Not only does Poetzinger live next door to his father’s old room in the football house, but he also has taken classes with the same professors as his father. Dave Poetzinger said they both took classes with English Professors Eric Newhall, Daniel Fineman and John Swift.
Baseball player Matthew Geiger (first year) also roams the same halls his dad did during college.
“He actually lived in Chilcott [Hall] one year, and that’s the dorm I’m in,” Geiger said.
Geiger’s father, Thomas Geiger ’85, played baseball and football at Occidental. Thomas’s brother, Matthew, also attended Occidental, where he served as the sports information director and basketball statistician.
Family ties at Occidental don’t stop with athletics. Lacrosse player Christina Sabin’s (junior) mother, Cindy Sabin ’85, attended Occidental where she played on the tennis team. Sabin joined the same sorority as her mother, Delta Omicron Tau.
“We make scrapbooks every year, so that’s kind of cool that I found her in those,” Sabin said.
Sabin explained how after she was initiated into Delta, her sorority sisters gave her an artificial gold pin just like the one her mother passed down to her from the ’80s. The pin is a meaningful token that Christine shows off to others.
“This was one time when I was excited to pass along a legacy from me to her,” Cindy Sabin said via email.
Before arriving at Occidental, Christina listened to advice from her mom about how to handle the busy life of an Occidental student-athlete. Her parents’ suggestion to her was simple — just have fun.
“I loved my time at Oxy and was ecstatic when Christina finally chose Oxy,” Cindy Sabin said via email.
Matthew Geiger’s father knows his son is in good hands at Occidental.
“I feel my son is in the right place, at the right time, and that has everything to do with the school, the coaches and the baseball program,” Thomas Geiger said via email.
Geiger expressed excitement at the potential to continue the Occidental tradition with his own kids.
“It’ll be cool to tell my kid ‘This is where your dad and grandpa went.'” Geiger said.