« Lacrosse 2010

Pierce Derkac


Cornell University

Applied Economics and Management


Derkac is the true embodiment of an Ivy League student-athlete who works hard to achieve success both on and off the field. He will graduate from Cornell with a bachelor of arts degree in applied economics and management, the No. 4 ranked undergraduate business department in the country according to Business Week. Derkac holds a cumulative grade point average of 3.41, while consistently taking some of the hardest classes in his major.


When you look at the Cornell University men’s lacrosse team, there is little doubt that Derkac is the leader, not only on the field, but in the locker room and in the community. On the field, Derkac has been named as a co-captain of the fifth-ranked 2010 Cornell men’s lacrosse team. Over the past three years, he has played a position – long-stick midfielder – that is often overlooked by the media and the fans, but that does not bother him at all. Derkac doesn’t play for the glory of scoring goals. He plays for the love of the game. He does the little things, the dirty work, that often goes overlooked. Not only is he the leader of the defensive unit, but he is an integral part of the team’s face-off unit, where he’s in the trenches battling for ground balls. He has worked tirelessly to minimize his weaknesses, especially during his freshman year, when he was asked to change positions for the benefit of the team. Derkac spent many long hours adjusting form a short-stick to a long-pole and spent countless hours on his own studying film to learn Cornell’s complicated defensive slide packages. Off the field, Derkac’s presence is felt in the locker room, as he strives to be an approachable teammate while leading by example. He has taken his role as team captain very seriously and has worked very hard to give both his teammates and his coaches what they need from him.  He is also an active member of the prestigious Red Key Athletic Honorary Society. In addition to several community service projects, the members of Red Key strive to get each team on campus to support its fellow student-athletes through a program called the Cornell Cup. To earn points towards the Cornell Cup, each team is judged based on its average GPA, winning percentage, community service performed and attendance of Cornell athletic events.


In the community, Derkac’s efforts are truly impressive and it is here that his leadership qualities shine through. He is involved in various community service projects, typically taking up the leadership mantel. This past fall, Derkac helped to organize the building of a playground at nearby Cayuga Elementary School. He is also involved in many on-going projects, including Save the Day, The 21 Run, Big Red Readers, One-to-One Big Brother/Big Sister, and America Supporting American. He also participates in many fundraising and community service events through his involvements with Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and the Sphinx Head Honor Society, where he serves as the Philanthropy Chair. For the past three years, Derkac has been involved with a program called “Save the Day,” serving as co-coordinator both last year and again this year. The program is a joint effort between the Cornell men’s lacrosse team and the Dream Factory of Central, N.Y., to raise money to grant the wishes of chronically and critically ill children. What began in 2004 as a simple fundraising campaign in which members of the Big Red solicited contributions from the community for every save made by a Cornell goalie, has evolved into a year-round service project which includes running a blood drive for the American Red Cross, as well as the Save the Day 3 vs. 3 Youth Lacrosse Tournament. According to the program’s coordinator, Suzanne Wampner, the team, under the direction of Pierce, has raised the most money during the past two years. Derkac has been very active in the planning the past three 21 Runs and this year he will take over one of the yet to be determined committee chairs. The event, which honors the late Mario St. George Boiardi, who wore the No. 21 as captain of the Cornell men’s lacrosse team, raises money each year for the Family Reading Partnership of Ithaca as it works towards its mission to promote children’s literacy in the Ithaca community. Last year’s race had more than 300 runners and raised over $8,000. On a more intimate level, Derkac is heavily involved with Big Red Readers, a program which promotes literacy by bringing Cornell athletes into one of the local elementary schools to read to the students for an hour each week during the school year. Since the fall of his sophomore year, Derkac has been a big brother to nine-year old Yuuki Real as a part of the Ithaca One-to-One Big Brother/Big Sisters Program. Derkac hangs out with his little brother at least once a week for at least two hours. Last year and this year Derkac will serve as the organizer for the America Supporting Americans program. Under Derkac’s direction, the team sponsors a military unit either stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan, writing emails and personal letters to the soldiers as well as sending care packages. As a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, Derkac takes part in numerous community service projects, including the fraternity’s largest fundraiser – Daffodil Days, a program that raises a significant amount of money for the American Cancer Society. Finally, Derkac is a member of the Sphinx Head Honor Society, a group that recognizes members of the Cornell senior class who have given their time and passion to the university during their undergraduate years. It is the university’s oldest secret senior honor society, and its goal is to quietly uplift the Cornell community through volunteerism. Membership is diverse, representing all segments of the student population, and all members serve as leaders in their respective Cornell communities. Derkac is the Philanthropy Chair for the group and organizes a number of volunteer projects throughout the year.


Derkac has helped the Big Red earn three Ivy League titles, three trips to the NCAA tournament, a national semifinal match, as well as a spot in the 2009 national championship game. He has received the Charlie Hustle Award for the past two seasons. He picked up 52 ground balls on the year and caused a team-high 13 turnovers. He was also one of the top scoring long poles in the country with five goals. An unselfish player willing to do anything to help his team, Derkac converted from a short-stick to a long-pole during the fall of his freshman year before going on to see action in seven games during his rookie season.