Fall sports seasons: looking forward

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Photo by Kira Roberts.

Kira Roberts, Editor-in-chief

When explained to a non-athlete, sports schedules are typically described using the words pre-season, season, off-season and summer break.  While this organizes the timeline of events, there really is very little difference in training schedules for most sports.  Sure, summer training looks a little different than when everyone is at school together under the leadership of coaches, but everyone is still working toward the goal of improving their team by improving themselves.

Each different team has unique struggles, victories and experiences, but most of their attitudes approaching new seasons are similar.  Head football coach, Michael Cochran, said, “I am looking forward to seeing this group of guys become a family and grow closer throughout the season.  I am excited to see what god will do with the hearts of these me.”

Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance, Tammy Ikerd, said that she is most looking forward to home events.  “As an administrator, it’s deeply gratifying to watch the student-athlete represent SNU in competition.  Both coaches and student-athletes work extremely hard in preparation for that first home contest, and it is an exciting time for our campus.”

Bobby Martin, Director of Athletics, said, “Hopefully this will be the final year of a three year application process. We are in the Provisional Year. If we move through this year, we will be a full member of the NCAA II and the Great American Conference next year. During the last two years, we have tried to operate by the NCAA rules. Though there have been a few exceptions, by in large we were fully engaged as if we were a NCAA II member.”

Ikerd mentioned that, as a department, athletics operated last year as if we were already a Division II member.  “Going forward we will continue to focus on our rules education program with student-athletes, our faculty/staff and our community.  During the provisional year, our vendor will conduct an NCAA Compliance Blueprint, which is essentially an audit of our compliance program, policies and procedures.  This provides us an opportunity to demonstrate the teamwork that has evolved the past year between financial aid, the registrar’s office, the faculty athletics representative and the athletics department.  Compliance is an institutional and community effort, and we hope to showcase that during the Blueprint.”

Looking a bit closer at individual teams, Billy Miller, Cross Country/Track and Field coach, said, “ We have a good mix of new and returning team members.  This will give a great opportunity to showcase our programs on the bigger stage of NCAA.”  Miller said that their team vision is “to seek God’s will and praise his name in all we do.”  Their mission is “to live as an example, give to others and share God’s love.”  As a team, they will try to compete and live by Philippians 4:9, which says, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put in to practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”

Similarly, coach Cochran said the football team’s goals are to put God first, win the next game, be a great teammate and be a mentally tough team.  “Our plan is extensive and involves small group bible studies and numerous meetings, all designed to create positive habits.”

As far as improvements from last year go, Martin said that the primary change in scheduling will be that the Football team will play a complete schedule in the Great American Conference.  “We completed a Press Box and Concession Stand for our ladies Softball facility. We are looking at improved fencing and possible improvements in the hitting facilities for Baseball and Softball. We have completed a change in our watering system at the Football fields. We are completely refinishing and painting the court in the Sawyer Center. This is covered primarily by insurance due to some damage that occurred late in the year.”

Looking forward to this season and expecting great things to happen, Ikerd had some advice for the student-athletes.  “We all have talents and abilities that are gifts from God.  Utilize those gifts! Give your all to your academics, relationships and sport.  That is your gift back to him.”

Comparably, Martin said, “Be excited about this place…it is a special institution. It takes some longer to figure that out than others. If you will attempt to fit into the mission of SNU, God can do great things in and through you. We have a great Faculty and Staff who care deeply about our students. As I have grown older, I have discovered this truth, ‘It doesn’t take long to live a lifetime.’ Take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead! Try not to leave with regrets.”