I saw a tweet on Monday from a good friend, Troy University head athletics trainer Chuck Ash (@chuckdiesel01). Of course, Monday was Labor Day, and most folks around the country got to take the day off from work.
That is not the case in college athletics for most folks, especially if football is a part of your life. Chuck tweeted that he was laboring on Labor Day for the 38th consecutive year.
That is something that most outside of college athletics, even the most ardent fans, never realize. There are hard-working people behind the scenes who sacrifice their nights and weekend, and even holidays, for the cause.
That tweet got me to thinking that is was the first Labor Day that I didn't have to work in quite a while. Not quite 38 years, but probably just the second time since college.
We have that same kind of dedication on display in and around Stetson athletics. Whether is the athletic trainers, who are on duty for every game, practice or training session, the facilities people, who make sure everything is ready for those student-athletes to do what they need to do, there is always work to be done.
For me, the two guys who are going to make my life much better this year (read that as no heart attack) are Jamie Bataille and Dan Forcella. They are doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to many of our sports teams.
Most people who have been around Stetson for very long know Jamie. He and his wife Vanessa, who is a member of the softball coaching staff, have been in the DeLand community for years. Jamie worked in the athletics department as sports information director until leaving six years ago to go into the private sector.
Even since he has been away from Stetson, he was never really away. He has worked as a member of the stat crew for events, has been the voice of Stetson softball on Hatter Vision and has continued to actively support the Hatters.
I have known Jamie since he was a grad student at the University of Memphis and I was at the University of Southern Mississippi. I am extremely happy to have him on my staff. He will primarily work with the sports of volleyball, sand volleyball, women's basketball and, of course, softball.
Dan came to Stetson this summer from Belmont where he served as a graduate assistant for the last two years. A native of Maine, he attended Vassar College where he played basketball. He is handling both men's and women's soccer this fall, men's basketball this winter and he and I will work together with lacrosse and baseball in the spring.
Many of the things you are seeing done on gohatters.com are from their efforts. Dan has been very active in getting our social media efforts ramped up, and Jamie has been working to increase our video presentations.
Both guys are talented, hard-working an a true asset for Stetson athletics. Their efforts, along with the help of student Robert Edgcomb, free me up to work in an administrative capacity while also working with the Stetson football program.
I'll also oversee coverage of the men's and women's golf teams, the crew program as well as baseball and lacrosse in the spring. With Robert's help, we'll also make sure that the cross country and tennis teams receive their fair share of coverage.
Obviously, with more than 400 student-athletes to cover, days can get long. The effort these guys, and many others like them across the country, often go under appreciated.
If you see them at an event and have an idea or suggestion, please don't hesitate to pass it along. But, also don't hesitate to thank them for the many hours they put in.
Football is Back on the Road
Stetson football coach Roger Hughes got back on the road for a recruiting trip this weekend. In fact, he is just part of a delegation of Stetson folks who are in the greater Chicago area this weekend for a Stetson tailgate at tomorrow's Northwestern-Vanderbilt game.
Coach Hughes has been joined on the trip by Director of Athletics Jeff Altier as well as Stetson University President Dr. Wendy Libby on this recruiting trip. The people they are in Chicago to recruit are not players, they are alumni.
The same group will be back on the road next weekend for a trip to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford-USC game. Later in the fall there will be tailgates closer to home, one in Tallahassee at a Florida State game and the other in Jacksonville for the Florida-Georgia game.
Last week I was able to share a blog post about a long-ago Stetson football trip to Cuba. This week I found another interesting, although not at all historical, read about the return of Hatters football. This blog comes from a completely different perspective.
Time for me to take off. The Stetson men's soccer team has it's home opening game in just 45 minutes. I hope to see you there.