Between Muhlenberg College’s 22 Varsity sports teams, there is a lot of work done in the athletics office on a year round basis. When the academic year is in session, you will often find student-athletes on campus grinding in the gym, on the practice field, or competing in a games.
But what many people don’t recognize is the hard work that goes on within the athletics offices. Led by Athletic Director Corey Goff, the department is consistently striving to reach its initiatives to improve programs. Their hustle is evident during the fall and spring semesters while students are bustling around campus, but this is not just a two-semester job. While students are home for the holidays over winter break, the athletic offices are busy preparing for not only the upcoming semester, but the following fall semester as well.
Goff, who has served as the Director of Athletics at Muhlenberg since 2012, explained the main initiatives of the athletics department during the winter break period. In general, the department’s priorities “change from one year to the next, but this is typically a time for us to catch up on projects plan for spring events, and long term strategic planning work.”
“We are always busy,” – Megan Patruno, Associate Director of Athletics at Muhlenberg College.
As for the main initiatives that will be started this winter, Goff lists a number of plans, including adding a career networking event for student athletes, review of Life Sports Center usage policies, development of new leadership development curriculum for StepUp program, planning for ‘Mule Madness” with colleagues in advancement, collaborate with colleagues in Advancement to investigate viability of Mike Donnelly memorial professional development fund, and complete the pool and recreation locker room enhancements.
While the athletics department is almost expected to be busy given the revolving cycle of sports each ensuing season, the work of fall sports teams actually continues into the winter months as well. The scheduled season ends in late October, but once the games are completed, the coaching staff is hard at working in recruiting their next freshmen class.
“During the winter break myself and staff are working on completing our 2018 recruiting class,” says men’s head soccer coach Sean Topping. “We will plan out our spring and summer recruiting schedule and also start to work on our spring/summer clinics and camps marketing.” He noted how crucial it was to make a good impression on those current high school seniors, for they are the future of the program. However, he also stressed an importance on the current group of players, as the team uses the winter break to organize the spring season too.
“We (also) will start to plan out our spring season,” says Topping. “Training dates, times, and what we will want to work on and accomplish during this deferment. We might work on technical skill aspects of the game, formation, strength & conditioning, team chemistry activities, and leadership exercises. We will also set up our spring scrimmage opportunity and annual alumni game. We will work on alumni initiatives as well.”
Megan Patruno, Muhlenberg’s Associate Athletic Director, emphasized that the athletics office functions just like any other typical business office.
“When classes are not in session and students are not on campus, it is a great opportunity for our office – just like many other offices – to catch up on other work,” said Patruno. “This does include, for example, general housekeeping of our files, brainstorming new ideas and special event planning for our Hall of Fame induction ceremony that happens later in the spring, as well as planning for the Muhlenberg College Golf Classic, which is one of the largest fundraisers for our department. We also have lots of new software programs that the College has introduced or will introduce in the coming months. This is a great time to dive into learning new products.”
Sports may not be in session during the month long period that is winter break, but the office remains active all the time. Is there ever time when the office is not running? Of course not, says Patruno.
“We are always busy,” she says. “Again, the athletic department works continually during the whole year to support our student-athletes. Whenever there is a break in the academic calendar, our office will ‘slow down’ from an events perspective. However, the daily work that we do to maintain a positive and equitable learning environment for our student-athletes remains steady.”