I often wonder how folks in the business world keep from getting bored – how they remain interested in their jobs and keep a fresh outlook. I’m sure most people like and enjoy their jobs, but when and how often do they get the opportunity to “kick off” a new year? Is it a new budget cycle? A new account? I don’t know – I’ve spent my entire professional career in college athletics, and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it!
Every year, in mid-August, it’s a new beginning in college athletics. It doesn’t matter how well you did last season – or how poorly your season went. It doesn’t matter if you suffered through injuries or a series of bad breaks last year – this year is a new season that is full of optimism and new possibilities for success. It is easily my favorite time of the year!
Perhaps one of the most important factors that creates within an individual the desire to coach – and the characteristic that makes them successful – is the desire to improve, the ability to never be satisfied. Our men’s cross country team advanced to the NCAA Championships last season for the first time in the history of the program and finished 27th. A tremendous accomplishment, but if you talk to head coach Peter Dalton, he’s not satisfied. He’ll tell you he expects them to improve this year – new recruits, another year of training for the returning student athletes – and better results.
Our men’s and women’s soccer programs struggled last year, as both battled injuries and illness. At one point our women’s team had as many as 16 student-athletes diagnosed with walking pneumonia! Despite the struggles of last year, there is a fresh outlook and reason to be optimistic for both programs.
First year head coach John Miglarese has brought a winning attitude and new culture to our men’s program, and there is every reason to believe the team will be a force in Conference Carolinas. Simon Duffy has another excellent recruiting class, and with a team in good health, looks to build on back to back postseason tournament appearances and compete for a conference championship.
After battling through an up and down season in which the majority of playing time came from freshmen and sophomores, Chris Toomey’s optimism on the women’s volleyball season is easily justifiable. With nearly every key player returning from a team that finished 3rd in the Conference Carolinas West Division, Toomey has the Tornado poised for a run at the conference title.
Every one of our 25 intercollegiate teams has reason for optimism and excitement. In addition to the excitement over the potential success for our programs, there are plenty of other reasons to be excited for a new year. This spring, head coach Amber King will lead the acrobatics & tumbling team into its first year of varsity competition as King’s 25th varsity sport, and will be one of eight teams nationwide competing in the sport at the varsity level.
If a new and unique sport and the optimism and fresh attitudes of coaches and student athletes isn’t enough to get you excited for a new year, how about our simply incredible, new look gym floor in the Student Center Complex! Featuring the new athletic logos that were revealed in 2011, a new Conference Carolinas logo and completely new look, our staff, student-athletes and fans are excited at the new look the floor gives the SCC!
Yes, I indeed feel very fortunate to work in college athletics. Every August is a new year….new challenges, and an opportunity to improve on last season. Whether you won a conference championship or struggled through injuries last year, every coach and student-athlete enters the season with optimism and a new hope that this is the season when they achieve their goals. Some will achieve those goals, others will face challenges. As always, we at King will celebrate our successes and learn from the challenges we face, but in the end, it’s time for a new season of Tornado Athletics!!
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