Faculty Mentor Award.
I’m humbled to receive the Faculty Mentor award to join a list of mentors whom I admire….they are the heart of the Pacific experience I cherish.
It was at the University of Utah when pursing my PhD in physical education when I began to develop my keen interest in teaching, researching and writing about the spiritual, sociological and psychological aspects of sport.
I arrived in 1972 at Pacific in the department of Physical Education. An immediate attraction was: the department would allow me to start up programs in sport and the social sciences. Ced Dempsey was an enlightened chair who gave me room to roam in the education venues which were, and remain my passion. And during the last two decades of my tenure, Tom Stubbs was the same kind of chair. I was fortunate.
The opportunity to teach across disciplines in the I&I program and winter term, was intriguing, a curriculum which nurtured experimental courses. After three years at Utah I began to think of myself as a self-styled liberal sport educator. With Team Teaching the heart of I&I program I was matched up with the likes of Sy Kahn, Cliff Hand, Larry Meredith, Herb Reinelt, Jim Herfernan, Bill Allen and others. This was new and challenging territory for me.
I found myself behind the curve among the life long scholars. Sy’s description of life as an activist in the McCarthy era was startling to me. I asked Herb a question about freedom and he assigned two readings one being Nietsche…not the middle linebacker. I was spellbound listening to a Meredith lecture and understood some of it. Larry was and is a devoted sportsmen. Often our classes inter mingled. Maury is my editor and offered annual book reading lists. They jump started my liberal education. .
I was disappointed when I&I and winter term lost appeal. But it had afforded me an opportunity to mingle across the campus and be with faculty and students from many disciplines.
One such excursion gave me the opportunity to join a faculty barbershop group led by our choral director Bill Dehning. We were more than four Larry, Maury, John Smith, Bill, Herb…sometimes Audrey…We sang from Moore’s River Boat to the Civic at halftime to Band Frolic, and most anytime we happened to be together at a social event. It was a blast. We showed how multiple disciplines could teach and sing close harmony. A Pacific staple.
During the 70’s the heart of Physical education dept. was Doris Meyer and Libby Matson….beloved teachers of their craft….Conner Sutton kept Phys Ex vital without much of a lab.(I think Conner, Doris and Libby have received mentor awards and if not they should).. The department grew under Tom’s steady hand. Eventually, I settled on specialties of Sport Psychology and Coaching Education.
During the 70s when I was figuring out the best way to interact with students I was assisted by a cadre of motivated graduate students who learned with me; Roger Brautigan, Donna Hawker, Cindy Bava, Mary Eberhardt, Pete Carroll, Ted Leland, Steve Heinrich to name some.
I chaired 11 Master’s Thesis and was the graduate adviser for many. I enjoyed most, the close work with graduate students and teaching across disciplines spreading the word that sport is an powerful vehicle for psychological, social and spiritual growth. And when done right it’s a magical common denominator for social gatherings. I cherished those relationships and maintain many today.
I coached the Men’s golf team until 1992. When the athletic department decided to upgrade the program coaching took more and more of my time I became 50/50 in Sport Sciences and Athletics.
Because of the range of my interests and the combination of teaching and coaching, I had multiple opportunities to interact with students….students in my courses, graduate students, Athletes and coaches.
The athletic and sport science offices intermingled. I loved the interaction with colleagues and coaches. Collaborated with Taras and John…..Thomasen’s BB teams….all the golf coaches who followed me. The numerous coaching development workshops, clinics and courses were some of my favorites. It was common to have Pacific alums as guest speakers, co-hosts and participants in special events.
Among my favorite workshop/courses:
Sport and Cosmic Forces:The Inner Game with guest author Michael Murphy…A friend said either the curriculum committee was enlightened or asleep
The four day workshop on on Social Aspects of Sport: Is Winning Really Everything with Don Meredith, Larry and myself, was a campus and community winner.
Sport and America with Bill Walsh, David Meggysey (Linebacker turned activist) with Taras Liskevych.
Soviet American Coaching Seminar with The Esalen Soviet American Institute, Bill Walsh and Reuben Albaugh, Michael Murphy, Cindy Spiro and Barb Paris as assistants and organizers. One evening we joined the Soviets in serious vodka drinking. The next morning at 8 it was me and the Soviets. My assistants, Cindy and Barb were nowhere in sight.
Because I operated in the Sport Science and Athletic domains I have had many opportunities to connect with Alumni….Pete Carroll, Kristie Schroeder, Pete Schroeder, Scott Puailoa, Kevin Sverduk, Ted Leland, Cindy Spiro, Jeff Brehaut, Kris Baxter, etc …these I connect with regularly.
The relationships we build with students is a cornerstone of the Pacific experience. It is the vitality of the University. As Larry says, we are invited to visit with students as they explore their world of education. The visits have been exciting and enlightening for me. Thanks for the invitation.
This is one mentor who has truly reaped the benefits.