On November 20th, the Athletics Division Staff Senators, joined by myself and Lisa Ormond, had the opportunity to sit down and have a discussion the Athletics Direcot, Jeff Compher. This meeting was casual and relaxed as Mr. Compher began by expressing his appreciation and commitment to ECU Staff and stated he would like to do anything possible to support better inclusion with ECU Athletics as well as his desire to see staff included in other campus events and activities. Jeff has experience with many different college campuses and shared his thoughts and experience about staff recognition programs. Some of his suggestions included:
- An annual Staff Recognition Award – Where a staff member would be recognized for their contributions and dedication to ECU. He even suggested giving the recipient a year of free parking or a designated parking place (sign me up for that!).
- Efforts to recognize the Staff Senate Chair during athletic events and maybe even having the Chair raise the NO-QTR flag or attend the pre-game activities.
- Efforts to include the Staff Senate in the Athletics Social Calendar Events
Mr. Compher went on to mention that staff and faculty athletic ticket sales has declined in the past few years and said he is committed to finding ways for staff and faculty to participate more. Other topics discussed were:
- Information about the inclusion of Athletics in the ECU Orientation Program.
- A question about providing a campus-wide education/orientation to the athletic coaches in order to better help them “sell the school” and not just the athletics program (Jeff thought this was a great idea and said he would look into this).
- Initiatives for staff programs that arrange travel groups for away games – Mr. Compher stated he can see the value in this and is willing to help facilitate transportation as long as there is an appropriate amount of vested interest (sorry Penney, I tried ).
As our meeting was winding down, Mr. Compher reiterated that he wanted the Division of Athletics and the Staff Senate to have a good working relationship and he invited the Staff Senate to attend their monthly “All Hands on Deck” meetings.
After our meeting, Harold Robinson gave us a guided tour of the Football Building, Team Meeting Rooms, the Football Locker Room and the Weights Facility. During our tour, Harold went out of his way to introduced us to as many of the ECU Football Coaches as he could find. I would like to thank Head Coach McNeil and Coaches Smith, Wiley, Yellock, Price, Riley, Doll, Kirkpatrick, Nicholes and Jones as well as Jeff Connors, Athletic Director, Strength and Conditioning, and Brian Overton, Football Operations, for their generous hospitality as they welcomed us into their “home” (they spend as much time in the Football building as they do at home…maybe more!). Even when we “crashed” the Offensive Team and Defensive Team meetings, these guys welcomed us in and shared some light offensive/defensive banter with us (when I say crashed, I mean literally crashed – they were meeting behind-closed-doors and we walked right in!).
If you have not introduced yourself and had a conversation with Harold Robinson, I would highly recommend you do so. His passion and commitment to athletics literally oozes from every cell of his body. I was so impressed with his knowledge of ECU Football and his dedication to preserving the history of the program! I learned more about football in one short hour with him than I have learned in my entire life, and he is so charismatic he literally draws you in! Admittedly, I rarely watch football (to my defense, I have small kids and rarely watch ANYTHING) but after spending time with Harold I was truly excited about football and especially our ECU Football program!
As I was heading back to work, I was reflecting on my experience. For all intents and purposes, our ECU Football program is very dynamic and moderately sized, yet this division has managed to maintain “team” environment (pun intended )! I don’t know how they do it, but it was very obvious, from the moment mr. Compher walked into the room and said “hey, today is Rick’s birthday, be sure to get with him,” that the atmosphere in the Athletics Division has more of a familial-relationship-feel than a professional-business-feel….this team really works!
Thanks again to the Division of Athletics (and especially Harold and the Football program) for welcoming us in!
For those of you in the Divisions of Research and Graduate Studies and Student Affairs, your opportunity to have a discussion with your Vice Chancellor(s) is coming on Monday and I’m really looking forward to seeing you all there!
Go PIRATES!!! ARG!!!