While most of the St. Joe’s community is at home enjoying the last throes of summer, members of the Athletic Department are hard at work preparing for the year ahead. Here are some of their stories.
Orientation is a way for freshman to gradually adjust to the enormous life change they are about to undergo. But there’s more happening on Gest Lawn than you might think. Among the field games, cookouts, and icebreakers, Ian Crookenden is hard at work.
The Saint Joseph’s tennis teams’ head coach is making the most of his first full summer in charge by attending the same Orientation sessions his newest players are at. The atmosphere gives him a chance to get to know his players and their families, and allows him to change roles from being the athletes’ recruiter to being their coach.
“I’m there to encourage recruits to go through the process of Orientation like other student athletes,” said the former UCLA Bruin and NCAA All-American. “I’m there to get to know recruits better, and to meet parents and answer any questions they have.”
Crookenden’s concern at these visits has nothing to do with what his new players will do on the court; he is there to ensure the student-athletes he brought in assimilate to their new school in every possible aspect.
“It’s to reinforce that they are members of this university and that they have to meet their obligations as a student and community participant, not just an athlete,” Crookenden said. “I don’t want them to miss out on any of the things that come with being a student, and this is the perfect venue to reinforce that.”
The confluence of incoming freshmen also provides a pool of possible walk-ons. While Crookenden said he did have “several people ask about tryouts or walking on”, he added that it is too early in his tenure at St. Joe’s to declare his attendance at Orientation an effective method of recruiting.
-Matthew De George ’10