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  • Rachel Senopole

Big Moves - Staffing changes in OC's athletic department create 'positive reactions'

A lot of changes have happened over the summer in the Olivet College athletic department.

After returning to campus for the fall semester, students and staff learned that both the athletic director and assistant athletic director were just one of many positions to have been lost by the department or to have undergone a staff restructure.

Ryan Shockey was quickly made interim athletic director. He served formerly as The Cutler Event Center’s athletic trainer. In an effort to help with the coverage in the training room due to Shockey’s position change, Miles Drobish has been brought in as a part-time athletic trainer.

Currently, the department is not looking to hire an assistant athletic director.

Despite the sudden staff changes, many student-athletes have had positive reactions to the addition of fresh personalities and skill sets that seem to extend beyond the training room or practice field.

“I am doing an internship with Shockey and I’ve really enjoyed my time working with him so far,” senior Stephen Botti said, who is a pitcher and first baseman for the college’s baseball team. Botti also works for the athletic department as an intern.

“He’s taught me a lot already about the ins-and-outs of the job. He seems like a great fit for the school and has done a great job so far. With him here, the marketing side of the school has been better, whether it be with social media or getting more sponsors for the college. Everything seems to be on the rise right now,” Botti said.

The men’s lacrosse team is also welcoming Matt Holtz as its new coach.

Holtz started the position on Sept. 16. He will be the second head coach in the history of the men’s lacrosse program. Previously, Holtz served as the girl’s lacrosse coach at Okemos High School. Prior to that, he was the head men’s lacrosse coach at the University of Detroit-Mercy.

The training room now offers physical therapy services performed by physical therapist Chuck Middleton of Accelerated Physical Therapy. Middleton is in the training room every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 10:30 a.m.

“Chuck has been absolutely great to work with. He is very personable and easy to work with,” senior soccer player Lauren Vanderhoff said. “After visiting him a few times, I definitely feel improvements in my physical health. I love that Olivet has given the students the opportunity to have another way to take care of their bodies and prevent injuries.”

Caleb Grummet, a recent graduate and former wrestler for the Comets, has taken over supervision of the weight room in The Cutler Event Center and is now leading strength and conditioning programs for all student-athletes, as well as overseeing the Laimbeer Fitness Center, located in the Upton Gymnasium.

According to senior cheerleader Gloria Cavett -- who works for Grummet in the weight room -- Grummet brings fresh philosophies to the weight room, such as allowing the facility to be available to all students – not just athletes.

“My experience with working with Caleb has been incredible. The first things I think of with him is dedicated, passionate and a team player. He’s the kind of guy that cares a ton and would give anything to have these athletes succeed and believe in themselves and their abilities. He was exactly what the program needed. I don’t know what they’d do without him,” Cavett said.

The Cutler Event Center weight room is open Monday through Thursday 6 to 8 p.m.

Students who like to work out closer to campus can access the Laimbeer Fitness Center weight room during Monday through Thursday from noon to 9 p.m., Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

For the women’s soccer team, a new coach has meant a strong start to the season. With the addition of Kim McGowan as head coach, the team currently holds a 5-2 record this fall season.

“Having Kim as our new coach has really helped us become a better team,” sophomore soccer player Isabelle Leon said. “From the start she held us to a high standard which really pushed us to work harder and want to achieve success. She has changed the team’s outlook for games and has really helped put this team together and grow in our soccer abilities.”

Along with new head coaches, several assistant coaches have been added to the athletic staff to lend support as well.

Crystal Davis has joined the women’s basketball staff, while baseball added Tom Kort – a recent graduate and former baseball player for the Comets; swimming and diving has welcomed Jacob Beach and football has added assistant coaches Nick Galvan, Matt King and Dan Simrell.

The athletic department is still currently seeking coaches for both softball and women’s lacrosse.

“All-in-all, I am excited about the direction of the athletic department and we are making positive strides in becoming better,” Shockey said.

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