Our Time To Shine, Part 2: 2017 MSCC Class On The Importance Of Mentors

By Adam Reed

One of the most inspiring facets of the MSCC Ceremony is the passing of the MSCC jacket from a current MSCC to the inductee. It illustrates the passing of the torch from one coach to the next, and it also shows the valuable role mentorship plays in the process of achieving excellence in the strength and conditioning profession.

When the 2017 class received their jackets, a wealth of experience walked across the stage. Decades of hard work and dedication were embodied in the 18 men and women who earned the prestigious title, but none of them arrived at this defining moment without the influence and guidance of an army of mentors.

Michael Hill, Director of Sport Performance at Georgetown University, is a perfect example of this truth. Hill has been a part of the Georgetown staff for over a decade. His midwestern work ethic and can-do attitude propelled him to his current position, overseeing training for all 29 Georgetown sports.

But Hill will be the first to tell you he didn’t arrive at the top without a few helping hands along the way. When he started his journey, Hill drove across the country in blind faith, hoping to land a position at the program he now calls home.

Augie Maurelli had offered him an internship, but by the time he was able to get his belongings in order, and limp his vehicle from California to the nation’s capitol, Maurelli had all but forgotten offering him the position.

What happened next was a defining moment in Hill’s career. Maurelli was impressed with the drive and determination his new intern had displayed, and took him under his wing, guiding him to a full-time position and ensuring he had the tools he needed every step of the way.

“He wouldn’t let me pay for any coffees, and he gave me his Go Card to take the bus,” Hill says. “He was willing to do anything. He’d literally take the shirt off his back and give it to you.”

This story isn’t uncommon. Many of the men and women who became MSCCs in 2017 started from nothing. All of them had some help along the way, and this truth isn’t lost on the next generation. They have voiced their desire for the profession to embrace their duty of being mentors.

Sometimes all it takes to be a part of someone’s journey is to care, and coaches today are looking up to those who have established themselves in the profession for guidance. In some cases, they need a little push in the right direction, and that’s all it takes.

Holly Frantz, Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Tennessee, needed a nudge just to get started as a strength and conditioning coach. After her days as an athlete came to an end, she was offered a graduate assistant position in strength and conditioning on a hunch. Frantz fell in love with the profession and never looked back.

“I think there was something in me that he saw, that I didn’t even know existed,” Frantz says. “Keeping an eye on my own athletes, you can get that sense. This is a role where you are in a leadership position, and it’s more about pushing the envelope and developing other leaders.”

It’s important for coaches to constantly be looking for leadership potential, in both athletes and fellow-coaches.  When Michael Silbernagel, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Mary, began his career, he described himself as a “small-town North Dakota kid.” That was his perception, but now, being a MSCC is the reality.

“I hope I can be for others what my mentors were for me,” Silbernagel says. “I wouldn’t be who I am without them. I do think it’s our responsibility to help these coaches coming up.”

As strength and conditioning coaches, you never know when the next MSCC is going to cross your path or walk into your gym. The goal is to make sure that when they do, there’s somebody waiting to show them the way.

For more information on mentorship, please visit the CSCCa website.

In Part Three of Our Time To Shine, the 2017 Class of MSCCs share some of the values and traditions at their respective programs they are most proud of.