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Winning the Wait: A Conversation with Dave Martin, Director of Athletics

Winning the Wait: A Conversation with Dave Martin, Director of Athletics
Dave Martin, Director of Athletics

Go back to before the fall 2020 semester began and the cancellation of the fall season in late July. What factors went into the decision and how difficult was it for you personally to deliver the news to coaches and student-athletes?

There was no playbook for any of this and throughout the process, (the administration here at our University and the Landmark Conference presidents) were thoughtful, always keeping the safety of our students at the forefront. It was very difficult for me to deliver the news. I know there were some who were frustrated that we waited so long to decide. I felt it was the right move. We waited as long as we could because we had hope that things would get better.

What was done throughout the fall (without sporting events going on) to prepare the department for potential events in the spring semester?

In the fall, we talked to our student-athletes a lot about “winning the wait.”

We were able to develop safety protocols to ensure social distancing, masking and sanitizing could take place so that we could hold some modified practices. We practiced in small groups and did not allow any contact at any of the practices. I give our coaches a lot of credit for putting in the time and effort to give our student-athletes a chance to do something in the fall, where most teams were able to practice 15 to 20 times.

In January, the Landmark Conference passed a plan to play winter sports, then followed with more plans to play fall sports (in March) and spring sports after that. Describe the process that went into making this decision both as a conference and here at the University.

Throughout this entire pandemic, our number one goal was to try to give student-athletes a chance to compete. We wanted to give them a chance to do what they love to do. When the NCAA came out with their resocialization guidelines we spent many hours filtering through them to see if that was something that we would be able to accomplish within our conference. The biggest challenge, as it related to the resocialization guidelines, was the testing protocol. Fortunately for us, we were able to get into an agreement with a local laboratory, which made the testing a reality.

What was the most rewarding part of the job over what was a very difficult period?

The most rewarding part of the year was, without question, having the opportunity to watch our student-athletes compete. When our baseball team won the Landmark Conference Championship, I literally had tears in my eyes watching them celebrate! Had we not worked so hard to get to that point, those young men would’ve never had that experience and they would never have those memories! That made an extremely difficult and long year all worthwhile.

Read more from Martin, here.
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