Leopard One pulled into the parking lot at the Radnor Hotel along with some private cars carrying the senior staff of the Lafayette athletic department. Most importantly it was Sherryta Freeman’s debut with a large group of alumni and some parents of student athletes as the new Lafayette Athletic Director. The format was a panel discussion from Jennifer Stone, Head Field Hockey Coach, Kia Damon Head Women’s Basketball Coach, and John Garret Head Football Coach and Ms Freeman.
Freeman stressed to the attentive audience that winning was the first word in the athletic department’s mission. However, they would do it the right way with continuing high graduation rates and with student’s of high character. Coach Garret stressed his 17 year NFL experience, citing that height,weight and speed were not the sole criteria for having a winning team or even being a great professional player. He wants student athletes who love the game and will give 100 pct all the time.
Kia Damon reviewed her challenges in turning the program around, but she wanted her athletes to have a memorable experience. That could be winning but it is also that practices should not be just hard work. She explained how at times she played music at practice to get her team to have fun at practice. She wants a team of leaders not only while at Lafayette but in the future!!
Jennifer Stone the Head Field Hockey Coach pointed out the work and obligations that student athletes have. The requirements on time are far greater for the student athletes than ordinary students but there are great rewards. She mentioned the coming trip to South Africa, stressing the team bonding opportunity and as well the field hockey international experience. It is her goal that every field hockey player gets a chance to play internationally while at Lafayette.
In a conversation with me later, when attendees had a chance to speak individually to the coaches Stone said how pleased she was with the team’ attitude and skill development, mentioning some individuals who have made remarkable progress this spring. The team leaves for South Africa after Memorial Day.
Sherryta Freeman spoke about her planning progress and said in the early months there would be reforms at the edges but expected to see noticeable progress as we embraced the changes she envisions.
Both my wife and I were impressed with the event and can’t wait to see the progress as the fall approaches.