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Summer proves a busy time for EMU athletic department

emu-sports-newAlong with the busy summer upgrading two of EMU’s athletic fields, there have been a number of changes inside the Eastern Mennonite Athletic Department as well.  With new faces in some places and familiar faces adding new places, the Royals athletic program is poised for a new era, which includes graduate assistants.

Phil Guengerich retired at the end of June as the Athletic Events Coordinator, in charge of event management that included concessions, work study students, scoreboard operation and laundry.  He also was responsible for advertising.  For a variety of financial reasons, Guengerich is not being replaced with one person but his responsibilities will be spread among other staff.

J.D. McCurdy, head softball coach, has been named Director of Athletic Marketing assuming Guengerich’s responsibilities with advertisers and expanding the scope of possibilities for businesses to partner with EMU athletics.  McCurdy’s combined position now reaches 3/4 time so he can spend more time on campus as he transitions out of his insurance business over the next year.

Kevin Griffin, head women’s basketball coach, has assumed the responsibility of hiring, training, managing and scheduling the athletic events work study students.  He will also be identifying team leaders from among the students to assist with training and management.

An exciting new facet this fall comes with the approval of a graduate assistantship program.  Four graduate assistants have been or will be hired to serve as assistant coaches for a specific sport as well as assuming additional duties related to game management, which was another piece of Guengerich’s position.  EMU will have graduate assistants in women’s basketball, women’s soccer, field hockey and baseball.

Jordon Smucker, a recent graduate of Binghamton University and enrolled in the MBA program, will serve as the baseball assistant and head up the concessions.  Sarah Roth-Shenk, an EMU grad and enrolled in the Conflict Transformation program, will be the GA for field hockey.  Interviews are currently underway for the women’s soccer and women’s basketball GA positions.

There is a lot of excitement about what these young people will bring to EMU’s Athletic Department as well as the representation of EMU they will be in their respective graduate programs.  The GA’s, along with Melvin Felix, assistant coach for men’s basketball, and Britten Olinger, assistant coach for cross country and track and field, will assume responsibility for overseeing game management and supervising work study students.  Out-of-season head coaches will also be assisting in game management.

As was announced last week, Dominick Porter has been hired as the new men’s volleyball coach.  He will be working half time at the school while also continuing his employment as a coach bus driver with Blue Ridge Tours out of Massanutten Resort.  Justin Reesor, another recent alum, will be serving as Porter’s assistant coach.

Another change quickly obvious to anyone who walks into the athletic suite will be the departure of Lucinda Schlabach as Office Coordinator for Athletics and Physical Education.  On August 1 she started her new job as Office Coordinator for EMU’s Weaver Wellness Center.  Joan (Joni) Baughman will begin on August 7 as Administrative Assistant for Athletics and Physical Education.  Baughman is currently working in the Admissions Office as Assistant Director of Operations.  Her position in Athletics will likely continue to evolve as changes continue to the department.

Also this summer, the turf field upgraded to a new set of bleachers, which can seat up to 1,000 spectators.  Later this month, the baseball field is set to receive a new infield.

With the flip of the calendar to August, the 2013-14 school year is merely weeks away.  The Royals’ first sporting events are Friday, August 30, as cross country, field hockey, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer are all in action.

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