Enhancing the Student-Athlete Experience the Marysville Way
In the Marysville Athletic Department, we talk a lot about our purpose in interscholastic athletics and why we do what we do, and there is a huge emphasis on the student-athlete experience.
For most, the four years that student-athletes have to compete in athletics will be their last. We believe our goal is to make those four years the most memorable and rewarding they can be. This doesn’t just happen in the outcomes of competition but also in the relationships that are built, the atmosphere at our events, and how regardless of their position on a team, our student-athletes feel valued and gain something from their time as a Monarch.The motto I work to instill in our department is #BeTheBenchmark, which simply means we want to be the standard that others are striving to achieve.
In 2019, we were completing a facility renovation of our outdoor stadium that, when completed, would hold football, soccer, lacrosse. And adjacent to it, a separate track & field stadium. The target date for completion was the beginning of August, in plenty of time before boys and girls soccer and football were to begin their fall seasons. With a multitude of construction setbacks, that completion date became much later than we anticipated. In fact, we did not get the green light to utilize the facility until the first week of October (Week 7 of the football season).
We knew we needed to do everything possible to provide a great experience for our students, teams, and families so we met with our student section leaders as well as some of our student-athletes to devise a plan on how to show school pride and still have the buzz around our events. This included a planned theme for each contest, student section apparel, school transportation for those kids who couldn’t drive to away games, and social media content to celebrate the fun activities planned to gain the interest of the student body.
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Our first two home games became “home away from home” contests at neutral sites in Central Ohio, and we rallied our students and community to bring Marysville to wherever we were. Our average student section for those games and the entire season for football was more than 350. We saw our student body rally behind their peers in a way that had never been seen before, carrying over into the winter season as well. We impressed enough people around the state of Ohio to earn the Div. I OHSAA Golden Megaphone, which is awarded to the top student sections in the state as well as the Raising Cane’s “Canes For The Win” Challenge, that was awarded to the top student section in Central Ohio.
Despite the challenges faced, our goal was to make the student-athlete experience a rewarding one and we believe we achieved that.
Joey Day, CAA, is the director of athletics at Marysville (OH) High School. Day was Coach & Athletic Director’s May honoree for the Sports Under 40 award. To nominate a worthy sports industry professional, click here.