Life of a Fellow
by: James Ketterer, Administrative Fellow/Championships
Welcome back to MAAC: Behind the Logo. My name is James Ketterer, and I am the Administrative Fellow for Championships. I started working with the MAAC in the beginning of August; so far it has been great. I found out that as part of my job I will be attending almost every championship event. How awesome is it to get paid to watch Division I sports or just sports in general?
As part of my job, I have been on two site visits. One was to Saint Peter’s, and one was to Lake Mercer; each was very different. Saint Peter’s is hosting the MAAC Volleyball Championship. This is the first time Saint Peter’s has hosted a conference championship event in a long time. I think Saint Peter’s is more excited about hosting than any one I have ever seen, but then again I have only been here since August.
While on the site visit to Saint Peter’s, we encountered a couple challenges. At past MAAC volleyball championships, the host has had an auxiliary gym for teams to have their warm-up serve and pass, but Saint Peter’s does not have an auxiliary gym. MAAC staff and Saint Peter’s staff went through several options to find a solution; we talked about closing one side of the gym, but, but feared that this would make the gym look unattractive with a giant curtain covering one side. Also that curtain would be the only thing separating the championship court from the student-athletes practicing. Another option we discussed was to rent a volleyball court floor. Saint Peter’s has a bubble on the roof of the Yanitelli Center that is used for tennis, and a portable floor could be placed on top of the tennis courts. The teams would be able to use the portable court as a warm-up space. The third option was to have the teams travel to an off-site location for their warm-ups and serve and pass. With this option, there is always the possibility of an unforeseen delay due to travel time or traffic. With all these possible solutions floating around, the MAAC staff along with help from the volleyball committee will have to come up with a definitive answer prior to the next site visit to Saint Peter’s.
Site visits are also a great way for an intern to network with athletic administrators around the league. Lake Mercer is the site not only for a MAAC Championship, but also a NCAA Championship. Schools from all over the country will be taking part in this event. As part of this site visit, I drove to Philadelphia to meet Larry Hiser, the Director of Athletics at Marietta College in Ohio. Mr. Hiser is a member of the NCAA Rowing Committee. Picking Mr. Hiser up from the airport was a great way to meet a new contact, and to also learn about Marietta College in Ohio and the work Mr. Hiser does for the athletics program. This trip to the airport was a great way to network myself and learn about a sports program outside of the schools in the MAAC.
The next day was the Lake Mercer official site visit. Upon arrival, the first thing I noticed was that the water was extremely high, covering things it probably shouldn’t. Most of the area where people would normally walk, all the seats, and even part of the gazebo were flooded. While sitting in on a meeting with fellow MAAC staff, the NCAA Rowing Committee, and some NCAA staff, we ran into a couple challenges, none of which were serious enough that they couldn’t be solved. For example, one concern was how and where to place the cameras so the wireless relay could cover the race course from start to finish. At this time we decided to take a look at the layout of the race course and where potential cameras could go. After taking a ride out onto the lake we came to a conclusion that it would be best to install floating docks for several cameras, with one moving boat camera to capture all the action of the championship. Working through these obstacles was an easy task when everyone in the room was focused on one thing-running the best possible NCAA Rowing Championship. I think Lake Mercer is the perfect place for the MAAC and the NCAA to work together for a Championship. If you would like a firsthand experience at what the NCAA rowing championship is like, click here.
I am looking forward to working these championships and all of the upcoming MAAC events. My first championship will be the MAAC Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country Championships at Van Cortlandt Park, immediately followed by a trip to the MAAC Men’s Soccer Championship at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. I can’t wait for all the excitement of championship season to start and all the things that come with it.