Richard Glas, Concordia’s new athletic director, is making his presence known both in and out of Concordia’s athletic facilities this year, and he has high hopes for the future of Cobber sports.  His vision begins with the involvement of the entire student body and ends only when Concordia can count itself as one of the top schools for athletics in the MIAC, above St. Thomas, Gustavus , Saint Benedict and St. Johns  and St. Olaf .

In order to share his vision for the athletic program with the athletes themselves, upwards of 700 students, Glas held a massive meeting in Memorial Auditorium for all Concordia sports teams. Usually the athletic director only holds a meeting with coaches at the beginning of the year to discuss goals, needs, and visions for the upcoming seasons. This was the first time in Glas’ memory that student athletes have been invited to the conversation.

During the meeting, Glas talked about attitude and vision, saying that for his vision to come true, every single student has to have pride in Concordia’s entire athletic program, not just one team.  Each year, the MIAC awards the All Sports Trophy, a competition that adds up the final finishes of all men’s and women’s sports by school.  Glas shared that last year, Concordia came in fourth for the women’s competition and seventh for the men’s.  Glas’ vision is about working toward that trophy, and he’s asking Concordia students to work together to get there by supporting each other.

Football captains and seniors Brett Baune, Reed Hefta, Matt Moenkedick and Tom Quist said that Glas should hold that meeting every year.

“He’s excited, and it’s great just to get everybody involved,” Reed said.

Reed and the rest of the team said they have already seen the impact of Glas’ call to action.  The men’s basketball team showed up in full force to support the very first football game of the season at Jamestown, Moenkedick said, and the men’s and women’s cross country teams stayed at St. Olaf after their meet last Saturday to support Cobber football against the Oles.  Baune said that he was pretty sure there were more Cobber fans than Ole fans in the stadium.  Quist said that having support from other students in creating a strong home team atmosphere gives them an edge.

“It made the game more enjoyable.  We went in there and we owned the place,” Baune said.

Marv Roeske, the women’s cross country head coach, said that it was a unanimous decision from all of his runners to stay, inspired by Glas’ vision.

Roeske said that rather than trying to change the way he coaches, Glas’ vision of advancement and involvement reinforces it.  He said that Glas is working hard to give each team the opportunity to go to the next level, and that he’s listening to coaches’ needs too, giving them the tools they need to build a better team.

“It’s like Rich is saying ‘I’ve got your back’,” Roeske said.

According to Emily Royer, a junior cross country runner and member of the marketing club, Glas has the backs of non-athlete students as well.  Glas has been working with the marketing club and the business school to devise ways of drawing students who are not already involved in the athletic program to athletic events.

She said that Glas has plans to revive the “Cob Mob” of the 80s, a larger version of Cobber Nation that involves the entire student section at all games.  The marketing club has designed a T-shirt based on the iconic cover of the movie “The Godfather,” and Glas will make the first 200 of these shirts available for students for free at games this year.

Royer said that Glas also has plans for a punch card to be distributed to each student.  Each game a student attends merits a punch, and after ten punches the card-holder’s name is entered into a drawing for fabulous prizes, from a flat screen TV to a free May seminar.  Glas is also drawing up plans with the marketing club to publicize half time entertainment, such as a tug-of-war match between sports at a football halftime, or a free throw competition at a basketball halftime.  Royer said we can expect to see Glas’ plans come to fruition this week.  Glas wants to see stands filled at all of Concordia’s games.

“Why can’t we have a crowd like Duke in basketball?” Glas said.

But he is also hoping the enjoyment and support for games spills out into other aspects of Concordia.  Glas said wants there to be students lining up to get into plays and concerts; he wants the entire campus to be involved in all events, not just the athletic department.

Glas said that his vision is about students and athletes being the best that they can be.  He said that eventually the wins and losses disappear, and in the end it’s about working hard to excel regardless of the involvement you’ve chosen, be it sports, music, art or athletics.

“It comes down to your heart and your mind.—your dedication, your focus and toughness,” Glas said.

Glas said that he hopes the excitement from his vision that he shared with the sports teams, marketing club and business school carries on throughout campus for the rest the year.

“It has to be their vision, too, for mine to occur,” Glas said.

 

 

Manda Bertrand

Class of 2013. Journalism/French major. Dance Team, Chapel Choir, Habitat for Humanity.

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