In the Locker Room with Khalil Rivers and Sarah Feinberg


Bryan Rubin

Khalil Rivers (left) and Sarah Feinberg

Jackie McDermott, Sports Editor

This week, the Review sat down with Sarah Feinberg and Khalil Rivers, newly-appointed student members of the Heisman Club board, to discuss the organization’s impact on campus and its desire to serve Oberlin athletics.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How did you get involved in the Heisman Club?

Khalil Rivers: [Delta Lodge Director of Athletics] Natalie [Winkelfoos] had actually recommended me to [Heisman Club board member] Carla [Freyvogel (OC ’79)]. Carla said she would like my opinion on what’s happening here, what alumni can do better and what we might need.

Sarah Feinberg: I’m a two-sport athlete. I’m a sophomore but I’m on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and I’m one of two public relations officers. So it was a good way to have somebody [on the Club board] connected to SAAC that wouldn’t be leaving next year, because a lot of the SAAC officers are seniors.

What will your duties be as Heisman Club student board members?

 SF: I think the biggest thing that they’re having us do is be the voice for and the connection to students. The Heisman Club [members are] a little disconnected. They were Oberlin athletes. They love Oberlin athletics — that’s why they’re part of it. But many of them also don’t know everything that’s going on right now because they do have some distance from Oberlin, so I think we’re their eyes and ears.

What’s your impression of the Heisman Club’s impact on campus and how it could improve?

KR: I think [it has] a big impact. When we report that [sports teams] need new uniforms, new football equipment, I think that’s often where the funds come from.

SF: I think athletics are rebooting at Oberlin and I think that the [members of the board] have a huge part in that. Not only are they recreating the image of being an Oberlin athlete, they’re remaking the financial backing that we have as an athletic department at this school. They want to be part of our lives as student-athletes so that when we graduate we’re grateful for the Heisman Club and we want to give back.

How do you think you two can help more students become aware of the Heisman Club’s work and mission?

KR: I think just telling the team about what the Heisman Club is and if the football players think our equipment needs to be updated, they tell me and I’ll go tell the Heisman board — just making sure its presence is known on the football team and among the coaching staff.

SF: I think I have a really great opportunity in my connection with SAAC. Once we get our SAAC meetings going regularly, I’d like, at some point in each monthly meeting, to ask if there’s anything people are thinking of to mention to the Heisman Club. I think that [the board] seems like this really big, far away entity. But just from our friends knowing that we’re on it, people are already more comfortable with it and want to talk about it more.

Can you explain in your own words what the Heisman Club does?

KR: It’s a group of alumni that are still heavily active, not only in Oberlin’s athletic circle, but just in Oberlin life in general. They gather information and ideas and then create funds for different projects.

SF: I think they want to see how they can better the Oberlin athletics alumni network and student life on campus. The Heisman Club is working to make connections with people that aren’t just from the same graduation year. Their common bond is that they love Oberlin athletics. So I think, while the financial part is what gets the attention, these people are donating because they love Oberlin athletics.

What about your experience as Oberlin athletes has made you want to serve on the Heisman board?

KR: I was very heavily recruited. [Head football] Coach [Jay] Anderson came directly to my high school and talked to my parents a lot. The coaches are very family-oriented and very active in how they do things. The relationships the coaches have with their players is a big part of why I came here.

SF: I definitely had a similar experience with recruiting. [Head women’s basketball] Coach [Kerry] Jenkins was awesome. On my recruiting visit, it was so clear that the team cared about bringing in recruits that would buy into trying to win championships, but also the idea that your team is your family. I think that our Athletic Department allows that camaraderie and fosters it. It’s not put on the back burner.

Do you think you’ll stay involved with the Heisman Club and/or Oberlin athletics in general when you graduate?

KR: Absolutely. One of my favorite parts about the football team is how involved players are, even after they leave. We’ve already had plenty of alumni come back and watch our games. I definitely want to continue that tradition.

SF: I would love to always be a part of Oberlin athletics.


Interview by Jackie McDermott, Sports editor