Obie Athletes Stick Around as Coaches

Molly Bloom, Staff Writer

Student-athletes at Oberlin are only granted four years of eligibility under NCAA regulations, and very few Yeomen and Yeowomen have the opportunity to continue their athletic careers in a professional setting. But five former Yeomen have found a way to make careers out of the sports they love — these individuals continue to contribute to Oberlin athletics by working as assistant coaches on various sports teams.

David Wilson, OC ’06, returned to Oberlin to coach soccer after a stint with a pharmaceutical company; John Hepp, OC ’07, accepted a position as the throwing coach for the track and field team in addition to working for the Department of Residential Education; Greg Mangan, OC ’09, and Mike Law, OC ’11, are on the football staff, working with quarterbacks and running backs, respectively; and Brandon Cantrill, OC ’11, was named the assistant baseball coach at the beginning of this academic year.

The still-fresh experience of being a student-athlete at Oberlin gives these coaches a unique perspective when it comes to relating to their players. “You know what the kids are going through,” Cantrill said. “They have exams, they have classes, they have other things going on and are putting a lot of stress on their academics as well as their sport.”

“When you think about what a student-athlete goes through during the day, you realize, having gone here, that you have to set certain expectations and not be unrealistic,” Mangan added.

It also gives the coaches an advantage while recruiting future student-athletes for their teams. “When I chose Oberlin, I was willing to put everything into being here for four years,” Cantrill said. “Recruiting was easier because I was selling something that I had already bought into.”

“Now you’re removed from student life, but you still appreciate what the school offers academically and socially,” Mangan said. “When recruiting, you’re just talking passionately about your experiences.”

Oberlin College has clearly stayed with these coaches, drawing them back even after they graduate, and they now want to pass their rewarding experiences as student-athletes on through their coaching.

“Once you graduate and you have a chance to experience outside aspects, there are certain elements of the Oberlin experience that you miss and it is a unique opportunity to come back into the community,” Hepp said. “The inclusivity, community, history of the school, an eclectic set of people ? there’s a combination of things you can’t find anywhere else. We have the opportunity to work with students who come here and see them experience what we experienced.”

“The student-athletes that we work with every day are different from other schools in this area. Oberlin is very unique and that’s why we’re back ? we all enjoy it,” Law added.

For these Yeomen, four years at Oberlin was not quite enough. Through coaching, their enthusiasm for Oberlin athletics will instill the same passion into the current student-athletes and, hopefully, create the Oberlin experience that they all still value.