Thursday, February 17, 2011

Five Minutes With ...

Throughout the 2010-11 academic year, the North Coast Athletic Conference will give you an in-depth look into the lives of the student-athletes, administrators and faculty members of the conference who epitomize what it means to compete, study and educate at the NCAA Div. III level. We hope that this feature will help people gain a better understanding of why individuals have decided to make NCAA Div. III a cornerstone of their life.


Name/Institution: Ali Teopas/Wittenberg University

Title: Assistant Athletic Director

Education: B.A from Denison University, 2008 (Go Big Red!)
M.S from University of Dayton, 2011

• Why did you choose to work at a NCAA Division III institution?

AT: After graduating from Denison, I really thought I wanted to work in Major League Baseball. While interning with the Detroit Tigers, I realized I missed being on a college campus and working with student-athletes. When I read about this great opportunity at Wittenberg, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the North Coast Athletic Conference again. I’m back and loving it!

• If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?

AT: I would love to trade places with Jack Hanna for a day. I love to take care of and interact with animals. I’ve had turtles, guinea pigs, frogs, newts, hamsters, fish, lizards…the list goes on. I always tune in when Jack Hanna is on any television talk show.

• How would you most accurately describe or define the ideals on which the NCAA Div. III was founded?

AT: I really believe that Division III was founded for the student-athlete. Division III embodies what it means to be a well-rounded person. Division III student-athletes are able to play the sport(s) they love while they receive an excellent education that will allow them to excel in the real world. The new identity initiative, Discover Develop Dedicate, accurately describes a Division III student-athlete. They discover who they are, develop who they want to be and they dedicate themselves to their goals.

• People may be surprised to know that ……

AT: I taught Outdoor Education classes and I love to fish. I can bait and take a fish off the hook with my bare hands.

• How has your experience been in making sure that student-athletes have a proper balance among athletics and academics at your Wittenberg?

AT: At Wittenberg, our focus is on balance and our mission is wholeness of person. With the program I’ve been developing, the Tiger GAME Plan, we embrace that our student-athletes can be balanced as well as well-rounded in their athletic and academic endeavors. We want our student-athletes to go on geology field trips and travel abroad while being able to balance their academic and athletic schedules.

• If you are stranded on an island, you would like to be with ……

AT: I would like to be stranded with Macgyver because he would figure a way to get off the island using random objects like a rubber band, paper clip and some pocket lint. Bottom line…we wouldn’t be stranded for long☺

• Are there any major obstacles that you’ve had to overcome when dealing with Div. III athletics?

AT: I think the major obstacles that I’ve had to overcome when dealing with Division III athletics is educating people about Division III and what it truly means to be a Div. III student-athlete. The general population has a lot of misconceptions of Division III.

• Do you have any hidden talents that very few people know about?

AT: I can moonwalk just like Michael Jackson.

• How did your collegiate experience help to prepare you to be an administrator at the Div. III level?

AT: My collegiate experience is why I’m an administrator today. At Denison, Lynn Schweizer, Associate Athletic Director, was my academic advisor as well as the advisor for the Denison Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (DSAAC). During my four years, I spent a lot of time working with Lynn and I gradually took an interest in her administrative position. By being a student-athlete and President of DSAAC and the NCAC SAAC, I enhanced my leadership qualities by attending NCAC meetings, taking part in a NCAA student-athlete leadership conference, and running bi-monthly DSAAC meetings. I wouldn’t trade anything for my great experience as a softball student-athlete for the Big Red. I can cherish all the memories, conference tournaments, trips to regionals and our personal graduation that the athletic department put together for us when we missed graduation. A graduation like that would only happen at a Division III institution.

• What has been your most memorable moment in your administrative career at Wittenberg?

AT: My most memorable moment is still in the works. I will be very proud when my new student-athlete program, Tiger GAME plan, is officially rolled out this spring!

• What are the toughest issues facing Div. III athletes in today’s world?

AT: The toughest issues facing Div. III athletes today is keeping up with the rigorous academic schedule they must keep in addition to the demanding training and competition schedules for athletics.

What’s currently playing on your I-Pod?

AT: Well my I-Pod’s got almost every genre possible. I’m really hip to the Katy Perry channel on Pandora and Sirius Hits 1. My mom has proudly educated me on what good music is☺

• What do you feel are the most rewarding aspects of being a college administrator at the Div. III level, and what may be some of the least rewarding aspects of the job?

AT: The most rewarding aspects of being a college administrator would be working with student-athletes and seeing them succeed. I love giving student-athletes career advice, helping them learn a new skill and being a part of their A-Ha moments. It is never a dull moment in college athletics. As for the least rewarding aspects….weekends, what weekends…we work almost 7 days a week….but that’s why I do what I do. I love it!

• What is your most prized possession?

AT: My most prized possessions are memories of great times with family, friends and teammates. I really cherish the time I spend with loved ones.

• What are some of the life lessons that you believe student athletes can learn by competing at the Div. III level?

AT: The life lessons are endless. As Division III student-athletes, we can do it all! Division III student-athletes go to classes, practice, have a work study job, study for classes, are members of clubs, are being published, all while kicking butt in the classroom and on the playing field, court, track or pool.

• What would be your advice for someone that is considering enrolling as a student-athlete at a NCAA Div. III institution?

AT: The best decision you’ll ever make. My decision to go to a Denison changed my life. It opened many doors for me to explore and find myself during my four years on campus. You’re not just a number; you’re a person that can make a difference.

• How would you best describe your normal day as an administrator at the Div. III level?

AT: As an administrator, you never live the same day twice. I usually come to work with two outfits- casual/dress clothes and something to work out in. You never know when you have to hang signs, toss a student-athlete a bucket of balls or shovel snow.

1 comment:

Caleb Chase said...

• Do you have any hidden talents that very few people know about?

AT: I can moonwalk just like Michael Jackson.

I love it!! Nice interview...nice blog.

Caleb Chase