The 7th Annual Student Summer Success Series kicked off Tuesday night via Zoom, and it continues this evening and tomorrow, featuring a number of collegiate coaches and leaders, including Bahamians, along with international athletic directors. They will be engaging in sessions about the process for student-athletes abroad and coaching through the new coronavirus crisis.
The seminar will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and the four-day series wraps up on Friday.
On the panel for the student-athlete portion of the series are eight persons – five of whom are Bahamians. The Bahamian panelists are legendary athlete-turned-coach Chris Brown; Dr. Stephany Coakley; women’s basketball coach Yolett “Coach Yo” McPhee-McCuin; volleyball coach Edric Poitier; and University of The Bahamas (UB) Athletic Director (AD) Kimberley Rolle. Tara Owens, Shawn Trochim and Albert Roche are the only three panelists for that portion of the series who are not Bahamian.
Poitier is head volleyball coach for the Florida State College at Jacksonville BlueWave. The BlueWave compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
“I am excited to be a part of the seminar. It gives me an opportunity to help our kids with some of the tools necessary to becoming a student-athlete,” Poitier said.
Poitier coached The Bahamas senior men’s national volleyball team from 1992 to 1999, leading them to two gold and two silver medals at the Caribbean Volleyball Championships (CVC).
Poitier said he plans to present on the advantages of considering a junior college as opposed to a four-year school.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, he said, he has kept in touch with his team. As a result of the pandemic, a number of fall sports have been cancelled or the seasons have been shortened, including volleyball.
Right here at home, UB AD Rolle is looking forward to being a part of the panel.
“I am looking forward to the round table discussion because you have a number of persons throughout the United States, Canada and The Bahamas who will be participating and sharing ideas and insights,” she said. “This is an opportunity to learn from them as well as them from us about how we are managing during this pandemic and how best to stay student-centric. I think that it is going to be very interesting – to see what others bring to the table and to share and deliberate on those ideas. At the end of the day, the goal is to be able to provide the best experience for our student-athletes, given the conditions,” she added.
As far as keeping her department motivated is concerned, Rolle said it is a daunting task because sports is physical in nature. In addition, she stated that they have a phased approach, which includes ensuring that student-athletes and staff are protected, as they take the necessary precautions in small, incremental steps.
McPhee-McCuin is the head women’s basketball coach for University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels. She is the daughter of legendary Bahamian basketball Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee. The Rebels play in a tough Southeastern Conference (SEC) in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Brown is an Olympian and one of the most formidable Bahamian runners of all-time in the 400 meters (m). He is head coach of the track and field team at Clayton State University. The Clayton State Lakers compete in Division II of the NCAA. Coakley is the senior associate athletic director, and specializes in mental health, at Temple University, which competes in Division I in the NCAA. She will touch on the mental aspects of student-athletes.
Poitier, Rolle, McPhee-McCuin and Brown were all former collegiate student-athletes.
Roche is the AD at Holland College on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Owens is the AD at Central State University. Rounding out the eight panelists is Trochim, who has Bahamian roots. She is the AD at McLennan College. All three of these schools have a number of Bahamians on campus.
Global College Access and Ballin’ by da Beach are uniting efforts, along with their sponsor, the University of the Ozarks, to put on the series for the four nights. High school students, student-athletes, parents, coaches, guidance counselors and educational stakeholders have a unique opportunity to connect with university presidents, athletic directors, coaches and college admissions leaders.
The co-hosts are Global College Access’ Monique Hinsey and Ballin’ by da Beach’s Jurelle Mullings.
“When selecting the panel, we definitely wanted to speak to leaders in the field. It was particularly important that we had Bahamian leaders in the field. They would be able to speak to the unique experiences of an international student-athlete not only from a coaching standpoint or athletic director standpoint but they were once student-athletes,” Mullings said. “I definitely wanted it to be a source of inspiration to our student-athletes, so they can know that even beyond your playing time, there is still opportunities for you and they get to talk to them first-hand.”
In addition to the areas of discussion mentioned, Mullings said they will also be touching on what successful preparation for college looks like, pre- and post-COVID-19; what they can do to stand out and distinguish themselves, especially during this time when in-person recruiting is limited; and what universities are doing to prepare athletes for post-collegiate life.
Mullings is also the co-ordinator of the Student-Athlete Resources and Support (STARS) Programme in the Ministry of Education.
Tonight’s session, which starts at 6 p.m., will focus on “executing the change”, in which the panel will include representatives from the University of Ozarks, Johnson and Wales University, King’s University, the University of Central Arkansas, Saint Leo University and Georgia State University.
The series will be held via Zoom nightly from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. To register for the virtual series, interested persons are asked to please visit the website studentsummersuccess.com.