Written by Julia Fischer for CUWFalcons.com
Today students are encouraged to further their education after high school, as the professional workforce seeks candidates with bachelor's degree or upwards of a doctorate degree, at times. At Concordia University Wisconsin, faculty and staff are encouraged to continue their education as well. Many of our coaches within the athletic department have taken this step to further their education, going above and beyond.
For Men and Women's Tennis head coach Steve Anschutz, Women's Basketball head coach Stacey Brunner-Jones and Wrestling head coach Corey VanGroll furthering their education was not only helpful for them on a personal level, but also in their positions as coaches and mentors for their student-athletes.
Anschutz obtained his MBA in sports management from CUW, although the degree he was studying for should have taken him two years to complete, his hard work allowed him to earn his degree in less than a year.
"I earned my master's degree in sports management because a lot of the courses I would take in order to earn my MBA would be skillful in my career, like knowing how to oversee a budget or information about fundraising," Anschutz said.
Brunner-Jones earned her master's degree from Loras College, located in Dubuque, Iowa. She was a graduate assistant at Loras which motivated her to get her degree so she could coach at the collegiate level. Her degree was in athletic administration and because of her academic knowledge she is also the associate athletic director, senior women's administrator and compliance coordinator at CUW.
VanGroll graduated with a bachelor's degree in fitness management and a minor in sport management at UW-Parkside. He continued his education his master's degree in higher education at Iowa State University. The Falcons wrestling leader didn't stop his quest for knowledge and furthered his education by receiving a Ph.D. in sports psychology.
"When I earned my degrees there wasn't really an outside factor pushing me to get them; but it was me looking out for my future and making sure I would have plenty of opportunities for coaching, as well as maybe moving up within CUW in the future," VanGroll stated.
Not only did their degrees help them with different aspects of coaching, it also helped them better understand their student-athletes and answer questions asked of them. For Anschutz and VanGroll going back to school as adults helped them become more disciplined in their studies, as they had to juggle a full-time head coaching position, their personal lives and the added demands to schooling.
"When I was earning my master's degree I had my current coaching position, homework and classes, as well as my home life to balance," Anschutz expressed of the stressful times. "Going back to school helped me realize how difficult homework is, and how classes and homework combined can be a lot of work."
"I remember being a graduate assistant coach and having to leave practice to attend one of my graduate classes," Brunner-Jones said reflecting on trying to balance her passions of basketball and academics. "The conflict of practice and classes is something our student-athletes have to deal with quite a lot here, so helping them manage what is supposed to come first, which is academics, is something that I am able to recognize because I went through that conflict as well."
As coaches, it's important to set standards for themselves as they are mentors and leaders for their respective programs. For these coaches and all coaches with the athletic department, furthering their education is important to show their student-athletes how vital education is and how it can benefit them as they graduate and start life in the professional world.
"I've always told my students and my athletes that their education is important," VanGroll said about teaching classes at CUW and when talking with his wrestlers. "Since I furthered my education to such a high level, there is an expectation that I have for my student-athletes to take their education seriously, because education is one of the most important tools they will have after they graduate."
All throughout the athletic department and across the campus, CUW's faculty and staff are furthering their education. As mentors, coaches and instructors it is important to lead by example and these three coaches, as well as many others, are setting an impressive example for their student-athletes as well as other students that approach them. They have worked hard in order to be the best they can be for their programs and the University.