Belmont Athletics, along with corporate sponsor Cowan Benefit Services, has initiated a “guest coach” program at men’s home basketball games to honor a Belmont faculty or staff member.
The honorees are selected through a nomination process done by SGA where Congress members are invited to suggest a nominee and discuss what impact the individual has on the Belmont community and why he or she should be chosen. Congress then decides on that week’s Guest Coach recipient.
SGA President Rachel McNabb said, “It is such a rewarding moment to be able to reflect and share stories as to how so many professors have impacted the lives of Belmont students. I know that myself, Cabinet and Congress feel blessed to have the opportunity to give back to our professors in such a small but significant way. “
Director of Athletic Marketing Jimmy Frush said that the main objective of this program is to do something that publicly recognizes what faculty and staff do on a daily basis for their students. The recipient is joined on the court by an SGA member to be recognized before the starting line up and receives a block of tickets to the game, a T-shirt and a basketball signed by both coaches Rick Byrd and Brittney Ezell.
Dr. David Julseth, chair of Belmont’s department of foreign langugage, was honored at the 2011 game against Trevecca, and Dr. Julseth said being presented was one of his favorite parts of the 2011 semester, especially because the nomination came from students.
When asked about his advice for Coach Byrd, Dr. Julseth said, “I attribute our overwhelming win against Trevecca (86-61) to the fact that, as guest coach, I cheered from a safe distance and let Coach Byrd do his job.”
Upcoming honorees include Amy Hodges Hamilton (Jan. 28), Mary Rau-Foster (Jan. 30) and Thom Storey (Feb. 6).
Past honorees for both the 2011-2012 and 2010-2011 seasons have included David Julseth, Bob Byrd, Sue Trout, Jeff Cornwall, Don Purdy, Nathan Griffith, Robert Lambert, Sarah Ann Fleming, Regine Schwarzmeier, Beth Woodard, John Gonas, Vaughn May, Harold Fogelberg, Colonel James Cook, Mike Pinter, Joseph Byrne and Shelly North.