Joshua Mabry, Campus Carrier Sports Editor
Senior student athletes have big plans for their lives after graduation. These three shared the impact that Berry had on them.
Senior William Gibbons, right-handed pitcher on the baseball team, will begin an internship for a graduate assistant position at Shorter University in Rome once he graduates.
“I will be a graduate assistant for them in the strength and conditioning department,” Gibbons said. “I will take classes and get my (Master of Business Administration).”
Gibbons said that he is currently interning at Shorter and he really enjoys it.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s what I want to do, so it’s a good way to get started,” Gibbons said.
Trey Kilgore, director of strength and conditioning at Shorter, knows several people and is very good at networking, according to Gibbons. He said that he hopes Kilgore can help him get connected with other groups.
After completing the graduate assistant position at Shorter, Gibbons said that he should be in a good position to get an assistantship or a director’s position at a larger school.
Gibbons said that the best part of his future endeavors will be having the opportunity to work with student athletes.
“I’ve always wanted to work with athletes because both of my parents are coaches,” Gibbons said. “Being able to get them stronger, get them better, hopefully improving their skill work and trying to get them some wins under their belt.”
In the baseball weight room at Berry, Gibbons said that he is the team’s guy.
“I’m really energetic, use a lot of feedback from other guys on what they like to hear and what they don’t like to hear,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons said that this idea can be used not only in the weight room but also in leadership positions.
It is important to know how people are going to react to the way that you talk to them in certain situations and knowing this can be beneficial in the workplace, according to Gibbons.
Gibbons said that the camaraderie of the baseball team is what he is going to miss the most about being at Berry.
“It’s sad that it’s already starting to come to an end,” Gibbons said. “Hopefully we can win a couple more games. Just being out there with the guys every day grinding, doing what we do, having fun, competing, winning games. I’m definitely going to miss it.”
Senior Derrell Mims, defensive back on the football team and track and field runner, is actively involved with Campus Outreach and will stay involved with the ministry once he graduates from Berry.
Campus Outreach glorifies God by telling people about Him, teaching them about quiet times and teaching them about a true relationship with Him, according to Mims.
“I’m hoping I’ll be back at Berry so I can work directly with the football team and track team,” Mims said.
This summer, Mims said that he is going to intern at the Summer Beach Project with Campus Outreach as a team leader.
Mims said that he feels more prepared for life after graduation because of athletics.
“For one, it has taught me a lot of discipline, waking up on time, time management and making sure things are done before I can go play,” Mims said.
Mims said that he also has learned to go to bed early because he often has to be up at 5:30 a.m. for football practice.
Even though the football team has had much success during Mims’ time at Berry, he said that this is not his favorite part of his time at Berry.
“With the football and track team, the part that I love the most is the brotherhood and also the sisterhood on the track team,” Mims said. “Getting to be around people, love on people and getting to show them that it’s bigger than just sports and having those people play an instrumental part in my life.”
The family atmosphere is what Mims is going to miss the most about Berry.
“Walking around, people are just speaking with a smile on their face even if they are having a bad day,” Mims said. “They just generally care about you. There are plenty of teammates, regular students or staff members that I can go talk to on a daily basis. I’m going to miss the people the most and of course, the deer.”
Senior Sarah Sprague, outside hitter on the volleyball team, said that she has been accepted into a doctorate of physical therapy program at the University of St. Augustine in the Miami area.
“I will be heading there six days after graduation to start my career,” Sprague said.
Sprague said that what she enjoys the most about Berry is the fact that the college prepares its students for life.
“They give them the aspect of what it’s like to have a job but also the responsibilities of academics,” Sprague said. “From the standpoint of volleyball, (Head Coach Caitlyn Moriarty) and (Assistant Coach JT Oates) have done an excellent job at creating our program.”
The coaches want the volleyball players to be leaders in the community as well people who selflessly want to serve others, according to Sprague.
She said that this has been a huge impact on her decision to become a physical therapist.
Sprague said that even though volleyball is big, it is not the most important thing, especially at a Division III college like Berry.
“You come here to build a person and not necessarily a program,” Sprague said. “Our mission statement is something that really highlights the program. It’s nurturing growth in our community and creating people who pursue excellence on the court and off the court.”
Sprague said that her relationships with others is what she is going to miss most about Berry.
“I’ll still stay in touch with the majority of them, but it’s not being able to walk down the hall and have someone to talk to or probably the bus rides and really getting to know these girls from me as a senior to connecting with the freshmen or when I was a freshmen connecting with seniors,” Sprague said.
The volleyball program creates lifelong friendships, according to Sprague.
She said that she has been to many weddings for other volleyball players who have graduated, and even alumni before she came to Berry.
Sprague said that, as a whole, she is going to miss the community that Berry has.
“Being able to walk in my faculty and staff’s offices or people I’m close with asking for advice or having people really support the opportunities that I want to do,” Sprague said.
Sprague said that Michael McElveen, assistant dean of student wellness, was an instrumental part of her pursuing a doctorate of physical therapy.
The best part of Berry in general was being able to travel to many different locations with the volleyball team and getting to become friends with people she never thought she would be friends with, Sprague said.
“I’m going to miss the home I created here,” Sprague said.