By Beth Moller
Upper Midwest Athletic Conference titles are won with contributions from many different people including players and coaches. Unbeknownst to many people on the University of Northwestern—St. Paul campus are the contributions made behind the scenes by students in multiple athletic positions including roles such as student manager, statistician, and student athletic trainer. These positions not only contribute to the athletic success of teams such as football, men’s basketball, and baseball, they also prepare students for their careers after graduation.
Behind the scenes at Eagles’ baseball games this year a freshman navigates a new position for the team. Matthew Bauman, a double major in history and social studies education, is filling the role of team statistician and student manager. This is the first time the UNW baseball team has had a student statistician.
“During games, I do two different things,” Bauman said. “I keep stats for Jay Hilbrands and keep stats for the team.”
The stats that Bauman records for Northwestern’s assistant athletic director, Jay Hilbrands, are submitted to the NCAA. He also keeps advanced stats that the team uses to improve themselves during games. Bauman explained what some of his favorite things about the position are.
“I love hanging out with the guys on the team,” he said. “It’s so much fun to be around them and baseball. I’ve loved baseball my whole life.” Bauman added that there are not really any downsides to holding the position of statistician. “It is a big-time commitment, but it’s really fun,” he added.
The head baseball coach, Dave Hieb, is a friend of Bauman’s. They have known each other for Bauman’s entire life as the two go to the same church. Hieb helped Bauman get involved with the baseball team in his position of student manager and statistician.
“Coach Hieb and I talked some last year when I was still in high school about what I could do and he offered me the job and I jumped on it,” Bauman said.
Bauman has a variety of responsibilities related to the position. He helped prepare for the beginning of the season and then took over his current tasks when the season began.
“During the games, my responsibilities are specifically keeping stats for the NCAA. That’s my biggest responsibility. I also keep advanced stats for the team during the game,” he explained. “I also help with pitchers and keep track of how many strikes they are throwing during practice.”
Bauman also helps out during practice by doing whatever is needed including catching fly balls and hitting ground balls for fielding practice. Baseball is one of Bauman’s biggest passions, and he enjoys simply being around the game which makes his position a perfect fit.
“It is something that really intrigued me,” he explained. “I love baseball, and it is one of my passions. I wanted to be able to continue exploring that passion.”
In the future Bauman wants to continue pursuing his baseball passion and possibly coach baseball at a high school or help a school in some form with their baseball program. “I want to always continue to seek my passions and focus on what I enjoy. I also want to build new relationships with new people whether they are older or the same age as me and help them to improve.”
Junior Brendan Reu is a sports management major and played on the men’s basketball team his freshman year. After deciding not to play his sophomore year, Reu approached head coach Tim Grosz about student managing and became one of UNW’s student managers for men’s basketball that year.
“I used it as an internship or practicum,” Reu explained. “I helped with running the clock and the shot clock during practice, filled water bottles, and set things up. At games my role was making sure everything was set up and being on the end of the bench giving input when needed. I also did some film stuff.”
Reu explained some of the benefits of being a student manager. “I enjoyed getting to be around the guys since I played basketball freshman year and was able to grow the relationships. I also have a coaching minor so getting to watch the coaches and gain experience for the future [was helpful].”
One downside to the position for Reu was not getting to play basketball. “[One con] was having to be at every practice but not being able to play. It got kind of boring sitting there without anything to do at times,” Reu added.
Reu believes that his passion for sports and time spent as a student manager have prepared him for things in the future. “Even if I don’t coach, I can apply the skills I learned to other positions. Skills like how to lead other people and interact with coaches and other players,” Reu said. “I’ve always had a love for sports, both playing them and being around them. I’ve always had a passion for being with kids too. I thought [managing] would be something that I would enjoy, and it opens up more opportunities with my major to coach basketball or football,” he added.
Freshman Chloe Gault filled a position other than that of manager this past football season. Gault spend the football season as a student athletic trainer learning how to do taping and other basic athletic training from the men’s head athletic trainer and baseball coach, Dave Hieb.
“I am a kinesiology major with a sports management/pre-athletic training minor,” Gault said. As a student trainer, she traveled with the football team this fall to help prepare the players for their games. Gault said, “[One pro] is getting to work in the field that I am planning on going into in the future. Another pro is being surrounded by godly coaches and players that are respectful and make my job easy and enjoyable.”
The only downside of the job, according to Gault, is the long bus rides for away games. “My advisor is Coach Hieb, and I went into his office first day of fall semester and asked if there was anything I could do to help him and he said, ‘I’ll see you on the football field on Monday,’” Gault explained. “It started with filling water bottles and ended with taping and doing adjusting.”
Her passion for this line of work started back when she was in high school. “In high school I always thought that men were usually athletic trainers, but in my high school the trainer was a mom and a professional,” Gault said. “She inspired me because she always knew the right thing to do and had an instinct for when to pull athletes off the field. She inspired me to do it even though it is a male dominated field.” As she looks forward to her future in the field of athletic training, Gault is thankful for what she has already learned as a student athletic trainer for the Eagles.
“I would like to take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow so that I can take care of athletes and serve them for the glory of God,” she said.