McDaniel College recently hired a new Athletic Director, Paul Moyer, whom I had the opportunity to interview. Moyer, from our initial interaction, comes off as a genuine people person. He has a positive energy that is uplifting, an air of excitement that draws you in, and a focus that I would attribute not only to his years of working as an Athletic Director, but also to his years as an athlete and coach.
Moyer, who played both soccer and baseball since youth and though his college years, also served as the Men’s Soccer coach at the University of Chicago, Manhattanville College, and Catholic University, where he coached Women’s Golf and Soccer.
Moyer contributed time and skill at the professional level as well. He spent time with the Washington Bullets (now the Washington Wizards), Team America Soccer, and served on the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. After having worked in both fields, Moyer says that there is no other experience comparable to working at the college level, and we are fortunate to have him.
It is clear from our interview that Moyer has plans to create change within the Athletic Department and although exact details were not disclosed, it is apparent that we are heading in a positive direction. When asked how he plans to effectively create positive change at McDaniel, Moyer noted that it is not just one person that creates change but is instead an entity of people, such as a community.
McDaniel is not just a college, but also a community in which Moyer says that athletics are seen as part of the educational experience.
So what then is the value of an athletic program to a school? Moyer explained that athletics affect not just the students in our little community on the McDaniel campus, but also within the citizens of Westminster, and even beyond that to our alumni all across the country.
For those who do not play sports and disagree, Moyer illustrated the enormous role athletics play in the lives of student athletes and non-student athletes alike. Athletics not only help students to graduate, but the department itself is a form of public relations, through fundraising and clinics for local kids, like the Special Olympics. Local soccer clubs who sometimes participate with student athletes also help build bridges to the local community. Additionally, the sports are a source of revenue, which help provide funds in areas and departments outside that of the Athletic Department. Like a ripple in the water, everyone is affected and connected.
“You can see it through the pride our students have in wearing Green Terror shirts, cheering on our football team at home games by tailgating in the masses up on the hill; there is a uniqueness and closeness about our college that separates us from the rest and makes us so special,” said Moyer.
For those who might not feel so connected, I asked Moyer how he might encourage students to get involved in our athletic community or how athletes can reach out to the student body.
“There is a way for every student to connect on campus and even if you do not wish to participate in varsity sports, which are a huge commitment and very demanding, there are also intramural sports,” explained Moyer.
This is a great opportunity to get with friends, to be active, to reduce stress, and have fun in our fantastic facilities, he said. “A healthy mind plus a healthy body equals a sound mind.”
You don’t have to be a varsity athlete to understand Moyer’s three things to keep in mind: “Opportunity. Responsibility. Commitment.” As a varsity player, you have the opportunity to experience something special. There is no other experience like the intercollegiate experience, Moyer says. So what makes it so special?
“You live and die with every moment you share with your teammates: meals, classes, life experiences, figuring out the future, hardships, hours on the bus together going to and from games, wins, losses (on the field and off the field), and you got to have teammates that support you. The shared experiences are special, they don’t fall by the wayside, you’ll have them for the rest of your life, and not everyone gets to experience that.”
“That is what makes the experience so unique because unlike professional sports teams, there is a competition for jobs, it’s a completely different perspective and often times you’re a competitor, not a teammate,” said Moyer.
According to Moyer, that is why the intercollegiate experience is the ultimate experience, and no one can take that away from you.
A few fun sport-related facts about Paul Moyer:
His favorite sport movies: Coach Carter, Victory, Miracle, Remember the Titans, Glory Road, and The Natural (even though he thinks it’s kind of corny.)
Professional athletes he is most inspired by: Wes Unseld (played basketball for the Washington Bullets), Curtis Pride (played baseball for the Yankees; he is also deaf), and Kyle Rote Jr.( who is a personal inspiration for Moyer).
Favorite professional teams: Orioles, Senators, Redskins, Ravens, and both the Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Teams.
Greatest sports stories of all time: the Underdog stories- Miracle; Jessie Owns- with Hitler watching, U.S Men’s soccer beating England in the 30’s, and the Saints winning the Superbowl after Katrina- special times with special teams willed on by the entire city.