WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. – Senior football captain John Rooney (Yonkers, NY), a center on the Ephs' offensive line will, be participating in the NCAA Career in Sports Forum next week.
"John was elected one of our captains for 2020 by his teammates," noted Eph head football coach Mark Raymond. "He is universally respected by his peers and coaches. This respect comes from John's toughness, work-ethic, and his commitment to the team. In addition to football John has also established himself as a leader campus-wide and in the Williamstown Community."
Rooney has recently been named co-president of the Williams Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). As a freshman Rooney joined his football teammates in moving the Williamstown Public Library's thousands of used books to the Williamstown Elementary School gymnasium for their annual book sale. A political economy and history major Rooney has also worked with the Berkshire County Action Council to provide tax preparation assistance to county residents. Most recently Rooney and other members of the Eph football team have been working on the Habitat for Humanity House under construction on Cole Avenue.
"As a member of the football team and SAAC, I have had the honor and privilege to work with many great people throughout my time at Williams," said Rooney. "I have always seen the work we have done in the community as a way to thank those who support our sports teams throughout the year. I look forward to building on the things we have accomplished while also seeking new opportunities to serve Williamstown and Berkshire County."
A conversation with Carolyn Miles the Ephs' Associate Athletic Director for Student Athlete Services sparked Rooney's interest in the NCAA forum. Coaching on the collegiate or pro level after graduating from Williams is on Rooney's radar and Miles' nomination of Rooney to the NCAA Career in Sports Forum could prove to be a pivotal first step.
"I'm looking at becoming a graduate assistant at a school where I can also earn my MBA in Sport Management," added Rooney.
Rooney is one of some 400 NCAA student-athletes who will be receiving career guidance and availing of network opportunities with athletics administrators and sports industry experts virtually May 27-29 as a participant in the 2020 NCAA Career in Sports Forum.
The three-day forum prepares junior and senior student-athletes for a career after graduation. The forum helps student-athletes learn more about themselves as leaders by exposing them to projects that require critical thinking as well as practical experiences that will strengthen their personal and professional skills and competencies. Through their participation, attendees will gain a deeper understanding of roles within the athletics industry and how their personal and professional interests align with potential career paths.
Forum sessions include how student-athletes can become more aware of their inner strengths, how to develop a career plan, practical approaches to the job search, how to navigate as a young professional in the athletics industry, the role of an athletics administrator and head coach, and other motivational and key messaging from speakers.
The athletes also will have opportunities to engage in breakout sessions where they will engage in guided discussions to further curriculum understanding and build community with other student-athletes. A student-athlete task force also was created to identify and develop specific sessions where student-athletes expressed particular interest.
"It is important to host the Career in Sports Forum this year, as we want to continue providing student-athletes with career and leadership development, even during these challenging times when we are unable to meet in person," said Lamarr Pottinger, associate director of NCAA leadership development.
"We must continue to execute our vision to educate student-athletes, be inclusive and focus on bringing these young leaders together in a community format where they can continue learning. The student-athletes will gain more insight around the sports industry and careers at the forum. However, they will also learn what their strengths are and who they are outside of their sport. The ultimate goal is to have these individuals walk away more prepared to gain employment after college athletics," Pottinger said.
The diverse lineup of student-athletes represents colleges and universities from all three divisions, numerous academic majors and many sports. The forum, typically held at the NCAA headquarters for close to 200 student-athletes, was expanded this year to provide more guidance and education, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Forum speakers include directors of athletics, representatives from athletics academic services, athletic conference offices, head coaches, and officials in business and professional sports.
Besides hosting the Career in Sports Forum each year, the NCAA leadership development office sponsors other targeted programs that assist student-athletes with the transition to life after college sports, as well as programs to enhance their leadership skills. The department also facilitates inclusive programming for athletics administrators and coaches who work with student-athletes on college campuses.