SUNY Adirondack Community Roots: Alumni Collective Issue 8

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COMMUNITY ROOTS THE ALUMNI COLLECTIVE A QUARTERLY MAGAZINE

GOAL SETTERS

Amber Yarter was lonely, overwhelmed and wanted to go home. She sulked in her dorm room, called her parents nightly and cried to her resident assistant.

But once she was on the court, everything changed. “Being around sports made me feel at home,” she said.

Among her basketball team mates, Yarter found friendship, a sense of belonging and pur pose, and, suddenly, being away from home wasn’t as daunting.

That is the power of athletics. Yes, Yarter was competitive and performed well, but what mat tered most to professors and administrators at SUNY Ad irondack was that she thrived academically and personally. (She graduated with a degree in Media Arts, then transferred to Purchase College, from which she earned a bachelor’s degree in Photography. Today, she is social media manager at Team 91 Tristate, an elite travel lacrosse program.)

Throughout its six-decade history, SUNY Adirondack has welcomed thousands of student-athletes to compete in sports that, over the years, included bowling, cross-coun try running, nordic skiing and tennis. Today, we welcome 125 students a year to participate in baseball, softball, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball,

men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s soccer.

Under the expertise of Director of Athletics Zach Schwan (a former Division 1 athlete at Clarkson University) and Assistant Director Julie Clark (a former D1 athlete and All-American at Syracuse University), the college has strength ened its commitment to development of its athlet ic programs. With a roster of coaches devoted to recruiting well-rounded student-athletes who will perform on the court or field and be good stewards of the college, the future of SUNY Adirondack’s athletics is bright.

"I understand a lot of people want to come here and just be athletes, but we want to instill a sense of what they can become," said Max Sweet, head coach of the men's basketball team. "We aren’t here to coach a guy to win at basketball and get out. We want to see them graduate, put them in a better position, get a great job, go to their wedding, have them come back for alumni days and stay involved."

Over the summer, work began on a $5.7 million athletic com plex that includes turf fields for

softball and baseball, lacrosse (leaving open the possibility of expanding our program offer ings) and soccer. Supported by such businesses as Stewart’s Shops and the Dake Foundation, the project will be completed this winter.

That program-changing investment comes after the gymnasium floor was refurbished; gym space was repurposed with batting cages, sport-specific strength equipment and space for small-group training; and development of a Health and Wellness office that includes a former professional athlete with experience in mental acuity training for athletes. Further up grades to the athletic facilities are included in the college’s 10-year plan, with creation of a space for student-athletes to socialize, meditate and study on the docket for this academic year.

SUNY Adirondack’s com mitment to ensuring student success extends to our stu dent-athletes. They are valued as much for their character as they are for athletic prowess. Here, they can reap all the benefits of sports — teamwork, physical health, determination, mental well-being, work ethic — while receiving a top-notch student-centered education, preparing them for whatever the future holds.

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MUCH LIKE THE COLLEGE COMMUNITY, SUNY ADIRONDACK ALUMNI ARE A MICROCOSM OF OUR BROADER COMMUNITY. They come in as students, searching, find themselves here, then bring their gifts out into the world as caring agents of change. In this quarterly magazine, we celebrate all the ways our alumni shape our world, close to home and afar, with their hearts always rooted right here at SUNY Adirondack. VOL. 8 | FALL 2022 SUNY Adirondack is committed to fostering a diverse community of outstanding employees and students, as well as ensuring equal educational opportunity, employment, and access to services, programs and activities, without regard to an individual’s race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction. Employees, students, applicants or other members of the SUNY Adirondack Community (including but not limited to vendors, visitors, and guests) may not be subjected to harassment that is prohibited by law, or treated adversely or retaliated against based upon a protected characteristic. Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX may be directed to Lottie Jameson, Title IX coordinator, Scoville 326, jamesonl@sunyacc.edu or by calling 518-832-7741. Inquiries regarding the application of other laws, regulations and policies prohibiting discrimination may be directed to Mindy Wilson, associate vice president of Human Resources, Washington Hall, at wilsonm@sunyacc.edu, or by calling 518-743-2252. Inquiries may also be directed to the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, 32 Old Slip 26th Floor, New York, NY 10005-2500, at ocr.newyork@ed.gov, or by calling 646-428-3800.

OUR

BECOME

Assistant Coaches Athletic Directors

GRADUATES
Coaches Corporate Trainers Financial Consultants Financial Directors Health and Fitness Coaches Higher Education Administrators Insurance Sales Coordinators Pediatric Psychiatric Nurses Police Officers 4
MORE THAN 50,000 STUDENT-ATHLETES COMPETE AT U.S. COMMUNITY COLLEGES 125 STUDENT ATHLETES COMPETE FOR SUNY ADIRONDACK ANNUALLY 35 ATHLETES IN SUNY ADK'S HALL OF FAME INDUCTED SINCE 2013 MORE THAN 95 PERCENT OF SUNY ADIRONDACK’S STUDENT-ATHLETES MEET OR EXCEED THE STANDARDS OF ACADEMIC PROGRESS TO REMAIN ELIGIBLE TO PLAY AS A TIMBERWOLF ATHLETIC FACILITY INFO Four acres in new turf complex Two rooms dedicated to team fitness and health An athletics training room and a recently renovated athletics performance technical training facility More than $5 million invested in new athletics facility since 2019, including 4-acre turf complex to support: • men's and women's soccer • baseball • softball • eventually men's lacrosse New gymnasium floor, roof and awning were completed in 2021 CHAMPIONSHIPS WON REGION III TITLES Golf (2018) Men’s Soccer (2013) Men’s Tennis (1969, '84, '97) Volleyball (2013) Women's Alpine Skiing (1985, 1986) Women’s Tennis (1988)

“SUNY Adirondack was the best decision I made.”

Madison Paquin always knew SUNY Adirondack was a good fit for her.

“Just being close to home was what I wanted,” the Queensbury native said.

Paquin played volleyball throughout high school, but her senior year, the coach moved her from playing setter to libero, a position that serves as the anchor of a team’s defensive play. “At the

end of the season, Coach [Tyler Carey] talked about how he wished he had put me there before because of how well I did,” she said. “That was the first time I ever got that feeling from a coach and it changed my volleyball career completely.”

She joined SUNY Adirondack’s volley ball team to play under then-Coach Xiao Li. “It was the best decision I

made,” said Paquin, who was part of the college’s 2013 team that won NJCCA Regionals, then placed fourth nationally.

“We were Xiao’s most successful season,” she said, mentioning a sign in the gym dedicated to

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MADISON PAQUIN

the 2013 team as “future Hall of Famers.” “He made being on the team so fun.”

After graduating from SUNY Adirondack, Paquin transferred to SUNY Pots dam, where she played volleyball for a semester. The college wasn’t a great fit, so she returned home, where she stud ied Engineering at SUNY Adirondack

and served as assistant coach under Li. “Xiao is the biggest influence a coach had on me,” she said.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Com puter Animation online through Full Sail University and has spent the past few years waiting tables.

Paquin is reunited with former Queens bury High and SUNY Adirondack teammate Stephanie Gengel, and Jessica Trudeau, a player she coached

at Adirondack, as the three take over coaching at Castleton University.

Trudeau is head coach of the Vermont college’s volleyball team, and Paquin and Gengel are assistant coaches.

“We’re the perfect three to have together,” Paquin said of their experi ences on the court. “I like being able to give players the positive feedback they need, but also critiques to get better and play the best they can.”

HOMETOWN: QUEENSBURY, NEW YORK 2015 GRADUATE OF SUNY ADIRONDACK WITH A DEGREE IN MATH AND SCIENCE GRADUATE OF SUNY ADIRONDACK WITH A DEGREE IN ENGINEERING GRADUATE OF FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN COMPUTER ANIMATION ATHLETIC CAREER: SUNY ADIRONDACK VOLLEYBALL PLAYER, 2013-2015; ASSISTANT VOLLEYBALL COACH AT SUNY ADIRONDACK, 2016-2017; STORM VOLLEYBALL CLUB COACH, 2013 CURRENTLY: CASTLETON UNIVERSITY VOLLEYBALL ASSISTANT COACH; MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION STUDENT AT CASTLETON, WITH A CONCENTRATION IN MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS FUN FACT: PAQUIN IS REUNITED WITH FORMER QUEENSBURY HIGH AND SUNY ADIRONDACK TEAMMATE STEPHANIE GENGEL, AND JESSICA TRUDEAU, A PLAYER SHE COACHED AT ADIRONDACK, AS THE THREE TAKE OVER COACHING AT CASTLETON UNIVERSITY. TRUDEAU IS HEAD COACH OF THE VERMONT COLLEGE’S VOLLEYBALL TEAM, AND PAQUIN AND GENGEL ARE ASSISTANT COACHES. SEE PAGE 24 FOR STEPHANIE'S STORY. JESSICA TRUDEAU STEPHANIE GENGEL MADISON PAQUIN
2017
2019
Assistant Coaches

In 1968, SUNY Adirondack’s tennis team piled into the college pres ident’s station wagon and made the trip to Alfred State University to compete in the NJCAA Regional competition. Two days later, when the team returned at 2 a.m., college President Charles Eisenhart was standing in front of the gymnasium, cheering for the students, who were still giddy with excitement after winning.

“For a president to welcome us for the first real trophy any team brought home — there were a lot of very special times and that was one,” said Harris, who retired from SUNY Adirondack in 2005 after a 40-year career teaching Physical Education

classes; coaching gymnastics, skiing and tennis at the college; and serving as director of Athletics for 25 years.

Harris was born in England and grew up in Canada. His memories of loving athletics go back to being a boy, playing in the yard while helping his father, a Canadian serviceman, weed the garden. “I carved a pole vault out of a tree,” he laughed. “I always had a very competitive nature.”

“The faculty was like a family; it was a good, comfortable feeling. And opportunities never ceased to exist at ACC. Plus, the location — who can beat this?”
Fifty-five years have passed, but retired longtime college professor and coach Bob Harris is still moved by the gesture.
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BOB HARRIS

HOMETOWN: WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA

Athletic Directors

1963 GRADUATE OF UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION

1965 GRADUATE OF MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY WITH A MASTER’S DEGREE IN ADMINISTRATION

ATHLETIC CAREER: COLLEGE GYMNAST; DEVELOPED AND COACHED GYMNASTICS, TENNIS AND SKI PROGRAMS

AT SUNY ADIRONDACK

CURRENTLY: RETIRED AFTER 40 YEARS OF TEACHING AND COACHING AT SUNY ADIRONDACK AND SERVING AS DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS FOR 25 YEARS

In high school, Harris said he “grew tired of sitting on the bench in JV bas ketball,” so he decided to try some thing new: gymnastics at his school and in a city program comprised of college gymnasts and two Canadian Olympians.

Harris moved to the states to attend University of Michigan, which had an excellent men’s gymnastics team. “I was one of the lucky ones to make it to a large, well-known university,” he said. “Those four years were among the most memorable of my life.”

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, focusing heavily on the sciences, then went on to earn a master’s degree in Administration from Michigan State University.

In 1965, he learned through an on-campus job placement bureau that a small two-year college called Adirondack Community College was hiring. “I knew nothing about ACC or the Northeast or even New York,” Harris admitted. But he flew to Alba ny, rented a car and headed up the Northway. “It is a beautiful part of the country.”

He interviewed at the college’s original Hudson Falls location, while

its Queensbury campus was under construction. After the interview, he traveled to Florida, stayed at a YMCA to finish his thesis, then called ACC to accept the job before heading back to Michigan.

While at SUNY Adirondack, Harris helped strengthen and expand the college's tennis program, traveling to national competitions; developed gymnastics and ski teams; and coached several sports.

watched sports programs come and go; supported changing the college’s mascot from “a plumpy, bearded mountaineer to a timberwolf, which I identify as a more competitive being”; developed relationships with students and staff that continue today; and taught ages 18 to 80, once having a father and daughter in a course togeth er, as well as father-and-son tennis players on the same team.

“I take great pride in my time here and still drive by frequently,” said Harris, who is in his 80s but has the appear ance, quick wit and energy of a man at least a decade younger.

Harris said faculty members were close and spent time together outside work. “It was a good, comfortable feeling; it became like a family.”

While teaching classes and coaching, Harris also handled all facets of directing the college’s entire Athletics program.

In 40 years, Harris saw construc tion of the college’s main campus;

Some larger universities had a “winor-else” attitude toward coaching and, after experiencing life at SUNY Adirondack, Harris knew that wasn’t for him. “I wanted to get involved with the community,” he said. “The rela tionship with students was also more meaningful.”

“It was a 40-year trip and it went by in the snap of a finger,” Harris said.

“I had the opportunity to do everything and any thing,” he said. “We got to enjoy some good com petition and had success locally, regionally and nationally. We were ‘on the map’ athletically and educationally.”
FUN FACT: TOBEY GIFFORD, A HEALTH AND WELLNESS COORDINATOR AND ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR AT SUNY ADIRONDACK (SEE PAGE 18), WAS AMONG HARRIS’ FIRST GYMNASTS IN THE COMMUNITY-WIDE PROGRAM HE STARTED. GIFFORD’S FATHER WAS AN ADMISSIONS ADVISOR AND BECAME GOOD FRIENDS WITH HARRIS.
is
He changed my
“Coach Xiao Li
special.
life.” 10

JESSICA TRUDEAU

At a recent job interview, Jessica Trudeau faced her interviewer and averred that volleyball changed her life.

“It truly has,” said Trudeau, who aced the interview and was hired as head volleyball coach at Castleton University.

Trudeau played the sport all four years of high school, but never felt like a particularly strong player. So, when she registered for a Physical Education class centered on volley ball at SUNY Adirondack, she didn’t expect much.

“I had no intention of ever playing volleyball, but Coach Xiao Li ap proached me and said, ‘You should be on the volleyball team,’” Trudeau remembered.

So Trudeau joined the team and had a standout career with the Timberwolves, being named to the Mountain Valley All-Conference and Region III AA All-Conference teams, as well as earning Most Valuable Player honors in 2016.

“I had some great coach es in my career, but Xiao is special,” she said. “It

just goes to show a great professional connection can make all the differ ence in a person's life.”

After graduating from South Glens Falls High School, Trudeau headed off to SUNY New Paltz. She returned home after one semester and instead enrolled at SUNY Adirondack. “It was a good option because it was close to home and I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she said.

She earned a degree in Media Arts while dig-set-spiking her way through two volleyball seasons. Then, she headed out — keeping one foot in the SUNY Adirondack gym as assistant volleyball coach — into the world of merchandising for a furniture company. “I just didn’t love it, so I decided I wanted to go back to school for Physical Education because I loved coaching so much,” she said.

After a year of Phys Ed courses, she transferred seamlessly to Castle ton University, with which SUNY Adirondack has a “2+2” program. At Castleton, she was able to play volleyball again and while she wasn’t as successful on the court — she

laughed and said that playing at age 20 and at 26 are two different feats — she is happy she was part of the team. “I established some good relationships,” she said.

That includes with the head coach, for whom she planned to be the grad uate assistant (Trudeau is working on a master’s degree in Athletic Lead ership at Castleton) in the 2022-23 season. When the head coach left for another position, Trudeau decided to apply. She started practices with the team in August with two assistant coaches, both of whom she played or coached with at SUNY Adirondack.

This year’s roster was set before Trudeau was hired, but she looks forward to recruiting in the future. “Skills aside, I want somebody who is going to be a great teammate and put the team first,” she said. “I want to create an environment that is communicative, where we push each other to be better by being competitive and respectful.”

“Playing volleyball at SUNY Adirondack were some of the best times ever,” Trudeau said. “Volleyball changed my life, it truly has.”

HOMETOWN: SOUTH GLENS FALLS, NEW YORK 2018 GRADUATE OF SUNY ADIRONDACK WITH A DEGREE IN MEDIA ARTS 2022 GRADUATE OF CASTLETON UNIVERSITY WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION ATHLETIC CAREER: VOLLEYBALL PLAYER AT SUNY ADIRONDACK, 2015-2017; ASSISTANT VOLLEYBALL COACH AT SUNY ADIRONDACK, 2017-2019; VOLLEYBALL PLAYER AT CASTLETON UNIVERSITY, 2021; LAKE SIDE VOLLEYBALL COACH CURRENTLY: HEAD VOLLEYBALL COACH AT CASTLETON UNIVERSITY; STUDENT AT CASTLETON UNIVERSITY, PURSUING A MASTER’S DEGREE IN ATHLETIC LEADERSHIP
Coaches

JP Quintal graduated from Queensbury Union Free School District with an impres sive record on the basketball court but grades that prevented him from attending the colleges interested in his jump shot.

“I just wasn’t a good student,” he admitted. “Athletically, I could go to a couple different colleges to play basketball, but my grades weren’t there.”

Instead, he enrolled at SUNY Adirondack. “Instinctually, I knew

it was where I needed to be.”

“SUNY Adirondack is a really special place,” said Quintal, a Learning and Development partner at Arrow Financial. “SUNY Adirondack gave me a chance.”

Originally planning to become a gym teacher, Quintal quickly realized his love of writing might also be a career option. “At [then] ACC, I was exposed to all different types of classes,” he said.

As captain of the basketball team at

SUNY Adirondack, Quintal devel oped tight friendships with other players. “What’s important about school athletics at any level, at the end of the day, is that you can make lifelong friendships.”

“We would all huddle around a 19inch tube TV in the Student Center and watch ‘SportsCenter,’” he re membered. “It really built that bond.”

At one point, Quintal was one of the top-10-scoring men's basketball players at SUNY Adirondack.

“Luckily for me, I had this school right in my backyard and it gave me a chance.”
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JP QUINTAL

HOMETOWN: QUEENSBURY, NEW YORK

Corporate Trainers

2003 GRADUATE OF SUNY ADIRONDACK WITH A DEGREE IN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES

2007 GRADUATE OF MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN ENGLISH/COMMUNICATIONS

ATHLETIC CAREER: BASKETBALL PLAYER AT SUNY ADIRONDACK, 2001-2003, AND MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS, 2005-2007

CURRENTLY: LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT PARTNER AT ARROW FINANCIAL

As his time at the college came to an end, Quintal started to consider his next steps. A fellow Timberwolf was in contact with the coaching staff from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, so Quintal visited the campus, met with the coach and decided the college was a good fit.

“It’s weird where our decisions take us when we’re navigating life,” he said.

When he transferred to MCLA, he once again found himself as the captain of his basketball team. He also took what he learned about himself at SUNY Adirondack and declared himself an English major.

“I wasn’t necessarily a great test taker,” he said. “English [classes] let me read and write what I thought, so there wasn’t the pressure of right or wrong.”

Quintal graduated in 2007, when the nation was gripped by a recession.

“There was not a lot of hiring in terms of English majors,” he said, describing applying to regional businesses.

He spent time in Las Vegas and Florida, worked at hotels, and applied to what was then Tribune Media Services several times.

“I just couldn’t gain any traction here,” he said. But he finally was

interviewed at what today is Nielsen. “That’s what started my career. ACC took a chance on me, got my education started, and Gracenote took a chance on me professionally and got my career started.”

Starting as a schedule editor, Quintal worked hard and did what he does best — built relationships through open communication. He was then hired as a customer experience trainer, developing materials and providing training to Nielsen employees around the world — a position that would lead him to become the new Learning and Development partner at Arrow Financial in Glens Falls.

“People are what drives me; if I’m not in a role working directly with people, I’m lost,” he admitted.

In 2016 Quintal was asked to speak at the SUNY Adirondack Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. “Being asked to speak at the Athletics Hall of Fame allowed me to share experiences that helped shape me into the

person I am today,” Quintal said.

Quintal and his wife, Brittany, now reside in downtown Glens Falls, frequenting Seasoned, SUNY Adirondack’s culinary arts restaurant, which is a short walk from their home.

“Seasoned gives the community insight into the amazing SUNY Ad irondack Culinary program,” Quintal said. “Their passion is truly inspiring.”

“I feel a super special connection to SUNY Adirondack,” Quintal said. “It gives a lot of students a chance at having a higher education experi ence. You can try it at SUNY Adiron dack and, if it doesn’t work, you’re not out thousands of dollars. Luckily for me, I had this school right in my backyard and it gave me a chance.”

JP SPEAKING AT THE 2016 ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME DINNER
“SUNY Adirondack is so different than the big universities. I set up a campus visit and I just loved SUNY Adirondack, because it wasn’t massive.”
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BRADY SAUSVILLE

Brady Sausville was on the job as a line cook at Benson’s in Eagle Bridge when SUNY Adirondack baseball coach Casey Job called him.

“He said, ‘I want you to come play baseball,’” Sausville remembered. “I think my first response was, ‘I’m so done with school.’ I saw how much debt my friends were acquiring with the big universities and wanted no part of that.”

While attending college wasn’t what Sausville planned, he did struggle a bit when all his friends headed to univer sities away from home. But he buckled down, worked at the restaurant and started a car-detailing business with a friend. “All my friends were off to college, but I was making good money,” he explained.

After Job’s call, Sausville was intrigued and scheduled a campus visit.

“Coach said, ‘SUNY Adirondack is so different from all your friends having terrible experiences at big universities,’” he said. “And he was right. I just loved campus, because it wasn’t massive.”

He enrolled in classes and joined the baseball team. “I didn’t know what I was going to major in, I just knew I wanted to be a business owner and wear a suit every day,” he said.

Sausville didn’t have to wait long for direction. As a Business major, he was

offered an internship at Northwestern Mutual, which he dove into, developing a passion for the finance industry.

“Neither of my parents went to col lege, but always told me, ‘You want to work with your brain, not your hands,’” Sausville said. He was happy to discover he had a gift working with people who want to invest, improve their financial futures or save for retirement.

He graduated from SUNY Adirondack and enrolled at SUNY Plattsburgh, attending classes at the college’s branch campus at SUNY Adirondack. “It was like nothing changed for me,” he said. “It’s brilliant. That’s my advice: Find a two-year school and go there first.”

Throughout, he worked at Northwest ern, learning the ropes and the fine art of the sale.

After graduating from SUNY Platts burgh, he decided to leave the corpo rate world. “When you do well at a big firm, other advisors reach out to you and say, ‘You should check out the inde pendent side,’” he said.

He founded Sausville Financial and got to work building a client base. Before long, he reached out to his longtime friend and former car-detailing partner, Kordell Benson, and the two joined forc es on Sausville Benson Financial.

“I just want to learn about people and see if I can help them,” Sausville said. “I

only care that the relationship is stron ger than when we first met.”

His success is rooted in his passion for networking and a work ethic honed on the ball field.

“Being a student-athlete was definitely not easy,” he said. “I would say, ‘OK, if I really want to be part of this team,’ — which I did, because even from the first day of practice, we felt like we’d been together forev er — ‘I have to get good grades and be a leader.’ Be ing organized and seeing where I saw myself in the next few years, that kept me motivated.”

“Playing a sport is going to make you wake up earlier and work harder,” Saus ville said. “I remember thinking, ‘These 6 a.m. practices stink, but I have to do it,’ and now I’m up at 5 a.m. every day, no matter what.”

The hard work paid off for Sausville, in his career and with lasting friendships.

“How coaches and teachers there treat everybody is really unique.”

HOMETOWN: CAMBRIDGE, NEW YORK 2016 GRADUATE OF SUNY ADIRONDACK WITH A DEGREE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION 2018 GRADUATE OF SUNY PLATTSBURGH WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN BUSINESS AND FINANCE WITH A CONCENTRATION IN SUPPLY CHAINS ATHLETIC CAREER: PITCHER AND OUTFIELDER AT SUNY ADIRONDACK, 2014-2016 CURRENTLY: CO-OWNER OF SAUSVILLE BENSON FINANCIAL
Financial Consultants

So intense is Matt Stevens’ love of baseball, he willingly enrolled full time at two colleges just to play one more season.

Stevens had already graduated from SUNY Adirondack and was a student at SUNY Plattsburgh’s Queensbury branch campus when ADK baseball coach Casey Job asked him to act as assistant coach.

“During tryouts, I told Casey, ‘I can’t coach; I have to play.’ So, I enrolled full time in two colleges at once,” he remembered.

That commitment to athletics didn’t start at SUNY Adirondack, nor did it

end after he walked across the SUNY Plattsburgh stage, diploma in hand.

“I was one of the kids who early in life realized it’s easy to have a negative ex perience with a coach and that you can lose a love of the game, and it’s unfortu nate when that happens,” he said.

Instead of letting today’s youth suffer such a situation, Stevens coaches vari ous teams throughout the region — a passion that started when he was 16 years old and created and coached his own summer recreation baseball team.

When it came time to leave for college, he headed off to University of Vermont. He left during the first semester.

“I just really wanted to be closer to home,” he said. He took the spring se mester off, spent the summer playing in basketball clinics, then enrolled for the fall semester at SUNY Adirondack.

“I had so many friends and family mem bers go there, I’d heard good things,” Stevens said. “The academics are very similar to a four-year school; financial ly, it made sense; and it was close to home.”

He knew the basketball coach at the time, so he signed on to the team. “I was a two-year captain of the team and had an absolute blast,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to meet new people — you meet guys from different cities

“We have the ability to write our own future.”
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MATT STEVENS

HOMETOWN: ARGYLE, NEW YORK

Financial Directors

2013 GRADUATE OF SUNY ADIRONDACK WITH A DEGREE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

2015 GRADUATE OF SUNY PLATTSBURGH WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION WITH A CONCENTRATION IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT

2021 GRADUATE OF THE COLLEGE OF SAINT ROSE WITH A MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

ATHLETIC CAREER: BASKETBALL CAPTAIN AT SUNY ADIRONDACK, 2011-2013; GOLF TEAM AT SUNY ADIRONDACK, 2013; BASEBALL TEAM WHILE DUALLY ENROLLED AT SUNY ADIRONDACK AND SUNY PLATTSBURGH, 2014

CURRENTLY: DIRECTOR OF FINANCE OF SELF-DIRECTION AT AIM SERVICES IN SARATOGA SPRINGS; VARSITY BASEBALL COACH AT GLENS FALLS HIGH SCHOOL; JV BASKETBALL COACH AT WARRENSBURG HIGH SCHOOL; COACH OF SARATOGA STAMPEDE TRAVEL BASEBALL TEAM

and countries, even — and play the game I love.”

On campus, Stevens was active in Student Senate, serving as president his second year at the college. “I learned a lot that was really important later in life: how to run a meeting, how to really become a leader,” he said. “Just a few years ago, I was running a nonprofit, regularly running meetings and having had that experience while in college was huge.”

His second year at SUNY Adirondack, the college opened the Residence Hall and Stevens became a resident assistant.

That campus involvement kept him busy — as did maintaining a 4.0 grade point average — but when longtime golf coach Mike Carpenter asked him to join the golf team, Stevens couldn’t say no. “I’m thankful I did that,” he said, joking that there were frequent bets between Carpenter and the former athletic director over whether Stevens would be able to finish a round in fewer than 100 strokes.

After graduating from SUNY Adirondack, he enrolled at SUNY Plattsburgh,

thinking his days playing college sports were over. Then baseball season hit and he realized he wasn’t ready to put his cleats at the back of the closet. So while enrolled full time as a Business Administration major in a bachelor’s program, he enrolled full time at SUNY Adiron dack to extend his eligibility. “I took a lot of coaching-based classes with Coach [Dan] Dennett,” he said.

“It was a wild ride that semester,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

After graduation, he became assistant coach of SUNY Adirondack’s men’s basketball team, a job he held for two years. “Then I wanted to find a home,” he said.

Today, he’s head baseball coach for Glens Falls High School’s varsity team; basketball coach for Warrensburg High School’s junior varsity boys’ basketball team; and helps out coaching Saratoga Stampede, a travel youth baseball club.

Even his career choice shows his desire to inspire and help people be their bests. As director of Finance of Self-Direction at AIM Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people with diverse abilities live as independently as possible, Stevens oversees the budgets given to people with disabilities living throughout the community.

“Each individual gets their own budget, based on need, and they decide how they want to spend it,” he said. “It’s awesome to see that level of indepen dence.”

In a speech he offered at SUNY Platts burgh’s commencement ceremony, he talked about not being afraid to fail, remembering how he went to UVM and came home within a month.

“Failure is always part of success,” he said. “And we have the ability to write our own future.”

And leave an impact on others.

“Being able to stay involved in the games I love and seeing kids grow, that’s awesome,”
he mused. “I love being a part of that.”

When Tobey Gifford was a 7-year-old bouncing ball of energy, her father was offered two civilian jobs: one in Queensbury and the other in New Mexico.

Unwittingly, his decision to become an academic advisor at SUNY Adiron dack shaped his daughter’s life. The little girl’s constant movement led her parents to enroll her in a gymnastics program offered on campus.

“I have a lot of energy, and my parents wanted me to do something with it,” Gifford said. The team trained in the SUNY Adirondack gym, then traveled to regional YMCA and college facilities to compete.

“One of my first memories is at Fulton-Montgomery Community College,” she remembered. “I got up to do my floor routine, and I forgot the entire thing. I ran around and jumped

and then landed a final pose. My score was 0.08.”

Despite that most unassuming of beginnings, Gifford competed until she was 15, when an injury sidelined her gymnastics endeavors.

After graduating from Glens Falls High School, she planned to attend Cornell University. “Then I ended up getting pregnant at age 19, so my high school sweetheart and I got married and I attended SUNY Adirondack,” Gifford said.

Over the years that followed, Gifford worked, had two children and attended college when she could, eventually earning a Liberal Arts degree. “Being able to come here was a lifesaver,” she said. “I could continue going to school and still raise my family.”

After graduating, she enrolled at Skid more College, from which she earned a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Sci

ence. There, she took a yoga class and liked the stretching. “Somebody told me yoga was good for your mind, so I thought, ‘Maybe it will help me focus during competitions,’” she said. Since she was teaching fitness classes in the region and finishing a degree at Skidmore, she was asked to fill in teaching yoga when a Skidmore pro fessor was taking sabbatical. “I never wanted to teach yoga,” she remem bered. “I felt like it was bigger than me, and I wanted to leave it as a thing I just did for myself.”

Around the same time, Gifford was watching ESPN and saw women performing in competitive aerobics. “I started thinking, ‘This is interesting; I could do this,’” she said. “I had to give up gymnastics, so this was kind of like unfinished business.”

She made up an aerobics routine; went to Foot Locker, where she spent about

“Being able to attend SUNY Adirondack was a lifesaver for me. I could continue going to school and still raise my family.”
18

TOBEY GIFFORD

$100 designing an outfit; and hired a local deejay to cut music for her. “It was all very grass-roots,” she laughed, remembering how others spent thou sands on choreographers, trainers, costume designers and music.

She registered for a competition at a mall just outside New York City and won the novice division. When she moved into the competitive division, she placed seventh out of 40.

Her success led to her signing on with a coach. “She was very energetic, helped me believe in myself while telling me what I needed to do to get better,” Gifford said.

From there, Gifford committed to work ing out six hours a day in preparation for competition. The work paid off, as she won national rankings (first place at Nationals for three years and second place for three years) and, ultimately, an international title. The success, though, took a toll on her body.

“I was training to be like a humming bird, my heart rate was just crazy,” she said. “The other athletes were in their 20s and I was in my 30s. The announcers were always saying, ‘And this girl has two kids …’”

While training for the World Cham pionship, Gifford tore her ACL, then opted out of surgery. She developed

strategies to work around the injury. “It’s not like anybody’s journey is with out stuff,” she said. She competed for eight years before finally getting the surgery, winning two more national titles and ranking among the top five in the world along the way.

After she achieved her goal, she de cided to call competing quits. “When I stopped having fun, I knew it was time to stop,” she said.

Since leaving that world behind, Gifford has adopted a more balanced approach to fitness. For a time, she ran a Washington, D.C.-based health center that had her rubbing elbows with high-level politicians and profes sional athletes. She returned to the Glens Falls area and became certified as a yoga instructor, training under world-renowned yogis; started teach ing credit and Continuing Education courses at SUNY Adirondack; served as recreation director of Glens Falls; and, in 2005, opened Lemon Tree Yoga with her daughter.

“You will be competing for a limit ed amount of your life, but you’re a person and will be your whole life,” she said.

In recent months, she has brought a mind-set of caring for the whole person to a new role as wellness

coordinator at SUNY Adirondack. “It’s fun to win, but it’s more important for athletes to learn life skills — how to work as a team, how to pivot when things change, how to commit,” she said. “It’s important we remember these are people first, and we have to take care of their needs and work on strategies to get them to a place of balance.”

Through yoga, she learned to have a better relationship with her body.

“There is a balance between mind and body, and body and mind,” she said.

“As an athlete, you have to get up when you don’t want to, practice when you’re sore, but there is a time you need to rest.”

As she works with the Health and Wellness office, coordinating efforts with the Counseling Center, Athletics and Student Engagement, Gifford leads by example for the college community.

“SUNY Adirondack is part of my journey; I spent a lot of my life here,” she said.

“I believe you’re bigger than your body, but you are in your body, too, and need to take care of it.”

HOMETOWN: GLENS FALLS, NEW YORK 1984 GRADUATE OF SUNY ADIRONDACK WITH A DEGREE IN LIBERAL ARTS 1999 GRADUATE OF SKIDMORE COLLEGE, WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN EXERCISE SCIENCE ATHLETIC CAREER: NATIONAL AND WORLD CHAMPION IN AEROBICS; ADVANCED DHARMA YOGA TEACHER; ADVANCED PHOENIX RISING YOGA THERAPIST; MEMBER OF IAYT INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF YOGA THERAPISTS CURRENTLY: OWNER OF LEMON TREE YOGA; HEALTH AND FITNESS COACH; MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER; WELLNESS PROVIDER FOR MVP INSURANCE; WELLNESS COORDINATOR AND ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR AT SUNY ADIRONDACK Health and Fitness Coaches

When the announcer read, “Chris Bergeron from Coast Athletics Track Club and Glens Falls, New York,” the crowd at Los Angeles Coliseum erupted.

“There were 33,000 people in the stadi um, and of all the athletes on the starting line, I got the loudest applause even though I was one of the least-known runners there,” said Christine Merrill, a Queensbury native who competed in the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials for Track & Field in the women’s 5,000-meter race. “So many people came out to support me.”

Competing in the International Exhibi tion Race was one of many successes in an impressive running career that started not on a track, but on the snowcovered trails of Coles Woods.

At age 11, while skiing in Crandall Park, she saw a coach training a group of young kids. She asked a few questions and ended up joining Torger Tokle Ski League, now known as the Bill Koch Ski League.

She skied with the group until high school, when she started competing on Queensbury High’s Nordic team. She

qualified for the state ski meet all four years of high school.

Her junior year, U.S. Nordic Ski Team Coach Marty Hall scouted Merrill, eventually inviting her to an Olympic Development Training Camp.

“Ever since my first ski race, I just knew in my heart, ‘This is what I want to do,’” Merrill said.

With a goal of skiing at University of New Hampshire, Merrill graduated from high school, turned down a scholarship to a Division II college in Pennsylvania and enrolled at SUNY Adirondack, where her former high school coach, Dave Hodgson, was coaching Nordic skiing.

She skied to the 1980 National Junior College Individual Championship Title in the 5K and team relay in Lake Placid, then transferred to UNH as planned. She ran cross-country for the Division I univer sity and came to a crossroads. “I started ski season and I just didn’t have the same passion for it. It was a foreign feeling to me because I had always loved skiing.”

“One day, I got on skis and thought, ‘I just want to run,’ so I dropped ski team

and joined indoor track,” she said. “That launched my running career.”

The summer after her sophomore year, Merrill ran a road race in Glens Falls and was approached by Barry Brown, a world-class distance runner who was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team. “He said, ‘If you allow me to coach you, I guarantee you’ll qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials.’”

Under Brown’s tutelage, Merrill grew as a runner and transferred to San Diego State University, where she knew some of the world’s best runners would push her to excel.

“The first time [track and field coach] Fred LaPlante saw me run, he contacted an elite Nike-sponsored track club in Los Angeles,” she said. “Their manager picked me up right away.”

Running for Coast Athletics, Merrill trimmed 46 seconds off her 3,000-meter time in one semester, bringing her within 4 seconds of her goal of qualifying in the 3,000 meters for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. “I didn’t have great leg speed and that was one

FUN FACT: AT THE THANKSGIVING DAY 1983 TROY TURKEY TROT, MERRILL SET THE 5K COURSE RECORD, RUNNING A PERSONAL BEST OF 16:03, TYING WITH A NEW ZEALAND WOMAN FOR THE FASTEST 5K RUN ON THE ROADS BY A WOMAN IN THE WORLD THAT YEAR, ACCORDING TO ASSOCIATION OF ROAD RACING STATISTICIANS. MERRILL’S TROY TURKEY TROT RECORD STILL STANDS.
“SUNY Adirondack afforded me an excellent education for hardly any money and gave me the opportunity to pursue my passion.”
20

CHRISTINE MERRILL

HOMETOWN: QUEENSBURY, NEW YORK

Higher Education Administrators

ATTENDED SUNY ADIRONDACK IN 1979-1980 AND FALL SEMESTER OF 1982

1985 GRADUATE OF UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE WITH A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN PARKS, RECREATION & TOURISM MANAGEMENT

ATHLETIC CAREER: NORDIC SKIER AT SUNY ADIRONDACK IN 1979-1980; DIVISION I CROSS-COUNTRY AND TRACK AND FIELD DISTANCE RUNNER AT UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE AND SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY; 1984 U.S. OLYMPIC TRACK & FIELD TRIALS COMPETITOR; PROFESSIONAL RUNNER FOR CONVERSE, NIKE AND ADIDAS

CURRENTLY: SENIOR PROGRAM COORDINATOR AT SKIDMORE COLLEGE OFFICE OF SPECIAL PROGRAMS

thing my teammates and coaches helped me develop,” she said. “I never thought of myself as fast and it was really fun to put on the spikes and experience myself fast for the first time.”

LaPlante offered her a full scholarship to run on the Division I cross-country and track and field teams. “I took this big risk to move out west and take on my dreams, and it all seemed to be going so well,” Merrill remembered.

Two weeks into the fall semester of 1983, LaPlante announced that he accepted a job as the women’s head coach at the University of Southern California.

“I was devastated,” Merrill said, ex plaining she lost a coach and a training partner in LaPlante’s wife, Monica Joyce, an Irish Olympian. She walked away from the scholarship, returned home for the remainder of the fall se mester and trained with Brown.

In January 1984, she moved to Los Angeles, and got to work on the track. She won her first invitational at USC, a second at UCLA, and was on track to surpass the 9:15 Olympic Trials qualifying time for the 3,000 meters. Within a few weeks, though, she started to suffer foot pain.

“I had a stress fracture,” she said,

frustration still evident in her voice.

She spent her days soaking her foot in a tub of ice water and training on weights, a stationary bike and in the pool. After six weeks, the fracture still hadn’t healed.

“I taped my foot, had cortisone shots, took anti-inflammatories and pushed myself through the pain,” she said. “I really lost my leg speed.”

She didn’t qualify for the Trials in the 3,000, but did in the 5,000. “My goal was to not finish last,” she said. With cousins, friends and her mother in the crowd cheering, she placed 25th out of 28 women.

“It was sweet sorrow,” she lamented. “I didn’t make the event I wanted, but it was really cool competing in the Trials at the venue where the Olympics were going to be held.”

Merrill moved back east and enrolled at University of New Hampshire for the fall 1984 semester. She was no longer eligible to run at the college level, but was quickly picked up by Converse as a sponsored athlete.

She continued to run, winning races throughout New England, until she moved, first to Florida, then Texas.

There, Merrill joined Austin Track Club, trained at the University of Texas with

the women’s track and field team under the guidance of UT head coach

Terry Crawford, who went on to be named the 1988 U.S. Olympic Wom en’s Track and Field coach, and signed a contract with Adidas.

“One of the contract agreements was if I got my picture on the front cover of Sports Illustrated, they’d give me a $25,000 bonus,” she said. “I laughed and thought, ‘Yeah, that’s never going to happen,’ but I’m flattered they thought it was possible.”

She never made the magazine cover, but ran professionally until she was 28.

“My body just started to really break down, one chronic injury after another,” she said.

Today, she is a senior program coordi nator in the Office of Special Programs at Skidmore College.

“All these experiences in college and sports, and all the people along the way, helped me get where I wanted to go. You can’t get there by yourself,” Merrill reflected. “Without a doubt, my experience at SUNY Adirondack was as an important part of my overall success as any other experience.”

FUN FACT: CHARLENE BECKER, HEAD COACH FOR SCHUYLERVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOL’S VARSITY CHEERLEADING TEAM, PRAISED DAN DENNETT, A LONGTIME ATHLETIC TRAINER AND INSTRUCTOR AT SUNY ADIRONDACK. “HE ALWAYS PROVIDED US WITH AN OPPORTUNITY,” SHE SAID. “HIS PROGRAM WAS REALLY INVOLVED, WE REALLY GOT TO SEE LIVE EVENTS AND HE WAS REALLY INFORMATIVE.” THE COLLEGE’S NYS COACHING CERTIFICATION COURSES WERE ESTABLISHED BY DENNETT’S FATHER, JOHN DENNETT, IN THE LATE-1970S. JOHN DENNETT WAS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, PHYSICAL EDUCA TION TEACHER AND COORDINATOR, AND COACHED FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL AND BASEBALL AT QUEENSBURY UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR 25 YEARS.

“Some of my favorite professors were from SUNY Adirondack. They’re not just teaching; the professors are actively practicing their crafts.”
22

CHARLENE BECKER

When a flyer landed a little crooked at a Schuylerville Central School cheerleading practice, her elbow crushed the nose of a teammate. Blood gushed, as it so often does with nose injuries, but Charlene Becker didn’t panic.

“I was naturally kind of calm,” said Becker, the team’s coach, who earned New York State Coaching Certification through SUNY Adiron dack’s microcredentials program. “It was pretty rough, there was a ton of blood, but I stayed calm, got ice on her right away and got the bleeding to stop.”

“She didn’t even have black eyes,” Becker said, with just a hint of pride. Becker was a competitive cheerlead er throughout high school, perform ing with what was then considered a club at Saratoga Springs High School (New York state didn’t recognize cheering as a sport until 2014) and, after high school, Triple Threat Athletics, an open team that traveled nationally.

“I fell in love with cheerleading,” Becker said. “No matter what you’re doing, you’re always learning some thing new — tumbling, dance, mo tion techniques, jumps, lifts — you can always push yourself.”

When she was a junior, her school cheerleading club placed third in Nationals. “Cheerleading was a pas sion of mine from the day I started.”

After graduating from SUNY Adiron dack and SUNY Plattsburgh’s branch campus at SUNY Adirondack, Becker dove into work at Aflac. A friend was hired as Schuylerville High School’s head cheering coach, and she asked Becker to be her assistant. After a year and a half, the friend had to step down, so Becker took on the head coach role.

“Being able to coach, to continue that passion and develop athletes, to help them succeed, that’s something I really love to do,” Becker said.

She took athletic training courses at SUNY Adirondack, learning to tape injuries (she said she has taped countless ankles in her coaching career), analyze injuries and handle an emergency.

She heads into her seventh year coaching with a 2022 Sectionals victory and an appearance at States under her skirt. But mostly she’s proud of life lessons learned.

HOMETOWN: SARATOGA, NEW YORK 2015 GRADUATE OF SUNY ADIRONDACK WITH A DEGREE IN LIBERAL ARTS 2019 GRADUATE OF SUNY PLATTSBURGH WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY ATHLETIC CAREER: EARNED NEW YORK STATE COACHING CERTIFICATION AT SUNY ADIRONDACK; CHEERED WITH TRIPLE THREAT ATHLETICS CURRENTLY: DISTRICT COORDINATOR FOR AFLAC; COACH OF SCHUYLERVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOL’S CHEERLEADING TEAM Insurance Sales Coordinators
“I think it’s important they’re a student first, athlete second, so they’re
focusing on academics,” she said. “We have been a scholarly athlete team three years running, which is important. I want them to develop these skills in their high school careers because this is a precursor for life, they’re learning life skills.”
“SUNY Adirondack is the best education I’ve had. The professors are really passionate and the Nursing program was rigorous, preparing me for a career.”
24

STEPHANIE GENGEL

HOMETOWN: QUEENSBURY, NEW YORK

Pediatric Psychiatric Nurses

2016 GRADUATE OF SUNY ADIRONDACK WITH A DEGREE IN NURSING

2018 GRADUATE OF SUNY PLATTSBURGH WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN NURSING ATHLETIC CAREER: VOLLEYBALL PLAYER AT SUNY ADIRONDACK, 2014-2016; FORMER COACH OF TRAVEL CLUB TEAM AND FORMER ASSISTANT COACH AT QUEENSBURY HIGH SCHOOL

CURRENTLY: PEDIATRIC PSYCHIATRIC NURSE; CLINICAL INSTRUCTOR AT ST. PETER’S HOSPITAL; EARNING A MASTER’S DEGREE FROM SAGE COLLEGES TO BE A PSYCHIATRIC MENTAL HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER; ASSISTANT COACH OF CASTLETON UNIVERSITY’S VOLLEYBALL TEAM

“I feel like all of them did,” said Gengel, a Queensbury High School vol leyball player, track and field athlete, and state champion cross-country ski team member.

After graduating high school, Gen gel attended SUNY Adirondack, where she earned a Nursing degree and played on the volleyball team under former Coach Xiao Li.

“Xiao as a coach was pivotal in my success,” Gengel said. “He allowed me time to sit in his office if I needed

to study. If we had away games and stayed in a hotel, he’d make sure my roommates would give me time to study. I couldn’t have done it without his help and the help of my teammates.”

Those teammates included Mad ison Paquin, a former teammate at Queensbury and, starting this season, a co-assistant coach at Castleton University, where Gengel will work with SUNY Adirondack alumna Jessica Trudeau, Castleton’s head coach. Gengel and Trudeau also played a season together at SUNY Adirondack.

“Having collaborated for almost a decade as players and friends, and out in the community, has made it a seamless tradition into coaching together,” Gengel said.

As she prepared for the season’s first practice last month, Gengel said she loves coaching because she appreciates the impact a good coach can have.

Stephanie Gengel can’t pick just one coach who influenced her.
“We’re teaching skills that are turning people into good humans who are making a difference,” she said. “That’s huge.”
BELOW: STEPHANIE (#5) DURING A GAME IN 2015 SEASON

LEFT: RICHARD HENDRICKS IN NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT UNIFORM

ABOVE: ON THE COURT AT SUNY ADIRONDACK IN 2013

teachers at SUNY Adirondack are amazing.

Richard Hendrick loves to surprise kids who step on to the basketball court with him.

“I used to be one of those kids, who were like, ‘This guy stinks,’” the New York City Police Department youth coordination officer said. “Now, all the kids look at me and they’re like, ‘You used to actually play.’”

Hendrick grew up just outside of Queens and played basketball at Valley Stream Central High School,

which as an AAU team faced some of the larger schools in the region. When it came time to decide on a college, he made the trip north to SUNY Adirondack with a friend. He liked the campus so much, he re turned with his parents.

“I thought it was a nice place, so qui et, such nice scenery, and I knew I’d be focused if I went to school there,” said Hendrick, who graduated with a degree in Liberal Arts in 2013 and

spent two years on the men’s basket ball team.

“I had a great time,” he said. “It was just a great experience.”

The summer before college, Hendrick took several city exams, including police, fire and sanitation.

After graduating from SUNY Ad irondack, Hendrick planned to play basketball at York College. “When I finished Adirondack, I was at the

a great
“The
I had
experience.”
26

RICHARD HENDRICK

Police

point of thinking, ‘What do I really want to do?’,” he said. “I don’t want to keep going to school to waste my parents’ money and my time; I want to focus on something I really want to do and really love.”

When he received word that he made the list for New York City Police Department’s next class, he knew what he wanted. “I decided to focus on my career,” he said.

He started as a beat cop, but now serves as a resource to children in Queens.

“I get to do what I like,” he said. “A lot of kids who are troubled, they come to us, I coach them in basket ball, football and softball. We get kids enrolled in colleges, write letters of recommendation to get summer youth jobs, and serve as a positive influence for kids in the community who don’t have what we had growing up.”

Hendrick — who has a brother and sister who both played college basketball — is the first member of

his family to go into law enforcement. His mother is a nurse practitioner and his father is a retired respira tory therapist. Hendricks himself is eligible for retirement at age 43 and thinks he will pursue a second career in radiology technology.

“I’ve always had a passion for help ing people,” he said, explaining that played a large part in his decision to become a police officer.

But in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the resulting race riots and Black Lives Matter protests, Hendrick found himself in sometimes uncom fortable territory.

“As a black man, I was angry about what I saw [in the video of Floyd’s apprehension and subsequent death], and as a police officer, watching what he did — I’ve made 115 arrests, I’ve had to fight people, but there are different ways to contain someone; not kneeling on their neck,” he said.

“We received backlash from people on the street, and I understand why they’re angry,” Hendrick said. “It’s not

different from any other job: One bad apple messes it up for everyone.”

Hendricks, though, said he and his fellow officers look out for one another, a support system not unlike what he experienced at SUNY Adirondack.

“Everybody was so nice at Adirondack,” he said.

“I used everything to my full potential there, and now I tell kids to have fun, but also focus on what they want to do and learn. I just want to progress and be a pos itive influence, to continue to do well with my work and my life, and to be a better person.”

HOMETOWN: LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK 2013 GRADUATE OF SUNY ADIRONDACK WITH A DEGREE IN LIBERAL ARTS ATHLETIC CAREER: BASKETBALL PLAYER AT SUNY ADIRONDACK, 2011-2013 CURRENTLY: NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER FUN FACT: DURING HIS SECOND YEAR AT SUNY ADIRONDACK, RICHARD MET AND PLAYED ON THE BASKETBALL TEAM WITH MAXX SWEET, WHO IN 2021 WAS NAMED HEAD COACH OF THE MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM. "WE PLAYED TOGETHER AND HE IS A GREAT GUY," RICHARD SAID. "I ALWAYS KNEW HE HAD POTENTIAL TO BE A GOOD COACH. I WAS HAPPY FOR HIM WHEN I GOT THAT NEWS."
Officers

RENDERING OF TURF FIELD PROJECT

FUN FACT: STEWART’S SHOP AND THE DAKE FAMILY DONATED $75,000 TOWARD THE TURF FIELD PROJECT. OVER THE YEARS, THEY HAVE GIVEN THE COLLEGE MUCH TO CELEBRATE. AS THE COLLEGE’S LARGEST CORPORATE SPONSOR, THE ORGANIZATIONS HAVE GIVEN SUNY ADIRONDACK JUST LESS THAN $400,000 TO SUPPORT VARIOUS EFFORTS, INCLUDING THE REACH NEW HEIGHTS CAMPAIGN; THE REGIONAL HIGHER EDUCATION CENTER; AND HELP PROVIDING ACCESS SCHOLARSHIPS FOR COMMUNITY YOUTH PARTICIPATING IN SUNY ADIRONDACK’S SUMMER ENRICHMENT PROGRAM. THROUGHOUT FALL 2022, STEWART'S TEMPORARILY RENAMED ITS AWARD-WINNING PEANUT BUTTER PANDEMONIUM ICE CREAM TO SUNY ADK'S SWEET SUCCESS AT SCOOP COUNTERS IMMEDIATELY SURROUNDING THE COLLEGE'S FACILITIES.

GOAL SETTERS TIMBERWOLF SCORING RECORDYEAR TEAM SPORT ACHIEVEMENT 2016 MEN’S SOCCER CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS 2019 MEN S BASEBALL SUB-REGION III QUALIFIER 2018 MEN S BASEBALL REGION III QUALIFIER 2015 MEN S SOCCER CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS 2018 MEN S GOLF REGIONAL CHAMPIONS2019 WOMEN S VOLLEYBALL REGION III QUALIFIER2019 MEN’S GOLF NATIONALS FAST FACTS TEAM MASCOT: TimberwolvesCOLORS: Green and GoldAFFILIATION: Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA Region III)and the Mountain Valley Collegiate ConferencePlayers come from all over the Northeast and Canada,including Albany, Troy, Saratoga, Rochester, New York City,Kingston, Oneonta and Poughkeepsie 2018 MEN’S BOWLING NATIONALS2018 MEN S BASEBALL REGION III QUALIFIER2018 MEN S GOLF NATIONALS 2021 WOMEN’S VOLLEYBAL L REGIONAL III QUALIFIER2021 WOMEN’S SOFTBALL SUB-REGION III QUALIFIER2021 WOMEN’S GOLF REGION III WOMEN’S CHAMPION 2022 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL OPENING ROUND — REGIONALS2022 MEN’S BASEBALL SUB-REGION III QUALIFIER2022 WOMEN’S GOLF REGION III CHAMPION/ NATIONALS — 4TH PLACE2022 MEN’S GOLF NATIONALS

GREAT FUTURES START HERE

Since 1961, generations of students have started their journeys here.

30

I am a first-generation college graduate, a wife and a mother. I hold bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees; have worked as a high school counselor; spent years in college admissions, enrollment and student services; and have served as college president for nearly a decade.

Some of the most essential life lessons I’ve learned, though, were in a chalk-dusted, sweattinged gym. Perhaps I didn’t know it as a child, but through the years I spent training and competing as a gymnast, I developed the skills I would need to succeed in my career and relationships.

I learned the importance of determination; how to set and work toward goals; personal disci pline; camaraderie; how to win and — perhaps even more importantly — lose gracefully; time management; accountability; and how to receive and grow from constructive criticism.

Studies show student-athletes are less likely to use drugs or suffer from depression, and are more likely to earn college degrees. The physical and emotional health benefits continue beyond competition days, as student-athletes are significantly more likely to become physically active adults.

Certainly my days of splits, giants and aerials are behind me, but my release is still found in physical exertion. I hike, bike and walk regularly. I hit the trails and roadways when I need to clear my mind, but also simply because it allows me to see our region’s beauty and provides me a differ ent perspective.

In June, the college started work on its athletics fields, a major step in a longer-term plan that includes updating many of our facilities. The new turf field complex will give our student-athletes a top-notch training and competition ground, and provide our region another facility at which to host tournaments, clinics and competitions.

Watching the new athletic complex come together, I see great potential for the future. By committing to improving SUNY Adirondack’s athletics facilities, we are investing in our belief that what makes great athletes — the ability to work as part of a team; integrity; empathy; work ethic; celebrating others’ successes; mental toughness; ability to overcome adversity; decisiveness — also makes good community members, employees and leaders.

At SUNY Adirondack, we are committed to offering the benefits of athletic competition to our students. Of course, our priority is an in credible education that pro vides opportunity to transfer to a higher degree program or to prepare for a fulfilling career. But we recognize the unrivaled impact athletics has on building character.
Finch Fine, Ultra Smooth, 100 PC White, 70 lb. text “I've always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.” – Michael Jordan GREAT FUTURES START HERE. FIND EVERYTHING YOU NEED AT SUNY ADIRONDACK. Learn more at www.sunyacc.edu/admissions SUNYACC.EDU @sunyadk #sunyadk 640 BAY ROAD QUEENSBURY, NY
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