News - The Exhilaration of "Team"

The Exhilaration of "Team"

By Rachel Heston-Davis

Don Easton-Brooks ’88 dreaded one particular drill at Panther football practice: running 1.5 miles in 12 minutes. Today, the former team captain treasures the memories of his teammates rallying around him, shouting encouragement as he neared the finish.

“Sometimes, as a leader, you don’t get a lot of pick-me-ups,” Don explains, so it meant a lot that his teammates helped him during his vulnerable moments.

Team Appeal

The appeal of “team” often draws high school athletes to Greenville University. President H.J. Long foresaw this effect when, in 1944, his administration initiated the intercollegiate athletics program. It began with a basketball team and a lineup of nine spring game dates; today, the University boasts 15 athletic teams.

In Panther sports, students find the camaraderie and thrill of intercollegiate competition they anticipated. Often, they also find surprises like fresh academic interests, spiritual formation and personal development.

Don Easton BrooksPlanning for Life After Football

Don, for example, felt deep satisfaction on the football field, encouraging weary teammates and easing game-day anxieties. Football helped him develop his sense of leadership and purpose, but he also recognized his need to plan for “life after college.”

Extraordinary professors like James A. Reinhard ’54 and Rick Stephens ’77 stepped in and pushed Don to academic excellence. Today, Don helps shape equitable policies in public education and serves as dean of the School of Education at the University of South Dakota.

Football Trumps Air Force Academy

Kirk Pearce ’15 did “the unthinkable” as a high school senior and turned down an offerKirk Pearce Football to attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in order to play college football; Greenville provided that opportunity.

Panther football shaped Kirk’s character for a lifetime. He credits then Coach Ordell Walker with instilling life principles that “I still fall back on to this day.”

Kirk discovered opportunities outside of sports, too. Chemistry Department Chair Darrell Iler ’77 urged him to major in chemistry and then pursue research. Iler’s dedicated guidance ultimately led Kirk to a PhD program at Virginia Tech.

Kirk is grateful for his mentors in athletics and academics. “Any success that I have achieved can be attributed to these two men and the difference they made in my life.”

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2017 RECORD.


Learn More

Spiritual Mentoring at GC Shapes Lifelong Passion for Education
Publish, Publish, Present, Present - Well Equipped Grad Finds His Stride
Kirk Pearce Awarded With 2015 President’s Citation
National Champions! Women’s Basketball Wins NCCAA Title

Did you know . . .

Rules prohibit Division III athletes like those at Greenville University from receiving athletic scholarships. Athletes are eligible, however, to receive academic scholarships for which they qualify. Thank you for giving.

This story was published on August 10, 2017

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