By Kaitlan Parker '17
Bridgewater College's Faculty Athletic Liaison mentoring program is designed to enhance the integration of academics and athletics. The Faculty Athletic Liaison (FAL) serves as an academic mentor to the student-athlete within the athletic arena, and will be able to experience and understand the balance required by the student-athlete to achieve success in both their academic and athletic endeavors. Bridgewatereagles.com will be featuring its FALs throughout the coming year.
BRIDGEWATER, Va. - It was not another faculty member that recruited Dr. Lou Pugliese to become the Faculty Athletic Liaison for the tennis team, but instead it was the student-athletes. A few of the tennis players in one of his classes found out they were in need of a FAL so they asked Dr. Pugliese if he would take on the role and he did.
Though Dr. Pugliese's official role is Faculty Athletic Liaison for the tennis team, he does whatever he can to help all of the athletic teams at Bridgewater College. "I do a lot of work with the football team as well with recruiting, sitting with parents and prospective students" says Dr. Pugliese. He also has worked with the soccer and lacrosse teams when it comes to meeting recruits. If any coaches have prospective students that would like to come and sit in on a class of his he always welcomes the opportunity.
Dr. Pugliese values his relationship with the coaches. He is always understanding when a student needs to miss class to travel for an athletic event and in return coaches are willing to work with him when he needs something. Just recently Dr. Pugliese had asked a coach to release a student from practice to attend a Society for Human Resources club event. The student had previously missed three classes for athletic events with the support of Dr. Pugliese. "He is an officer in one of my clubs and now I want him to come to one of my club events; so we are negotiating," explained Dr. Pugliese.
While being supportive of athletics here at Bridgewater Dr. Pugliese likes to remind students that the education is what they are here for. "The athletic part is not where you are going to end up. You may end up with something related but the getting the degree is the important part," he said. He encourages student-athletes to not get too caught up in the athletic part of their college experience. In regards to playing college sports at a NCAA Division III school he says, "You're not supposed to get hurt, you're not supposed to lose your mind over this, your coaches are going to protect you." He recognizes that sports are not the focus of college but also understands the value of what they can teach.
During Dr. Pugliese's time in the automotive industry he valued seeing athletics on a resume. Hed explained, "When I read a resume athletics tells me something, just like a bachelor degree tells me something. It tells me about experiences you have been through and skills you have gained."
Besides emphasizing the importance of academics to student-athletes Dr. Pugliese enjoys spending time at their practices and events. As the FAL for the tennis team he has made an effort to attend as many practices and games as he can. "When I have information on events and I can attend them, I will go," he said. "The first year I was with them I actually made a bunch of practices, just because the timing worked out perfectly." Despite the fact that more recently the timing has not worked out so well he still makes an effort to spend time with the team.
Dr. Pugliese held a social event at his house for the tennis team last year and plans to do the same again this year. The whole team came along with head coach Jordon Robinson and his family. Last year Dr. Pugliese made up a jeopardy game for everyone to play that included various questions about tennis. He was impressed by how much of the information the team and coach knew. "I was surprised that they actually knew some of it. They knew more of the deep obscure history, and the coach knew all of it." He admits that he personally knew hardly any of it.
Though Dr. Pugliese may not be an expert on tennis, he is an expert on economics and business administration. During his time here at Bridgewater he has taught classes in management, marketing and human resources management. He has found current events to be an important part of his teaching over the years. He gets up at 4:30 a.m. every morning to look through the news to see what is relevant for him to bring into the classroom. "In business it is always about what is current. What is happening today is changing all of the time," he said. These current events play an important role not just in the classroom, but also in the workforce. As Dr. Pugliese retires from his time as a professor he heads back into the business consulting workforce where he finds current events to be equally important.
Outside of academics Dr. Pugliese has three major interests- cars, cigars and travel. He usually has one hobby car at a time and will trade those off over the years. During the time he has been at Bridgewater he has had three different hobby cars. Travel is another major passion of Dr. Pugliese's. When class isn't in session he enjoys spending his time traveling. "As soon as this semester is over I am gone," he said. "I am not even physically here; I am traveling somewhere."
From the Courts to the Fields with Faculty Athletic Liaison Dr. Pugliese
By Kaitlan Parker '17