A friend of a friend-Kristen Humphries-Wendell Staton-February 5

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for February 5, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

I am proud of all my friends but I have a special connection with Wendell Staton. He is currently the Director of Athletics at Georgia College and State University. Prior to going to Georgia College he was at UNC Pembroke in a number of different roles including Associate Vice-Chancellor in Advancement. Wendell went to Georgia College in 2009.

Prior to his work in the advancement office at UNCP, Staton was the Director of Recreation and Parks in Lumberton, N.C. for three years. He served at UNC Pembroke as a coach and lecturer; headed up the golf program, served as men’s basketball assistant and taught in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation program from 1996-2002.

Wendell also served as an assistant basketball coach at Georgia College, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Elon University and Campbell University prior to coming to UNCP in 1996.

My relationship with Wendell goes back to when he was a basketball player for St. Andrews College from 1986-1990 and I was Head Basketball Coach at UNC Pembroke. In 1998 I became the Athletic Director at UNC Pembroke and Wendell was one of my coaches on the staff. Over the next decade we began a friendship and mentorship.

Wendell is fun to be around and to this day we send each other emails we refer to as “C’mon Man” when we see some human behavior that strikes both of us as funny or ridiculous. We just don’t share humor we also exchange ideas on a shared passion we both have related to leadership and coaching.

I would often tell Wendell that in coaching, parenting, and in any role involving leadership you get a second paycheck. Those paychecks don’t come on a regular schedule but if you follow the natural laws of being a leader they do come. I call them emotional paychecks. Those are the moments in a relationship when you realize that the lessons or value you taught or believe in have been transferred to someone else. When a parent sees a child succeed is one great example of a an emotional paycheck. We often get those paychecks when someone shows us their appreciation for what we have meant to them.

Wendell is a leader who has previously received thousands of these emotional paycheck moments as a coach, athletic director, and advancement professional . He will receive a thousand more in the future because of the leader he is. This week he got one from a student athlete who is on the softball team at Georgia College and State University named Kristen Humphries.

Kristen Humphries is a graduate of Columbus High School in Columbus, Ga. She is the daughter of Shawn and Marisela Humphries. She is majoring in biology and pre-veterinarian medicine and has been the an outstanding student and athlete in her four years at Georgia College. She will graduate in May 2015 and Wendell emotional paycheck is about her dream to get accepted to Veterinary School.

The Friend-WENDELL STATON-far right in first photo and second from right in second photo

Wendell Dick Dan Jones CenterUNCP Past

The Friend of the Friend-KRISTEN HUMPHRIES

Kristen Humphries

Wendell Staton emotional paycheck with Georgia College Softball Player Kristen Humphries

Someone said once that educators get emotional paychecks that are much larger than actual dollars.  This video and story below is one of those paychecks that reminds me how fortunate we are in our profession.

Kristen Humphries, a senior softball student-athlete and one of our best players, was recently accepted into Veterinary School at UGA.  There are just over 30 Vet schools in the US, so it is harder to get in to Vet school than Med school.  UGA Vet School takes 15% of the applicants annually.

Her parents intercepted the acceptance email and actual letter, then asked me if I would present this to her in front of the team.  I was humbled and certainly felt inadequate to do this, but as you will see in the video at bottom, it was very emotional for everyone involved and one of the highlights of my professional career.  Notice how many of her teammates are wiping their eyes as well.  You may not be able to see it, but the AD (me) in this video is moved emotionally and has teared up as well.

This came on the heels of just a couple of days earlier, we were able to have a grand opening for our softball program as they have a locker room for the first time.  Having the team experience this long overdue locker room was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had professionally and personally.

We set it up so the team thought I was touring parents into the new softball locker room.  Also, Kristen was a walk-on four years ago and eventually earned some academic and athletic scholarship funds.   She has been a starter throughout her career and every softball player will tell you that she is the best example of a what a teammate should be.  She does every drill like it is the last practice she will ever have and approaches everything in life with the same zest.

Great example of the good things that happen when the values of higher education and athletics align.

Dan I want you to enjoy the video link below and I want to give you an “emotional paycheck”.

Thanks for your awesome example of  “how to care for the whole student-athlete” that has prepared me well in this role.


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