By Mari Pothier | firstname.lastname@example.org
Flagler professor Steve Voguit fuses his passion for students, sports and academics.
A few years ago, when Flagler moved into the NCAA, President William T. Abare asked Voguit to be the faculty athletics representative and he immediately said yes.
When Voguit first came to Flagler he was an adjunct and within a few years, Abare put him on the full time staff.
“I was so grateful, so thankful, so appreciative of him doing that, that I’d do anything for him,” Voguit said in regards to Abare.
Now Voguit is responsible for a variety of tasks ranging from reporting any issues relating to athletics to Abare, chairing the intercollegiate athletics committee, conducting exit interviews with senior athletes, signing player eligibility sheets, attending Peach Belt Conference meetings and speaking at the welcome back event for student athletes in August.
“I like being around the athletics program a lot and it’s so much more meaningful to attend contests and cheer for the team when you know the coach and you know the players and you develop a friendship,” Voguit said. “It becomes way more meaningful.”
Voguit said his number one responsibility is to be an advocate for student athletes in regards to academics. Due to Flagler’s attendance policy, athletes can exceed the number of classes that can be missed rather quickly, especially since the college moved into the Peach Belt Conference.
Voguit said a professor can be unaware a student in his or her class is an athlete and a misunderstanding can result, so he needs to step in. He said he explains to a faculty member that a specific student is an athlete and helps to resolve any issues which occurred.
Voguit and Yvan Kelly, associate dean of academic affairs, work very closely on these issues and only advocate athletes if an issue pertains to their involvement in intercollegiate athletics.
“If the kid is missing five classes because they simply can’t get up or even if it’s because of the flu there’s nothing I can do,” Voguit said.
As the chair of the intercollegiate athletics committee he and the other members give their opinions on plans or projects the athletics department may be working on. Voguit said within this committee, subcommittees are formed that hold hearings for student athletes who wish to discuss issues like financial aid or being allowed to transfer.
Voguit said he also has to go to Abare about issues relating to athletics ranging from team issues to college policies.
“I conduct exit interviews with the seniors as they leave and I ask them basically about their experience, their student athlete experience, about things like the facilities, what was a good way to balance academics and sports, things you’d like to see changed or improved,” Voguit said.
Voguit said his favorite part about the job is getting to know the athletics department. He said he is friends with all the coaches, the athletic director and knows most of the athletes. He also tries to attend every game he can, sometimes serving as the administrator on duty.
“I really think the professors need to support the students in all they do so I go to the plays and I go to whatever I can go to,” Voguit said.
Kelly said that Voguit was a natural choice for this job because of his love for sports and passion for the students.
“Professor Voguit always, let me emphasis always, has the interest of our students first,” Kelly said.
Voguit said there are ups and downs about being the faculty athletics representative but he enjoys getting to know the athletes.
“It’s a very profound way to get to know someone outside of class,” Voguit said. “I really believe with all my heart that athletics is an extension of the classroom. The coaches are as much teaching as we are.”