MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

August 12, 2017

New era in Comets Football progressing with pre-season camp underway


The first sign of fall and a new academic year is the return of the athletes. A close second is the pre-service workshops for faculty and staff. We’re excited to have our football and volleyball players on campus getting ready for their fall seasons. Next week, all faculty and staff will be back too, for pre-service activities. Pre-service workshops generally take place during a three-day period the week before the fall semester classes begin. The dates this year are Aug. 16-18. This will be a time to meet new faculty and staff, learn about new policies and procedures, and become acquainted with new programs and initiatives.

We are delighted about a new era in Mayville State Football, which began with the hiring of head coach Sean Thom last December. Fall training camp for football began with move-in on Aug. 6. Their 11-day training camp continues to be filled with practices, meetings, film sessions, team bonding activities and more. The first game of the season will be in Storm Lake, Iowa on Aug. 31.

Before joining the staff at Mayville State, Coach Thom was the defensive coordinator at North Forsyth High School in Cummings, Ga. North Forsyth is a Class 7A high school in northern Georgia with an enrollment of 2,400 students. Previously, he was the linebackers coach at Faulkner University, an NAIA school in Montgomery, Ala., where he also played collegiate football. Sean was an NAIA Academic All-American and a First Team All Mid-South Conference player three times.

Since coming on board, Coach Thom has been hitting it hard, hiring his staff and recruiting new high quality students to play for the Comets, while making connections with alumni and community members. We’re excited to see the fruits of the labors of Thom and his staff.

Some of the key recruits for the upcoming seasons are Sean Perry, an outside linebacker from Cooperstown, N.D.; Aaron Reistad, offensive lineman from Larimore, N.D.; Zachary Cramon, offensive lineman from Elk River, Minn.; Kamron Engler, linebacker from Ellijay, Ga.; and Jason McCarl, safety from Crawfordsville, Fla.

Coach Thom’s staff includes Rod Oksendahl, offensive coordinator; Shane Clancy, defensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator; Derek Bakken, defensive line coach; Eric Gibson, wide receivers coach; Brian Quinn, offensive line coach/special teams coordinator; Pau Whitaker, running backs coach; Andy Gorniak, defensive backs coach; Aaron Johnson, outside linebackers coach/graduate assistant; and Ross Walther, specialists coach. We thank them for their hard work to date and we are eager to watch their plans come to fruition.

Coach Thom says, “Our staff is excited about the upcoming season for many reasons. First of all, we are welcoming back our returners, who did a fantastic job of ‘buying in’ to our process and what Mayville State Football is about, doing the small things right each and every day to achieve success.

“We are also excited to welcome many new high quality student-athletes who look to help us compete in year one of the new era. Even though we will be playing an extremely tough schedule, we look forward to watching our guys compete day in and day out.”

One of the biggest goals for the team in the 2017 season is to compete in everything they do. They aim to build a culture of competition that will last through the test of time. Off the field, the goal is to have a team grade point average of 3.0 and to become actively involved in the community of Mayville.

The 2017 fall pre-service activities will kick off with a breakfast for faculty and staff Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 7 a.m. Breakfast will be followed by my annual state of the university address. This will be held in the Classroom Building Auditorium, beginning at 8 a.m. The public is welcome to join us and hear the latest from Mayville State University. Then the university vice presidents will share their updates, and a number of other informational topics will be shared with faculty and staff.

Faculty will participate in informational sessions on Starfish, Title IX, and campus safety. In addition there will be a session on student demographics as well as a foyer fair, where various campus entities will share information. Thursday, Aug. 17 is reserved for course preparation and division meetings. On Friday, Aug. 18, the Faculty Association and Academic Standards Committee will meet. Faculty and staff will enjoy a picnic during the noon hour.

The days before a new academic year begins are always exciting. I look forward to welcoming our veteran employees, as well as all of those who are new. It will be great to have everyone back on campus as we work to make a difference in the lives of students in pursuit of their educational goals. Classes for the fall semester begin at 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21. The first full day of classis is Tuesday, Aug. 22.