On and off the field, Olivet College football coaches mentor student-athletes and shape them into respectable young men. Supported by the “One Win” philosophy, the team focuses on winning in all aspects of life, and guided by their coaches, these student-athletes can accomplish that goal.
For Head Coach Dan “Moose” Musielewicz, it’s about living out the W1N philosophy each and every day.
“W1N is everything. It’s written on my heart. It’s written on my staff’s hearts,” Musielewicz said. “It’s how we live and how we coach. It’s everything to us. We are blessed with the opportunity to use football to make a difference, and we take that opportunity.
“At the end of the day, W1N is our culture. We don’t just talk about it; we define it. We make sure that definition is known. It’s a belief system among a group of men and we hold each other accountable to it. We can lean on each other no matter what happens.”
The W1N motto is a key part of junior Andrew Campbell’s life, and he strives to meet that goal in everything he does.
“Coach Moose infused the W1N philosophy in my head from the beginning,” Campbell said. “It not only applies on the field, but off as well. ‘Win at everything you do.’ ‘Win each day,’ all the time, one day at a time. I apply that to my everyday living — winning a game, a practice, receiving an A on a test or assignment, winning at being a brother, son, boyfriend and uncle. It has shaped me into the person I am today and who I will become in the future.”
Senior Daniel Waber agrees that the principle carries over into his everyday life. He believes that mentorship isn’t limited to the field, and the W1N culture drives stronger connections between student-athletes and coaches.
“The OC football team is unique in terms of mentorship because it is constant,” he said. “It doesn’t stop once you leave the locker room or coach’s office. There is a constant standard being held throughout our academic and social lives, not only football.”
Campbell adds that mentorship is key when building a successful team and grooming successful men.
“Stronger connections between student-athletes and coaches lead to athletic progress and growth of both the players and coaches,” he said. “There is no foundation without strong relationships between coaches and players.”
Senior Noah McMinn is unique in that he has changed positions several times throughout his college career.
“Since I have been at Olivet, I have played five positions and had six position coaches,” McMinn said. “I have been very fortunate to work closely with six coaches. Each coach is different, but they all teach football and help develop young men at the same time.”
For Assistant Coach DeShawn Gilbert, mentoring is an opportunity for him to give back and provide encouragement just like he experienced.
“I was a student-athlete myself and if I didn’t have people around me supporting me and mentoring me, then I don’t know if I would be in the position I am in today,” Gilbert said. “I want to see people be successful, and it brings me joy if I can help student-athletes in any way. The more we know about the student, the more we can help them become successful. The closer the relationship we build with them, the more he or she will open up and become comfortable with us helping them.”
With Open Arms
A Canadian international student, sophomore Chad Enwright experienced cultural changes when he came to Olivet. His coaches helped him acclimate to the College as he learned more about life in the United States.
“Every coach has been supportive with open arms about helping through any questions or concerns I have, and that is something I’ve always been grateful for,” Enwright said. “Our coaches do everything they can to make our players feel like they belong and that our team is their home away from home. They make it very clear to us that they are always there for us, and having that connection with them makes playing for them so much easier and more meaningful.”
At Olivet, it’s all about family, and it’s no different on the football team.
“The coaches have all been fathers to me, and at the end of the day, no matter what, football aside, they are always there,” senior Tyler Bandy said.
Musielewicz simply sums up the importance of strong player-coach relationships.
“Accolades fade. Memories fade. Trophies collect dust, but relationships last.”