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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

How They Got Here

The most important factor in continuing to build the athletic programs at UMass Boston is consistently attracting new talent to join the Beacon programs. The 2007-2008 year has been no different, and the new blood infused into the hockey and baseball squads, for instance, has already paid dividends. Watching these new Beacons has given coaches and a select fan base the opportunity to enjoy the improved sports scene, but how do these athletes end up at UMass Boston in the first place?

Talking to student athletes about their first semesters and impressions of the athletic scene, it was clear that they chose to be Beacons because they were happy with the direction of the programs here.

The leadership, starting with Chancellor Dr. J. Keith Motley and Vice Chancellor Charlie Titus, has impressed the new athletes. “Charlie Titus has done a wonderful job with all the teams,” junior baseball player Mike Groth said. “With him in charge, things are only going to get better.”

Groth’s former community college teammate Patrick McCarthy agreed. “It’s more organized at the top here than in community college,” the Finger Lakes Community College (NY) transfer said.

Also impressing students was the university’s commitment to the true definition of the student athlete. “The student-before-athlete policy is enforced here,” Groth, a mathematics major, said. “I’m 100% behind the idea of study hall.”

What really seemed to sell the talented athletes on UMass Boston, however, were the facilities like the Clark Athletic Center. Hulking baseball player and Western Connecticut transfer G.P. O’Kane mentioned the weight rooms as a point of pride, a logical answer given the sophomore slugger’s massive size. “At [Western Connecticut State University], the weight rooms were newer, but they’re much nicer here,” the business management major said. “Both weight rooms [in McCormack Hall and the Clark Athletic Center] are much, much bigger.”

Also complimentary regarding the Clark Athletic Center was Danny Arenas, a spring semester transfer whose career stops include Eastern Connecticut State University and Columbia. “The facilities are better here, bar none,” the catcher said. “Columbia doesn’t hold a candle to UMass [Boston] when it comes to the facilities they offer athletes.”

Hockey player Devin Hutchinson is grateful to have the facilities that the Beacons offer after graduating from Michigan’s Port Huron Northern High School. “We had to share a soccer field with our cross-town rivals,” the freshman psychology major explained. “UMB’s facilities are a big upgrade in terms of where I came from.”

These new athletes aren’t without desires, however. In addition to a little confusion over the mascot name, the lack of a baseball field was a hot topic with the young Beacons.

O’Kane mentioned the need for a baseball field, describing the impact it would have on the program. “Getting a field is huge, because it will make the team better and attract better recruits,” he said. “We basically played on a Little League field in the fall.”

When comparing UMass Boston’s athletic facilities to other Boston area schools, junior McCarthy noted one obvious distinction. “A baseball field is the difference,” he said.

It’s not just biased ballplayers asking for a field, however. Hutchinson also wondered why there wasn’t a place for the baseball team. “Baseball is off-campus,” the forward said. “I know space is limited, but I would love to see a field here.”

McCarthy also was unsure of the Beacons name and how fierce it sounded. “I think it’s kind of weird that we’re a lighthouse,” he said. “It doesn’t have an intimidating feel to it.”

Intimidating or not, the mascot name isn’t what’s key to the athletic programs here. The infusion of new blood into the programs is the lifeline for UMass Boston athletics, and as long as the student-athletes are still impressed, the Beacons have nowhere to go but up.