10 Reasons to Support the Georgia College Athletic Auction: Mary Rob Plunkett

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - In the days leading to the 2012 Georgia College Athletic Auction, Saturday, April 14 at 6 p.m. in the Centennial Center, Bobcat Nation will sit down with a few current and former Georgia College student-athletes for a few personality profiles.

The Athletic Auction helps to support student-athlete scholarships and other capital projects for the athletic department. Individual tickets, which admit two people, can be purchased for $125 and include free food and drinks along with entry to the $10,000 reverse raffle.

The second student-athlete is former All-American goalkeeper player Mary Rob Plunkett (2007-11). Plunkett was a standout for the Bobcats, both between the pipes and in the classroom. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

How has being on a collegiate team shaped you personally?

First, it provided me with friends that I will have for the rest of my life and some of the best memories that I will always cherish from my time that I was in college.  From my first season as a freshman the team became more than a team and more like a family or your best group of friends, people that you knew you could count on no matter what.  And with each new class, it was just adding to the ever growing family.       

Being on a college team also taught me lessons that I don’t think you can learn anywhere else.  I learned how to manage school, practices and games, friends and being a normal college student, and family all at once.  I think one of the things that I’m most thankful for and think that being on the soccer team did for me was show me how to be a true team player.  When to step up and be a leader and also when to stop, listen, and do what I’m being told.

What are your plans for the future and how will this scholarship help you reach these goals?

I am pretty confident in my statement that I would not be where I am today if I had not been at Georgia College and apart of soccer program and athletic department as a whole.  Right now I am finishing up my first year of a two year graduate program studying Sport Administration at UNC that is college sport specific.  If I had not participated in college athletics I would not have found my love of college sports and found out what I really wanted to do after college.  The opportunities that everyone in the athletic department gave me allowed me to truly figure out if being in college sports was what I really wanted to do, and without those opportunities I would not be where I am today.

Starting this summer I am going to be working full time for the next year with the athletic operations department at UNC as part of my graduate program.  Once I graduate I plan to continue working in college athletics.  My plan, as of right now, is to continue to work in operations and move into facility and capital projects planning and fundraising.  I would like to work in capital projects from the fundraising and finance stand-point to utilize my business degrees that I got a GC and then also be able to address it from an operational stand-point that I will be gaining as an intern and working in the field. Eventually I would like to become a senior associate athletic director/ SWA.  The type of school continues to change but I definitely want to be in the southeast and in a college town.

What are some of the learning experiences you’ve taken away from your time as a student athlete at GC?

How to deal with adversity.  No one comes thinking that they are going to play for three different coaches.  But stuff happens and you have to adjust and take every situation as a time to grow and get better and deal with things.  I’ve learned that what you put in is what you’re going to get out.  This is something that I’ve been able to take away from playing and into graduate school and working.  I learned this not only from practicing but from rehabbing and class with projects and tests.  I’ve learned that things aren’t always going to be easy and fun but if you put in the work and really invest yourself you’re going to get the outcome that you want (or at least a whole lot closer to what you want).

I’ve learned that the score at the end of the game isn’t the only thing that matters.  When playing the score was important and seemed to be the only thing that mattered but now when I look back on my experience in whole, I can only specifically remember a few games.  Of course there are games that stand out and wins that were great and loses that hurt but it was the experience all together that I remember and the atmosphere and the feeling of accomplishment and the relationships that I gained from being a student-athlete that I remember the most and wouldn’t change for anything!

I could probably write an entire paper about this but let me know if you want more!

What made you choose / pursue Georgia College?

The babysitter that my sisters and I had growing up went to GC and loved her experience and time in Milledgeville.  When I started talking to different schools, GC was always in the picture because of how great she made it seem.  GC was the first school that I actually made a visit to and I remember it being a kinda nasty and rainy day but I really liked the campus and everything.  I found myself comparing every other school to GC after I visited and always seemed to come up with something that I didn’t like or something that I liked at GC more than the other schools.  Then when it came time to choose a school my parents asked me a simple question, “where would you be happy if something happened and you could no longer place soccer?”  My parents wanted me to be at a school that I would be happy at and not just a school that I would go to and play soccer and not have that well rounded college experience.  The answer to that question was really simple and I knew that the one school that I would be happy at no matter what was Georgia College.  Once I was able to decide that, Georgia College was the place that I wanted to be for college and soccer was almost just an added bonus.

It was the first place that I actually visited as a recruit and every place after I always compared back to GC.         

How have you personally seen the Athletic Department grown since you have been here?

In my time at GC we had three different athletic directors, an interim athletic director, and I played for three different soccer coaches.  My first year was Stan’s last year as the athletic director.  Jud replaced Stan and Jud really gave me the opportunities that got me started volunteering with the athletic department and let me get my hands in anything that I wanted.  When Jud moved on to Flagler, I was there while Jimmy moved into the interim position.  It was during this time that I learned and decided that I had/needed to go to graduate school and get my maters degree if I really wanted to work as an administrator in this field.  Wendell was then hired and is still there. 

I was able to play under three different coaches, each teaching me something new as both a player and now looking back life lessons and things that I can take when I am hiring coaches in the future.  I was able to play under the coach that started the program and then was apart of the two transition periods between coaches. 

I’ve seen athletic training expand with the hiring of a full time assistant athletic trainer, Eva.  That hire really benefited the soccer program immensely, not only because Eva is great at her job but we were also able to have a trainer that was invested personally in our program and wanted us to be the best that we could not only as athletes but as people and did any and everything she could to get us that way.  It was huge for our program and the athletic training department to have her back as an assistant.  It gave soccer one of the best and someone that could devote so much time to us, since they weren’t having to go to class and do thesis work and all of the other duties that GA’s had. 

I was also around to see Ginger move from being both the softball coach and administrator to moving exclusively an administrator.  I was around for the hiring of Mo as the head women’s basketball coach from being the assistant and how great of a hire that was.  I remember hearing around the department how during the hiring process we, GC, just couldn’t lose Mo or have him leave.  That really resonated with me and something that I remember to this day; be that person that an organization can’t lose.

Background info

Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia.  Went to Westminster Schools of Augusta (6-12) where I played soccer and basketball in high school.  I played club soccer with Augusta Arsenal, and played with others that played at GC (Jamie Nevin, Caitlin Smith), current member Kesler played at the same club.  I have two sisters, senior (Frances) and freshman (Anna) in high school, who both play soccer.  Family was always supportive of my soccer career and me in college and what I wanted to do, they were always my biggest fans.  I came to GC in the fall of 2007 and graduated in May 2011.  Had the best 4 years I could ask for at GC and look back at my time in Milledgeville with great memories and no regrets at all.  I’m now a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill where I’m studying Sport Administration (1 of 9 in our cohort), where I’ve been able to bring the perspective of a Division II background and student-athlete perspective to our classes.  I love water skiing and wakeboarding and any other water sport, the lake is quite possibly my favorite place.  I also like to snowboard and travel.  What made you choose / pursue Georgia College?

The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/BobcatSports and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.