The Washington University in St. Louis football team takes on Centre College Saturday at Francis Field in the 2016 home opener. Senior offensive lineman Jerry Bauer and senior defensive back Dylan Newcomb reflected on the past four years at WashU with Assistant AD for Communications Chris Mitchell.
What made you come to WashU?
JB: Student-athletes here always say that they came to WashU for the opportunity to compete at the highest level academically and athletically. Although that is true, what really set WashU apart for me is the people here. I connected immediately with the guys on the team and the coaches when I visited and knew that this was the type of culture I wanted to be apart of.
DN: I became interested in attending WashU over several great schools and service academies in large part because of my relationship with Coach Kindbom which began during the summer before my freshman year in high school. I ultimately decided on WashU because of the university's academic reputation, the engineering degree programs offered, my being selected as an Ervin Scholar, the opportunity to play football, the quality of the facilities and how well I was treated by the various staff and faculty members that I interacted with during my many visits to campus.
What does it mean to be a WashU student-athlete?
JB: Being a WashU student-athlete means that you are someone who is very committed to what you are passionate about. It isn't easy returning to your room at 8pm to start studying for the 830am exam you have the next day. Especially when your body is banged up from practice. But since WashU student-athletes are committed to their academics and their sport, we just find a way to get it done. It would definitely be easier to get schoolwork done if I didn't have to go to practice, or travel to away games, but I love the game of football and everyone a part of WashU football. Being a part of that family, makes all the hard work and late nights worth it.
DN: Being a WashU student athlete is very challenging and requires a lot of dedication. The academic rigor is unwavering for us as student athletes. There is a lot of camaraderie in being a student athlete at WashU because of what it takes to be successful in your sport and in the classroom.
How do you balance your schedule between school and football?
JB: I balance the schedule by managing my time as best I can and working on schoolwork with guys on the team. Having people on the team that are taking the same classes helps you stay on top of your work. We look out for each other and make sure that we don't get behind. Austin Smestad and I are studying chemical engineering and he's been a great resource to me over these four years.
DN: Balancing football and academics requires good time management and organizational skills. I stay organized by writing down everything that I need to accomplish during the upcoming week for example and prioritizing my work accordingly. Fortunately I have fellow players studying the same subjects and taking the same classes because and we are able to help each other as needed. I also use as many of the academic resources offered here on campus as I can.
What caught your interest to study engineering?
JB: I've always been fascinated with solving problems and building things. I worked a lot on home improvement projects with my dad growing up. He is very inventive and handy, and I always admired him for that. In high school I was able to take CAD classes and my school even offered a engineering class my senior year. I really enjoyed those classes and at the same time I fell in love with chemistry. I figured if I liked chemistry and engineering, that chemical engineering might be the right path for me. Needless to say, it was the right choice and I've really enjoyed studying it here.
DN: I became interested in engineering while studying science and math related subjects during high school. I decided on mechanical engineering because of the different ways it can be applied in other engineer disciplines.
What have you learned from playing under head coach Larry Kindbom for four years?
JB: I've learned to be a better person, a better teammate, and a better leader. Coach K really cares about each and every one of his players. I remember freshman year I was sick for a couple days and wasn't getting any better. Coach K picked me up late at night and drove me to the ER and stayed with me late into the morning even though we had practice at 6am the next morning. That's the kind of guy he is, and I know all the life lessons he has imparted will be very beneficial to all of us down the road.
DN: Coach K has always encouraged me to challenge myself by dreaming big and working hard while staying humble. He is a great example of someone who has followed his passion in life and has made a positive impact on thousands of young men along the way. He has taught me a lot about leadership, character and life. He has had a tremendous impact on me as a person.
What is your favorite football memory at WashU?
JB: My favorite memory is when we received the bid to the NCAA tournament my freshman year. The room was electric when our name was announced. I was just so happy for the seniors that year. To be able to play an extra game meant the world to them. No group of guys was more deserving. It was such an exciting moment. Beating Carnegie two weeks ago might be a close second.
DN: My favorite football memory here at WashU came during my freshman year when the whole team was gathered together at the end of the season watching the NCAA playoff selection announcements on television. Once we saw our team appear on the screen the entire team and coaching staff went crazy. It was the most exciting team experience that I have ever been a part of.
What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU?
JB: After graduation I am looking to go into medical device or pharmaceutical manufacturing. My mom has MS so I've always been inspired to get into a healthcare related field so I can help people who face medical problems. I eventually want to work my way into engineering or manufacturing management because I enjoy working with and leading people.
DN: After graduation I plan to pursue a career in design engineering. I would like to be involved in projects like the VH 92 Presidential Helicopter redesign project that I worked on during my most recent summer internship with Sikorsky Aircraft. I am also interested in obtaining my graduate engineering degree here at WashU.