Sportsmanship Spotlight - Susquehanna University
Jim Findlay - Head Soccer Coach - Susquehanna University
When Jim Findlay received a call from Susquehanna Director of Athletics Pam Samuelson this past August, he was in Canada on a summer training trip with his men's soccer team. It's unlikely he had anything other than said trip on his mind and he quickly learned men's soccer was not the reason behind Samuelson's phone call.
While Findlay was in Canada, the Crusaders' women's soccer team was suddenly forced to let go of their would-be first-year women's soccer head coach, leaving the team without a head coach only weeks before preseason practices were set to get underway. Not an ideal way to enter a season, to say the least.
Samuelson phoned Findlay, who had previously spent seven years coaching both the men's and women's soccer programs at Susquehanna (1999-2005), to relay the news and to get his thoughts on where to begin a quick, but successful, search for a head coach.
Findlay, in an offer that might have taken most people by surprise, told Pam he'd consider stepping in if he had the support of his family and team. Several phone calls later and Findlay was named the interim head coach of the SU women's soccer team.
Findlay's choice was not only the unselfish one, it was perhaps the best example of sportsmanship he could have given his players. He sacrificed time and energy to take the helm of a program during a season in which his men's team was primed to make a push in the Landmark Conference.
And it also would have reasonable to have to less-than-lofty expectations for the women's soccer team. The Crusaders were coming off a 5-12-1 season and had gone through two new head coaches in the matter of weeks.
However, Findlay, associate head coach Nick Hoover '06 and assistant coach Ericka Thomas not only guided the team to seven wins, they also helped take the team to the Landmark Conference playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the tournament and nearly knocked off No. 2 Catholic.
So how did the men's team fare with a head coach that was no longer at the helm of their program and their program only? The men captured eight wins, the No. 4 seed in the Landmark Conference Tournament and saw three players earn All-League status.
Findlay's gesture set the bar for how his men's team should react to the sudden shift in leadership. They knew their head coach was doing what was best for the women's program while making sacrifices of his own.
It's true that examples of sportsmanship are most often seen on the playing field. But, as Findlay, his staff and players showed, there are plenty of opportunities off the field to demonstrate what it means to be a true team player even after your playing days are over.