What most people see at a Sabercat sporting event is between 60-120 minutes of competition. When the contest ends, the day's activities are resumed, and perhaps there is some talk of the contest, excitement for the season ahead, or reminiscing of prior seasons. The attention is completely on the athletes and the coaches themselves.
For a Sabercat athletic contest to take place, however, there is much more that goes into it.
The people below are representatives of the hours of preparation, the labor doing required tasks that go unnoticed, and the "outside the lines" details that must happen for the seasons to be a success.
These are some of the unsung heroes of MBU Athletics:
(Top row L-R: Steve Kibler, Luke Mielke, Timothy Mielke, Scott Riley, Jeremy Dennis, Paul Barnes | Bottom row L-R: Josh Horneck, De An McKee, Mark McMillen, Steve Carlson, Kristen Nupson, Ann Bolton)
Steve Kibler - Playing Fields
Steve Kibler oversees the grounds at MBU, and keeps the soccer field, football field, and the practice fields in prime shape for the games.
Kibler and co. work diligently over the summer, and still mow the fields and perform general upkeep multiple times a week during the seasons.
"Soccer is one of those sports that the playing surface has a direct impact on the game," stated Men's Soccer head coach Jeff Pill. "Steve Kibler's diligence and faithfulness is fundamental to the success of our home games."
Luke and Timothy Mielke - Media
The Mielke brothers oversee the videography and photography that are used on various media platforms, including mbusabercats.com and the Athletics social media pages. Timothy oversees scheduling photographers for contest, promotional photos, and team pictures, and he ensures those photos are made accessible to the general public in a prompt manner.
Luke's most notable contribution has been his assistance with the live streaming system for all Sabercat home games. On numerous occasions, Luke has eagerly volunteered his time and personal equipment to ensure that the games are streamed, and has taken time "off the clock" to make trips in to campus to assist in troubleshooting the live stream software. Without Luke's sacrifices of time and resources, some games would not have been streamed live.
Luke is also in the process of researching and installing the new indoor live stream system for the upcoming seasons.
Scott Riley and Jeremy Dennis - IT Support
Scott Riley and Jeremy Dennis are part of MBU's Information Technology Department, and assist the Athletics Department in a variety of ways. Most notably, Riley and Dennis are on-hand to troubleshoot the live stream system, and were essential in activating the new athletics website.
Riley and Dennis also oversee daily maintenance and support of Athletics office computers and office technology.
Paul Barnes - Custodial
Barnes and his crew work irregular hours year-round and are the go-to squad for facility cleaning and upkeep. Barnes' custodial crew keeps the floors clean in the Main Gym and the Fitness Center Gym (not to mention the entirety of the campus) so that the athletes have a safe playing surface for practices and games.
Matthew Smith - Food Service (Not pictured)
Smith oversees the operations of the Dining Complex, and consistently demonstrates flexibility to accommodate the athletes' unpredictable schedules during the competitive season. Smith is an avid sports fan and supporter of the Sabercats, and his flexibility and excellence in his field are essential for the Sabercat athletes to have access to quality nutrition to stay fit and healthy during the season.
Josh Horneck - Web Specialist
Horneck had direct input in the layout and design of the new mbusabercats.com, and was influential in the transition from one website to another. Horneck built the temporary athletics website that was live during the transition, and Horneck's eye for usability and design were essential in the launch of the new website. Horneck also assists the Athletic Department in Sabercats social media and general media advisory.
De An McKee and Mark McMillen - Transportation
McKee and McMillen work in tandem to provide vehicles for the traveling teams. McKee works from MBU's Business Office and works with McMillen on securing vehicles in advance for the upcoming season per the request of the Athletic Department. McMillen oversees the mechanical function of the MBU fleet vehicles to ensure that they are fueled and functioning.
Both McKee and McMillen make accommodations for numerous cancelations and schedule adjustments during the season.
Steve Carlson and Emily Barclay (Not pictured) - Academic Eligibility
Carlson and his Barclay are tasked with monitoring academic eligibility of all student-athletes, and assist the Athletic Department through providing information for student-athletes who are eligible for academic awards such as NCCAA, AD3I, and MBU Scholar-Athlete Awards.
Besides serving as Registrar, Carlson fills the role of NCAA Compliance Coordinator and helps ensure that the student-athletes are educated on the NCAA rules for academic eligibility.
Kristen Nupson - Laundry
Nupson works out of sight and at late hours to ensure that the Sabercats have clean practice gear and game jerseys. No stranger to the "dirty work", Nupson's hard work and organization keep the Sabercats looking professional as they train and compete.
Ann Bolton - ...(Almost) Everything Else...
Although a full-time Athletics staff member, Bolton's responsibilities deserve recognition as being essential to the maintenance of the department. Bolton wears many hats within the department itself, and serves (primarily) as Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator. Bolton also fills the roles of Business Manager, Travel Agent, Fundraising Coordinator, Departmental Policy, and much more. You can view all of Bolton's responsibilities by visiting her bio page found here.
These people are key cogs in the ever-busy wheel of the MBU Athletic Department. Perhaps the next time you attend a game, visit our website, follow us on social media, or tune in to a live streamed event, you will have a greater understanding of the unsung heroes that do their part to help make the department function.