Each month, Texas A&M Athletics recognizes a staff member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve the department.
November's Teammate of the Month is Life Skills/Career Coordinator Zerick Rollins.
What does it mean to you to be recognized as teammate of the month?
“I think it’s a huge honor because when you look at the Texas A&M Athletic Department and all of the extremely talented and hard workers that we have here, it says a lot to be recognized but I also realize it could be anybody in this athletic department because there are so many people who do such a great job and I work with them on a day-to-day basis so it’s a huge honor.”
As a former student-athlete here yourself, how much does that help you when relating to the current students?
“I think it helps a lot, simply because being a former student athlete, I’ve walked in some of their shoes- not exactly in their shoes, but along that path so I know some of the issues that they’re faced with. Also, I have a burning passion to help our student athletes develop because for me, being a former football player here, I saw some players fall through the cracks and that’s really one of my main reasons I want to be in athletic administration. It’s a great opportunity to give back, to help develop and help them see the big picture.”
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
“I think at the end of the day, it’s helping the student-athletes fulfill their vision. There are different levels of that, obviously you get them when they’re freshmen- I haven’t been here long enough to see an entire class come through, I’m just going on my third year here- but helping them realize and see what they’re capable of doing and then helping them fulfill that dream. Helping them find those jobs and find that career, and helping them realize that they have a skill set and transferrable skills that they can take out into corporate America. At first, they probably don’t know that but helping them see that- it’s like those “aha” moments when that light pops on. There is no better feeling than that.”
You were critical in the success of the student-athlete seminars. How do you think they went and what was the response from those who participated?
“I think the seminars have been really good thus far, my first couple years here we emphasized more career development and helping to find jobs; now, we’ve implemented the life skills proponent of it. At the end of the day they work hand in hand so it’s created more balance for the life skills department. I think it’s been well received, the student athletes have really raved about how much they’ve learned and they have enjoyed it. We have them do surveys after each event and several times they have responded with ‘I’m really enjoying what we’re doing as an athletic department. Not only do you care about me as an athlete, you care about me as a person and as a student’. It has been very well received and I think it will only get better.”
What’s been the one thing you’re most proud of in your time back here in Aggieland?
“Being a former student-athlete, it’s pretty neat coming back and seeing the caliber of students that we bring in here. For me, when I visit and work with them it makes my job easy because I know I’m working with young men and young ladies who are solid individuals, who want to be the best, and who have bright futures. It’s pretty neat to see that we bring in a certain caliber of person, we’ve had success, but more importantly that they can go on and be successful in life afterwards.”
What’s been the most enjoyable off-field moment for you of late?
“It would be the network seminar because it has so many moving parts. When you bring in 51 companies and you have 140 student athletes, having to pull all of that together and then have to be the key note speaker, it’s not easy and is definitely challenging. Though I enjoyed the challenge and to see the fruits of my labor and how everything worked out. The students were enjoying it so much we almost had to cut all the lights off to get them to leave the building. That is by far the best moment for me.”
Talk about SAAC and its importance in the success of both the student athletes and the athletic department in general...
“SAAC is the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and they are the voice of all our student athletes. You have the executive group, comprised of roughly 13 student athletes, and then you have 2-4 representatives from each team. They are like the leadership council for all of our student athletes. For me, it’s pretty neat because they’re already busy being students and athletes but now have to find the extra time to pull together certain events. SAAC is huge on student athlete welfare (needing new walkways, needing new bike racks, to needing filtered water in the building) and always know what is going on with the student athletes and do a great job with that. Doing events like Aggies Can and trying to make an impact on the community which I think is huge because they have a platform to go out and to make a difference. I think they do a great job.”
If a student athlete wants to give back and get more involved what is your advice to them?
“Be a part of SAAC, be a part of Aggie Athletes Involved (AAI) and at some point get involved in some of the different organizations around campus as well. I think for student athletes, the fact that we have SAAC and AAI, I think it starts there and they can move beyond that as well.”