The Tech’s football team is tackling community service throughout Cookeville with a 4,025 percent increase in service hours from 2011 to 2015.
This 2016 season, the team has had 100 percent participation with its 403 hours of community service completed in three and a half weeks. In 2011, the team volunteered for seven establishments; in 2016, they’re contributing to over 16 according to the community service log sheet.
Athletic director Mark Wilson said that Marcus Satterfield, Head football coach, has “truly embraced” community service.
“We are never going to win on the field unless we win off the field,” said Satterfield.
Satterfield assigned Defensive Back Coach Bobby Maffei and Receivers Coach Derek Carr as captains for the team’s community service. The two work together in incorporating the entire team for different events.
“There are 15 players that go to Capshaw Elementary School on Thursdays. They have first-graders read to them, and teachers place the players in their lesson plans for when they visit,” said Maffei. “When our players walk into the classroom, they are immediately role models to the kids.”
The players with top community service hours vary week by week based on events, but Appalachian State transfer Thomas Bronson has been consistent in his participation.
“All the kids really enjoy me being in there because I’m fun with them,” said Bronson. “I’ll be Zumba dancing with them, and because the kids love me so much, the teachers don’t have me doing reading or math anymore but more for being on the playground with them.”
The players not only give back to the community but also help out campus organizations. Maffei commented that the entire football team helped in the SGA’s Voter Registration with over 200 student sign ups. Zach Malone, junior defensive end, and Cory Malone, junior tight end, stayed an additional two hours for this event.
Cory Malone explained Satterfield’s emphasis in competing.
“Most football programs use something like ‘Win the Day,’ but ‘Compete’ is like competing every day in everything we do,” said Cory. “It’s like (the members of SGA) don’t play football, so the Voter Registration is what they compete in in life. To be able to help them out was so exciting and stood out to me because I could see the results in how many people registered.”
Satterfield believes community service isn’t something to make the players and team look good from the outside, but it’s to help develop the players into selfless men.
“We want to develop a core, centralized unity with the community and with the football team,” said Satterfield. “We want the community knowing our football players and our players knowing people in the community which in turn helps get people in the seats and helps our players graduate and get jobs.”
Satterfield describes community service as “the most addictive drug on the planet” and predicts over time that the football program will have a core foundation that “will allow us to win and sustain at a championship level.”