Creating the Personal Connection

LORAS COLLEGE – Austin Epple did not intend to play football at Loras College, but through a personal connection, Epple landed at Loras and could be happier.

When an athlete is deciding to attend a college or university it can become very difficult when many coaches are trying to convince you to attend their school. For many athletes it may be obvious where to go. It may be through a family connection or history, but for other athletes it often comes down to which school stands out to them.

For Austin, it was Michael Gainey. At Robert Morris, Epple’s first college, Coach Gainey built a personal relationship with Austin. He got to know him and showed that ultimately he was more than a coach. He cared for Austin and after leaving Robert Morris and a failed walk-on stint at Ball State, Austin started to lose his passion for the game. That’s when Coach Gainey, who now was at Loras, picked up the phone and called Austin. Coach Gainey brought Austin to Loras for a visit and because of the personal relationship established during their time together at Robert Morris, Epple trusted his gut and Coach Gainey and decided to become a Duhawk.

Now Epple’s passion is back and knows he is a part of a culture change here at Loras. While the Duhawks are certainly changing the results on the field, they’re also changing the culture in the locker room and around campus. Duhawk football is a slouch no more, creating a buzz of excitement that Austin couldn’t be happier to be a part of, all thanks to a personal relationship. Looking back at on things have turned out, Austin being a 22 year old junior at this third college, he says “I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

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