SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Russ Hafferkamp, a former UC Santa Barbara water polo All-American and author of "Careerball," a book about how student-athletes can put the skills they develop in athletic competition to use in career development, offered a presentation on the subject to current Gaucho student-athletes on April 1. The presentation was part of UCSB Athletics BE Great initiative.
Hafferkamp, who scored 86 goals in 1976, is Founder and CEO of the Athlete Career Network, Inc., and Managing Director and co-Founder of Career Athletes, LLC. He discussed how the skills that student-athletes develop and acquire while training for competition and then in competition, are transferable to professional occupations. He also advised the student-athletes of the need to prepare for their post-athletics careers in the same way and with the same dedication that they employ while preparing for competition.
Hafferkamp's presentation included an interactive phase. He had the student-athletes complete a "Careerball" workbook that was part self-assessment and part take-home guide.
The presentation was well-received by current Gauchos.
"What I liked most was that he did a good job at making his speech and presentation relevant to us and was very helpful when he spoke about UCSB athletes joining the job world," said UCSB women's soccer player Cory Yoshida. "I also liked that he made us reflect on our job personalities and characteristics, which is very helpful when applying for a job."
The discussion also hit home with current Gaucho men's water polo player Zsombor Vincze.
"The fact that Russ is a former water polo player made the presentation extra valuable and relevant for my teammates and me," Vincze said. "I do believe that knowing who we are is one of, if not the most important process in finding success and happiness in life. Actually, it was the basis of Russ' presentation."
Steve O'Brien, UCSB's Associate Athletics Director for Development, organized the program and was grateful to the Gauchos' Living Scholar donors who played a major part in bringing Hafferkamp back for the presentation.
"The generosity of our Living Scholar donors has enabled us to bring speakers like Russ to campus," O'Brien said. "Providing valuable life skills programming for our student-athletes through our BE Great initiative is yet another way in which UCSB is distinguishing itself from other institutions.
"With the future growth of the Living Scholar program," O'Brien continued, "we look forward to being able to provide more of these experiences for more of our student-athletes next year."
In 2008 UCSB Athletics unveiled the BE Great initiative. BE Great is dedicated to maximizing leadership ability, strong on-campus interaction, and general welfare for all 450 student-athletes and Intercollegiate Athletics staff at UC Santa Barbara. BE Great also focuses on personal and career development, diversity, and social awareness, along with ensuring academic success. UCSB has a 92% student-athlete graduation rate.