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Sharing the experience

New athletic director lives in first-year residence hall

Published: Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Updated: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 01:10

Sharing the experience


Mike Hamrick (far right), the new athletic director at Marshall University, moved to Huntington and now lives in the Freshman South Residence Hall.

Mike Hamrick's experience as a first-year resident in South Residence Hall is like that of most freshmen. 
He eats pizza and watches ball games with the guys in the dorm lounge, spends his Sunday afternoons doing laundry and lives far away from his family.

The difference is Mike Hamrick is not a freshman.

Hamrick, who was hired as Marshall University's athletic director in July, has been living in an apartment in South Residence Hall since moving to Huntington from Las Vegas.

"I told President (Stephen J.) Kopp that I needed temporary housing," Hamrick said. 
Hamrick said Kopp told him he would look into it. 
 "He got back to me and said ‘I've got a really great apartment for you' and I said great," Hamrick said.  "He said it is in a residence hall and I said ‘Great, I can't wait!'"

Hamrick, a 1980 graduate of Marshall University, describes his experience of living in a residence hall as enjoyable.

"At first, the students looked at me kind of funny like ‘who is this old guy?'" Hamrick said.  "I don't think I've ever heard of an athletic director living in a freshman residence hall."

Hamrick admitted at first there was an adjustment period.  The wing of the building his apartment is housed in is a female-only floor.

Hamrick said he had one experience with a new resident adviser during the first few weeks of the semester.  He said he was going to his apartment when the Resident Advisor stopped him and asked what he was doing.  Hamrick replied he was going to his room and pointed to the floor he lived on.

"I'm pointing to a girls floor.  She said, ‘Sir, I don't think you have a room on this floor,'" Hamrick said. 
Hamrick praised the RAs for keeping the residence halls secure.
"I've gotten to know a lot of the RAs, where they're from, what they're majoring in," Hamrick said.  "One of them, I went to school with her mother here."

Hamrick also described another situation with a student in the laundry room.
"He said, ‘Excuse me sir, I'm not trying to be rude, but what are you doing,'" Hamrick said. 
When Hamrick replied that he was doing laundry, the student then informed him it was a freshman residence hall.

"I told him I live here and he said, ‘You're a freshman?'" Hamrick said. 
Hamrick said he jokingly told the student he was a 52-year-old freshman who had been out in the world and decided to return to college.

"After about ten minutes, I finally told him that I am the new athletic director," he said. 
Hamrick compared his experience of living in a residence hall again to the movie "Back to School."

"I feel like Rodney Dangerfield," he joked. "To be honest, it's made me feel young.  I graduated in 1980 and living in the dorm makes me feel like I never left."

Hamrick said he will continue to live in the residence hall until the end of the semester when his wife will move to Huntington. 
Hamrick agreed his experience is like being a college freshman.

"It is just like being a freshman," Hamrick joked.  "I've already lost my room key!"

Hamrick said another interesting aspect of dorm-life is it helps him relate to his daughter.

"My daughter is a freshman at the University of Nevada-Reno and she lives in a freshman residence hall," he said.  "We e-mail back and forth about our experiences."

Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp said the apartments were designed to house faculty members to compliment the living and learning atmosphere of the residence halls.

"What originally began as a means to accommodate a long-distance move has become a very interesting experience for both Mike and the first-year students," Kopp said.  "The feedback we get from Mike is that it is a very positive experience."

Hamrick said he is going to miss the students when he moves out this winter.

"I am really impressed with the quality of person we have in our students," Hamrick said.  "I hope that through this experience, I can add a little spice to their lives."

Kerissa Bennett can be contacted at

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