Coaches share game plan for election

SPU coaches reflect on upcoming election, importance of voting

Gabe Sta Maria, Staff Reporter

SPU Athletic Director Jackson Stava checks in with track coach Lerum during a cross country strength workout on Wallace Field. (Jacky Chen)

With election day right around the corner on November 3rd, Seattle Pacific University coaches are emphasizing the importance of voting to their athletes.

“We live in a country that allows us to share our opinion, whether people want to hear them or not. We have a lot of freedom of speech in this country” Women’s Volleyball coach Abbie Wright said. “One of those benefits of being a citizen here is that no matter what race, gender, political party we find ourselves, we’re allowed to vote and we’re allowed to put our say in.”

For Wright, it’s not about the person who’s running, but more about the policies that are under that person.

“The things that you care about in life, your ideology, your worldview are reflected in your voting and so it’s another way to act that out,” Wright said.

Current head coach of SPU’s women’s soccer Arby Busey shared his thoughts on emphasizing the message to vote with his athletes on the soccer team and pushing that message to students who are not athletes.

“We have talked as a group about making sure we exercise our right, our privilege, to vote. Making sure to remind everyone to register to vote, so they have the opportunity,” Busey said.

“It is interesting, as we are limited in our interactions with those outside our households, to try and get the word out there. We can use social media as a means to share, and have posted with reminders to vote,” Busey said.

Busey also expressed his thoughts on seeing major sports organizations such as the NBA, NFL, and MLS pushing the message to vote in the midst of the election season.

“We have seen prominent athletes expressing themselves, and speaking about changes they feel are necessary. The attention sports got as they all attempted to return during a pandemic, only brought more light to their voices,” Busey said.

Busey is only one of many coaches that are enthusiastic about making sure their athletes are registered to vote. Grant Leep, head coach for SPU men’s basketball is someone who went the extra mile to make sure his athletes were doing their civic duties.

“Back in August, we presented our guys with the information they needed to vote online. I was proud to know that all members of our team had already registered,” Leep said. “Now it becomes emphasizing the importance of educating yourself on the measure and people on the ballot.”

The team is informed about their obligations in this election, and they are aware of the platform they have to incorporate messages of social justice and voting.

“We have a very socially minded team and that has led to some great discussions surrounding voting, but also tackling the racial injustice issues we are seeing in our country,” Leep said. “As far as encouraging other students, I think that is a great way for our guys to engage with their campus and their peers. In addition to being good basketball players, we have unbelievable young men in our program.”

According to Coach Leep, the SPU athletic department and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference have committed to cancelling all athletic practices on November 3rd to ensure all players have the opportunity to vote.