University of Mobile Coach Andy Canegitta says being part of the track and field/cross country team at a Christian university with one of the NAIA’s largest athletic programs requires determination, commitment and focus. It means being able to self-evaluate, and learning and growing from your experiences. And, it provides an opportunity for being accountable for your actions. Coach Canegitta says these qualities provide success not only in track and cross country competition, but also in the classroom. We asked him to tell us more about what it means to “Know and Be Known” at the University of Mobile.
Q: You have coached at UM for seven years. What is your background?
A: I have a Bachelor of Science in business administration and Master of Business Administration in sport management from Webber International University. I started my coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Webber. I am going into my 17th year coaching at the collegiate level. I’ve learned from some great coaches during my time: Hall of Fame Coach Harry Wooddell, who has coached two Olympians (Keith Brantly and Kenny Brokenburr); Dennis Mitchell, who is an Olympic medalist and currently coaching several Olympians; and Jose Larios, who has coached several All-Americans and top-25-ranked cross country programs.
Q: What qualities do you look for in a student-athlete?
A: I am looking for student-athletes who are coachable, academically focused and have a strong desire to be part of the UM family and a Christ-centered environment.
Q: What is a typical week like for student-athletes in your sport?
A: In the fall, cross country is in season with a 5:30 a.m. practice session. In the spring term, cross country runners will shift their focus to track season. I typically give them a week off after the last cross country competition.
Track and field athletes in the fall are in general prep phase, and in the late fall and spring, we are in competition phase with indoor and outdoor seasons. We will have 1-2 early morning sessions in general prep phase only; and Monday – Friday at 3:20 p.m. Some Saturdays athletes will carpool to Satsuma High School for track practice. Sprinters/jumpers will have weight room sessions Monday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Fridays at 9 a.m.. Throwers have weight room sessions Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. and Friday at 9 a.m.
First-year athletes and individuals with a GPA below 3.0 are required to complete weekly study hall hours.
Q: What do you like most about UM?
A: I like the fact that the University of Mobile is a family-like atmosphere where faculty and staff know students by name and not by number. I enjoy the opportunity to truly be part of the students’ lives and guiding them to a successful and impactful future.