White Car Quirky Habits
Do you guys remember that white car that used to sit, in the field, across the street from Walmart? Do you ever wonder where it came from? Or when and where did it go?….Have you ever just mapped out your life or maybe had a plan of some sort and all of a sudden, BOOM! You’re hit with some complication or obstacle! It could be that you can’t afford it, or you can’t get to where you want to go, or maybe it goes against what you or a loved one wants. Well whatever it may be, did that unexpected turn ever end up being a good thing? It has for a few current Martin residents, and I must say that they seem happier than ever!
How I came to UT-Martin
Kurt McGuffin is the current Athletic Director at the University of Tennessee at Martin. After working for his alma matter, Kansas State University, McGuffin’s position was eliminated and he was left wondering what his next move was going to be and if he was going to have to start over. McGuffin felt that this may be a sign for him to slow down a bit, but then the accepted a position at the University of Colorado Boulder. Even though he was fortunate to have this opportunity and was back at work, he realized that he was falling back into the rut of being away from his home and family. McGuffin said, he decided to become an Athletic Director at a smaller school to fulfill both dreams of leading a program and spending more time with my family.” Ever since he made this career change, he has never looked back, and is currently killing it as the Athletic Director for UTM!
My Near Draft Into the Army
Nick Dunagan is the President of the City of Martin Public Library Foundation Board and former Chancellor of UT Martin. Let’s take a step back though, and see what led him to this awesome town! Once he graduated from UTM in the spring of 1968, he was accepted into University of Missouri Law School, and next thing you know, him and his wife are heading to Columbia, MO. On the day he left, he received an 1-A draft notification during the height of the Vietnam War, and was now preparing to get drafted into the Army. When he arrived in Columbia, he decided to go by the ROTC program, at the university, and was later admitted, exempting him from the draft. Fun fact: while Dr. Dunagan was enrolled at UTM, all male students were required to take two years of ROTC, and without these essential two years, he wouldn’t have been able to enroll at the University of Missouri Law School. ROTC was a hidden blessing that turned out to benefit Dr. Dunagan because without it, there would have been no law school or coming back to Martin to practice law and eventually join as the Director of Development, and later Chancellor. Isn’t it funny how the little things pay off at the end?
Being at UTM, is Being at Home
Tyshawn Young is young man, currently attending the University of Tennessee at Martin. His first year here was spectacular and he loved everything about it. Sadly, the excitement began to fade and Tyshawn lost his love, for the place he once called his “home away from home”. His parents supported his decision to transfer to UofM, so he put in his transfer papers. Soon after, he felt that the sense of “home” was gone because he hadn’t been around his closest friends, who constantly made Martin such a great place! Tyshawn began to get more involved in his favorite organizations and has been living his best life ever since!
“God gave me peace about the situation and let me know that He did’t want me to transfer. Since then, I’ve felt that sense of “home” again, and I’m grateful that I’m here!'“
My Mother’s Illness Inspired Me
Julian Thompson-Clay describes his mother having breast cancer as the worst yet best thing that has ever happened to him. As you could imagine, no child ever wants to see their parent suffer. Before finding out about his mother’s condition, Thompson-Clay had several offers from schools to play basketball or football. His senior year of high school, his mother made a choice to leave New York and move to Tennessee, a year after Thompson-Clay did. One day, on his way back to the airport, after visiting Tusculum Univeristy, he got the terrible news about his mom. He dropped everything to be by his mother’s side, and school was the furthest thing from his mind. Thompson-Clay learned always knew that life was short, but his mother having cancer taught him to truly enjoy and make the most of the time you have. School was not a concern due to Julian’s commitment to being there and helping his mother, and it seemed like his hope to play collegiate sports had faded away. Regardless of her condition, Julian’s mother did not want to see her son not get a college degree, and so she encouraged and pushed her son to go to college. In an effort to still be close to his mom, Julian decided to take a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee at Martin. Despite the unfortunate and unexpected turn that Julian faced, he was still able to tackle both of his goals. Take care of his mother, and make her proud by going to school!
Thought I was Going to Central Missouri
Alexius Thomas chose to highlight her initial choice to come to UTM, as her unexpected turn! Thomas played soccer throughout high school, but had decided that it was time to hang up her cleats and pursue a career, through the ROTC program, at Central Missouri University. She was admitted and set to go, when her mother surprised her, with a trip to Ireland, with some a group of female soccer players! While on her amazing trip, Thomas was asked to join the UTM soccer team, by Phil McNamara , head women’s soccer coach at UTM, with only a week and half until training began. Thomas was now faced with one the hardest decisions of her life, and chose to change her path by attending the University of Tennessee at Martin, and thanks The Lord every day that she did. Alexius is now a regular season conference champion, and exceptional cadet, in the Skyhawk Battalion ROTC program!
We have all faced unexpected obstacles that seem to hinder our lives, at least at first. But sometimes those tough decisions, and unexpected barriers, turn out just be part of a much bigger journey. And hopefully that journey will lead you to great achievements like it did for these outstanding individuals!