Distinguished Alumni Spotlight: Haley Jacobi (Education)
Compiled by Abigail Boatwright
Haley Jacobi is part of the 2019 NCEA Distinguished Alumni class in the Education category. A 2013 TCU graduate, she is currently the Athletics Academics Coordinator at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.
We asked Haley a few questions about her experiences as an equestrian student-athlete, and what it meant to receive this award.
Q: What was your experience like on TCU’s equestrian team?
A: It was one of the greatest, and most challenging experiences I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of. It was a new environment that I had not experienced within the sport before. It challenged my riding skills, how to become a different type of competitor, and it also gave me the best opportunity to be a supportive teammate. The sport is naturally individually success-oriented, and now having a group of 40+ girls to support and cheer on and have their support was really unique and exciting for me. I had so many opportunities because I was a part of the team and I am forever thankful. I wasn’t sure I was going to continue my passion when I went off to college, but thanks to the NCEA I had more years in the saddle than I could have ever dreamed of.
Q: Highlight of your time on the team?
A: There were highlights each year so it is hard to choose one. My junior year I had the opportunity to represent TCU at the WEF Collegiate Challenge. It was an honor to have been selected to represent my school and have the opportunity to promote the sport on that level. Walking into the international ring at WEF with “TCU” following my name was something I will never forget. A team highlight for me was joining the Big 12 Conference. Having an additional postseason opportunity is exciting for any student-athlete.
Q: What impact did the equestrian team have on your career?
A: The equestrian team had a significant impact on my career. Following graduation and my time on the team, I knew I wanted to work in the world of college athletics but didn’t know in what capacity. After an internship with TCU Athletics Marketing, I wanted to pursue my education with an emphasis in sport and went onto the University of South Carolina for postgraduate work. There, I had the opportunity to work with the University of South Carolina Baseball team. Once again being around student-athletes and having an opportunity to see the support services they had reminded me of my time on the team and I knew I wanted to work within Student-Athlete Support Services. To me, it is an area that has such an instrumental impact on a student-athletes’ experience and I knew I could help in that way.
Q: What did it mean for you to receive this Distinguished Alumni award?
A: I was extremely honored to receive the award! My time in the field of education has not been lengthy, however, I have been able to fill it with a lot of exciting opportunities. From community outreach to Student-Athlete Development to teaching and then all of the individual moments with student-athletes and helping them find their why, I feel like I have had the opportunity to help a lot of students. To be recognized for that within the sport that I loved representing on the collegiate level was a tremendous honor.
Q: Talk to me about your job. In a nutshell, what is it that you do?
A: I am an Athletic Academic Coordinator that works with the football team at Austin Peay State University. It is a position that requires me to wear many hats. I am part advisor, part educator, part mentor and sometimes part counselor. I have anywhere from 90-120 student-athletes that come to me for advice as well as academic advisement. The job requires me to know NCAA rules on eligibility as we work closely with our Compliance Office to make sure that the athletes have met the academic benchmarks that are required of them.
Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?
A: My favorite part of the job is the genuine connections that I form with my students. Having them know that they have someone in their corner that will be there for them on the bad days as well the good days is something I always try to communicate to my students. Seeing my students succeed is something I cherish. I get to be a small part of their journey through some of the most pivotal years in a student’s life, and when they walk across the stage, I get to share in that moment with them; it is something that is almost unexplainable.
Q: Something people might be surprised to learn about your job?
A: I’m not sure if it is surprising, but what always keeps me on my toes is what motivates students and how each of them truly is so different. Learning each individual’s motivators is extremely unique to this job. Along with truly having to know a little bit about everything. I have students in majors from agriculture to pre-med to accounting, and have to be able to assist them in some way when they come to me with questions.
At-a-Glance: Haley Jacobi:
• Graduated magna cum laude with a dual major in marketing and supply chain management from Texas Christian University in 2013.
• Masters of sport and entertainment management at the University of South Carolina in 2015."
- Equestrian team:
• Four year starter in both equitation over fences and equitation on the flat
• Named to the 2012 and 2013 NCEA Academic All-America First Team
• Big 12 Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year, 2013.
- Career highlights:
• Graduate assistant for the University of South Carolina’s baseball team.
• Academic counselor as well as the Life Skills Coordinator and was the academic support for Women’s Soccer and Softball team at at Texas A&M Corpus-Christi. Currently the Athletic Academics Coordinator at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.
• Oversees the academic progress of over 100 members of the APSU Football team in compliance with the NCAA
• Oversees academically at-risk students
• Works closely with coaches from all teams to foster an atmosphere of retention with goals of graduation.
• Cultivated relationships with community partners, such as Operation Teammate, where Austin Peay and Fort Campbell collaborate to provide children of deployed service members with an opportunity to experience being an honorary teammate at a variety of sporting events.