The Times West Virginian

Fairmont State Sports

January 27, 2014

Team bonding teaches life lessons for FSU 

FAIRMONT — Athletes sometimes spend more time with their team than with their own families. For a college athlete, that statement rings true. But for Fairmont State men’s basketball team, the team is their family.

Team bonding is essential for any sport, especially for those sports that can’t coast off of one single individual’s performance. Basketball falls into that category and Fairmont State has been doing everything it can to bond together.

“It’s very important as a coaching staff. One thing I’m big on is spending time with the players,” Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “We coach them very hard and are very demanding, but we spend time coaching them in life, too.” 

The guys on the team spend just about every second away from the game together, whether it be playing video games, watching movies, going out to eat or just studying game film. The bond that they share is something that Calhoun takes pride in, hoping that they will grow together in life as well as on the court.

Calhoun has had several stopping points en route to Fairmont State, which led to the second-year head coach picking up several coaching pointers.

During his time watching coaches, Calhoun found Cleveland State’s Gary Waters. From there, Calhoun learned how to interact closely with his players, how to keep them actively pursuing goals and how to bring the team closer together. Calhoun has since taken Waters’ practices and built on them.

“We’re reading a book together, going over it chapter by chapter. It’s a sports book,” Calhoun said. “We’re giving them different topics. Every player has a journal and they write in their journals after film sessions. We may ask them to do an assignment. We watched the Peyton Manning movie; we watched the Maurice Clarett movie, ‘The Youngstown Boys.’ We might give them assignments each night and then talk about it the next day, and I think that’s really bonded us.”

The added work from their coaches goes on top of the likes of studying film, working on their game and studying for their classes. But it’s something Calhoun believes will help them, especially in time of need when players go down with injuries.

“We’re taking it a step further and using this negativity, these injuries, as a positive and trying to build our relationships with one another. And I think it’s worked,” Calhoun said. “Injuries have brought us together. We talk about everything. Every day I pick a different topic. It’s gotten us closer as a team and brought us beyond basketball.”

Aside from their time on the court, players on the team also room together. For some, it may be a struggle to leave their family behind as an incoming freshman and room with a complete stranger that they’re expected to let into their comfort zone. But for others, the transition comes seamlessly.

“I build the relationship quick with these guys because we have so much in common,” freshman guard Caleb Davis said. “We have good times together.”

Davis, who rooms with freshman teammate Shammgod Wells, has been battling an infection for most of the semester but plans to return to practice this week. He said that during his time off, he’s been able to help the team in different ways such as through encouragement. Davis also said that the relationship he has with his roommate, Wells, came quickly.

“Both Caleb and Shamm are at least six hrs from their home so there’s a special bond there,” Calhoun said. “They respect each other so much.”

Wells agreed with Davis and Calhoun, saying the team was quick to welcome the young guys in.

“I’m a freshman and a lot of the other guys like Chase (Morgan) or Stevie (Browning) or Tommy (Scales), they really embrace me like I was one of them forever,” Wells said. “I come from New York, so there’s not a lot of people here that come from where I come from. So the guys and coach Calhoun, they’re really all I have.”

Wells takes the bond even one step further, saying that as a family, it’s easier to lovingly get on each other in practice to help his teammates improve their game.

“The team bonding stuff on the court really helps us. You can criticize someone and they’ll know that you really have their best interest at heart. It’s like playing with your brothers. You’re going to have fights sometimes. You’re going to have good times,” he said. “But when you’re together, when we go to war, when we have a game, you know that you can count on the people that’s next to you.”

Calhoun relishes those moments, saying that’s what the game is all about, building those special relationships.

“During the recruiting process one thing we tell these parents is, yeah, we want to win games and championships and hang banners and we want them to get their degree, but we want to go to their wedding one day,” Calhoun said. “At the end of the day basketball is going to stop for everybody, but you’ll always have those people and those stories.”

Email Matt Welch at or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

Text Only
Fairmont State Sports
  • Falcons set for spring game

    Football is back … well, kind of.
    Today at 7 p.m., Fairmont State will hold its annual Maroon & White spring game at Duvall-Rosier Field. The scoreboard won’t mean a whole lot since it’s little more than a glorified scrimmage. Instead, here are five things to watch during today’s game.

    April 24, 2014

  • Gabbi Mascaro Signing -md.jpg Mascaro signs with FSU

    Gabi Mascaro is staying in Fairmont.
    After considering several out-of-state colleges, the Fairmont Senior soccer standout signed her National Letter of Intent Tuesday to continue her career at Fairmont State University, an upstart program which will play its first games in 2015.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Calhoun, FSU land two signees

    Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun is adding the finishing touches to this year’s signing class.

    April 22, 2014

  • FSU golfer wins MEC Player of the Year

    Fairmont State’s Jess Ferrell shot a two-day score of 136 (-6) to win the MEC Southern and take home Mountain East Player of the Year honors.

    April 9, 2014

  • FSU softball splits with Notre Dame

    Fairmont State rallied in game two to earn the split in its MEC doubleheader against Notre Dame College on Saturday afternoon at Duvall-Rosier Field.
    After five scoreless innings in game two, NDC took a 2-0 lead after a home run by Kelsey Coleman. In the bottom half of the inning, Ericka Aversa hit a sacrifice fly to score Joni Tyree from third.

    April 6, 2014

  • FSU team.MW.jpg Lady Falcons have high expectations for next season

    Despite having to replace a trio of talented starters, including All-America point guard Kaitlin Snyder, from a team that finished 23-10, won the final West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship and made an appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament, Fairmont State University’s 2013-14 Lady Falcons came close to heading back to the so-called “Big Dance” this year.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Calhoun bench.jpg Future bright for FSU after challenging season

    If anything, the 2013-14 season served as an incredible learning tool for Fairmont State University’s men’s basketball team.

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • fsu team - TS.jpg FSU men, women miss NCAA Tournament

    For a season that had its ups and downs for Fairmont State, both the men’s and women’s teams just missed the cut for the NCAA Tournament.

    March 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • FSU’s rally falls short against ’Toppers

    Twenty minutes into Saturday night’s Mountain East Conference semifinal-round showdown between top-seeded and No. 3 ranked West Liberty and fourth-seeded Fairmont State here at the Charleston Civic Center the Falcons looked down and out.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper leads FSU past Bobcats, 70-62

    Brendan Cooper played liked a first-team all-league selection even though he strangely wasn't, and Chase Morgan did what he does best in the game's final 1:18 – hit shots.
    The result was a 70-62 Fairmont State victory over fifth-seeded West Virginia Wesleyan Friday evening in the quarterfinals of the Mountain East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.

    March 8, 2014

Featured Ads
FSU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads