By DAN JENKINS, Staff Reporter
While walking around campus, you may have noticed that things have changed near the Fieldhouse.
The athletic department has upgraded the grounds with imagery of the many varsity athletes that the University of Michigan-Dearborn has to offer. The aesthetic improvements include a gigantic banner on the road-facing side of the Fieldhouse.
Dead-center in that banner you’ll find senior men’s basketball player, Dustin Sielski. Third-year head coach John Mackson explains why Sielski was elected to represent the men’s team.
“Dustin was chosen because he is making the most of his opportunity here,” Mackson said. “He is a true student athlete. He is pre-med and represents the program well in the classroom, while also being voted captain by his teammates.”
Sielski, though he many not put up big numbers up in the box score, is a dedicated teammate who focuses on nothing but the team’s success.
“He has been here for four years and has been very devoted to our program-giving up a lot of opportunities to continue to do something he loves,” Mackson continued. “Hopefully this is something we can continue to do because I think we owe it to our athletes to show them that we appreciate the efforts they make to help draw people to our great University.”
Sielski sees the addition of the banners as a positive for the university’s image.
“I’m glad we’re starting to get some press for all of the sports teams,” Sielski said. “I’m glad I could be the one representing it. I’m still trying to get (the banner) off the wall and back to my house.”
Mackson sees the changes in the athletic department as a positive and could eventually lead to the program’s growth.
“The level of enthusiasm from our athletes is as high as I have seen it since I got here,” Mackson continued. “They feel appreciated and they no longer feel like they are isolated from the rest of the University.”
Sielski said that since the banner went up, people have begun to recognize him more around campus.
“A few people have started to recognize me around campus,” Sielski said. “The guys heckle me every single day about it, that’s always fun.”
Now, athletes are becoming more celebrated, rather than isolated, which, according to Mackson, is good for the unity of the campus.
“They now have a sense of pride and walk with their head held just a little bit higher,” Mackson said. “I think it’s great.”