The University of Arkansas Athletics Department is recognizing current Razorback administrators and coaches as part of a series celebrating Black History Month on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Throughout the month of February, individuals will be featured on the web site for their contributions to the University of Arkansas, the Razorback program and society. This marks the fifth year Razorback Athletics has celebrated Black History Month with a special features series on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
This year's list includes Razorback administrators Eric A. Wood, Byron Hatch, Marcus Sedberry and Marvin Caston along with coaches Melvin Watkins (men's basketball), Tari Cummings (women's basketball), Chris Johnson (women's track and field) and Randy Shannon (football).
Razorback fans can cheer on student-athletes while they are on the field or court but one aspect they cannot see is the amount of hours put into studies, practice, community service and all of the other facets that come with being a Division I student-athlete. The University of Arkansas has put in place advisors and staff to encourage and assist any extra needs of the student-athletes to make their time at Arkansas as propitious as possible. One of the people at the helm of the student-athletic services is Marcus Sedberry, the Director of Student-Athlete Development.
Sedberry, a Dallas native and former track and field student-athlete at the University of Nebraska, uses his own life experiences to relate to the student-athletes and educate them with life skills while providing career developing programs.
Sedberry started his higher education journey at Nebraska and then traveled his talents to the University of Central Florida. There he earned his graduate degree and eventually transitioned into the Director of Student-Athlete Services for five years.
"Working as the Director of Student-Athlete Services at the University of Central Florida was a great opportunity for me," Sedberry said. "I was there for about five years and prior to that I did my graduate work there. It was a great time for me to grow and really prepare myself for the rest of my professional career."
Sedberry is one of the newest members to the Arkansas Razorback family, arriving in Fayetteville in September of 2012.
"While at UCF I had the chance of meeting Eric Wood and partnered up with him on some projects for the NCAA and other organizations," Sedberry said. "When the opportunity came open at the University of Arkansas I saw it as a great chance to be a part of a great athletic department and be a little closer to home, so I thought it would be a win-win all around."
At Arkansas, Sedberry's responsibilities include preparing student-athletes for a productive collegiate experience by providing opportunities for leadership, personal growth and development, sportsmanship, community outreach and career development, as well as a successful transition to life beyond graduation.
"The favorite part of my job is being able to get the opportunity to really connect with our student-athletes on a much deeper level," Sedberry said. "Everyone knows they are phenomenal athletes and knows they do a great job in the classroom, but everyone has their own unique story. So being given that opportunity to be their big brother and learn about their families and know what they want to accomplish in life and to truly help them through those moments is something that I would not trade for the world."
Everyone faces challenges and difficult tasks growing up, even if they are lucky enough to attain a collegiate scholarship for a higher education. How that person overcomes those challenges is when their true character shines.
"I think one of the biggest challenges that I have faced making that transition from being a student-athlete where you have a lot of things provided for you and you have all these resources available and then having to move from that into figuring out yourself finding ways to connect with people outside of teammates because you don't have those people anymore," Sedberry said. "Now that I am in the work force, really establishing myself is a challenge. I am a lot younger than a lot of my colleagues, and so I have to hold myself to a higher standard and perform at a certain level so that others around me respect me in my decision making abilities and things of that nature."
In his short time at Arkansas, Sedberry's internal accountability is helping the Razorback student-athletes develop and prepare for life after their playing career is over.