For many student-athletes, college is a time to not only grow as a student, but to grow in their sport. The majority of college athletes never have the opportunity to continue playing professionally, but many Bobcats have had success in sporting leagues all over the world. For the MSU athletes that never went professional, or never wanted to, what are they doing now?
We sat down with Christian Moon, Heather Haug, Matt Richards, Josh Schimpf and Josh Stevens, and asked them about what they are currently doing, their plans after graduation, and how athletics will play a role in their future.
Growing up in Inkster, Mich., Christian Moon had a passion for the game of basketball. With that passion he set out to improve his game. Attending Harry S. Truman High School, Moon started to show his talent. The game eventually brought him to Henry Ford Community College (HFCC) in Dearborn, Mich. where he continued to shine.
During his sophomore year at HFCC, Christian’s game improved, eventually earning him all-defensive team honors. After completing two years of junior college, Moon decided to transfer to a four-year university. Receiving offers from teams including Idaho State and Southern Utah, Moon eventually decided to accept a scholarship to Montana State for Liberal Studies.
Since he has begun wearing blue and gold, Moon has further solidified his game, earning an All-Conference Honorable Mention as well as Strength and Conditioning Player of the year his rookie season. He has been an outstanding person as an athlete and a student, motivating himself and the people around him. Staying focused on academics as well as basketball has also been a challenge.
“I learned a lot about getting myself mentally and physically prepared,” he said. “It is difficult to handle the long seasons. You have to have a solid approach to the game no matter what.”
Contrary to many people’s perception of a college basketball athlete’s dream, Moon has no plans to try for the NBA. Instead, he intends on taking his game abroad, competing in another country. While nothing is set in stone as to where, his current prospects are Sweden, Germany and Switzerland.
“I always had a thought about [competing overseas], but never knew exactly if I would be able to or not. A couple of agents got into contact with me, we discussed it and after that I just had a plan that I wanted to pursue this,” he said. “I want to play there as long as they let me, or as long as I stay healthy, especially playing at that level.”
As Moon’s college career comes to a close, he has reflected on things about himself as well as his capabilities. “I’ve learned how far I can push my limits. I have no regrets. Everything happens for a reason and it has been a great two years here playing and also getting a good education.”
Matt Richards, Josh Schimpf, Josh Stevens
The Montana State men’s lacrosse team, a competitive member of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference (RMLC), has seen many outstanding players come and go since 2003. Three of these players helped lead the team to an 11-4 record last season, rolling over opponents and having two five-game winning streaks in the same campaign. It was the lacrosse dream team, pummeling the Griz twice, going 4-0 in conference play and beating Central Washington University by a jaw dropping score of 28-0. The team has a history of not only hard work on the field, but off.
Goalie Josh Stevens, a Bozeman native studying business management, had a rocky start at MSU, stopping barely half of the 119 shots that were launched at him while he was in goal. However, the next season brought Stevens into the national spotlight. With help from goalie coach Martin Hammond, who played for the University of Louisville, Stevens was named 2012 RMLC 2nd Team All-Conference Goalie as well as an MCLA (Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association) Scholar Athlete. He stopped 127 shots last season, proving he has what it takes to compete.
Currently, he is an ASMSU business senator, winning the vote last semester. Stevens plans to continue with the game in Bozeman on the men’s league, or continue his education elsewhere, possibly law school.
Matt “Jersey” Richards, an environmental biology major from Morrestown, N. J. is the leading scorer for MSU for the 2013 season. A solid all-around player, he has dominated on attack, putting up an impressive 80 goals so far in his four seasons as a Bobcat. Richards has surpassed his 2012 career high of 25 season goals, this season putting up 39.
In addition to his scoring power, he is a team player, posting a high number of assists as well. Richards was named team captain this season by his teammates and won the 2012 RMLC Honorable Mention All-Conference Attack.
With strong stick skills and impressive conditioning, he is a force to be reckoned with on the field and has had a major part in the success of Montana State. After graduation, Richards hopes to continue with the sport, possibly by coaching a men’s league team or potentially a college team. He believes coaching is his way of giving back to the sport that has given so much to him.
Josh Schimpf is about as good a midfielder as they come. A business management major from San Diego, Calif. Josh has found his place on the team as a motivator, hard worker and a solid lacrosse player. Also named a team captain for the 2013 season, he performed his best until his season ending ACL injury during one of the early games.
In his three seasons wearing blue and gold, Schimpf has defined himself as a formidable defensive obstacle for all opponents. He has also helped MSU in scoring, adding 13 goals to the stat sheets. After graduating this May, he hopes to continue playing the sport back home in California in recreational league games, as well as pursue his business career.
Heather Haug ran her first road race when she was eight and has been running ever since. While at Montana State, Haug has received many awards for her outstanding performance on and off the track. She is the team captain for this year, has multiple all conference and all american academic honors and holds multiple school records.
The exercise science and nutrition major currently works in a fitness center but plans to continue running after college. “I don’t know if I will make it into a professional career,” she said. “There is not a lot of money in it. But it is a hobby I will do for health and enjoyment.”
“I would like to focus on my education, getting my finances in place and securing my future,” Haug explained.
In addition, she is working with some friends to start a health and nutrition company. Haug plans to work part time at the hospital, while working toward “finding clientele, branching out and marketing,” to start the company.
“I would like to branch out and try living somewhere new,” said Haug, who is from Livingston, Mont. “I would come back to Montana.”
Haug has learned through track and her time here at MSU such as learning time management disciplining herself in other areas of her busy life, and doing “my best to avoid being lazy,” she said.
She explained that when she began track it was “a job almost,” and she was participating to pay the bills. However, she soon realized that running is not just an individual sport, but “more a team sport. I run to push and motivate my teammates.”
Haug explained that it took her a long time to “realize the basics of track, which is putting in the miles. If I had done that at a younger age, I think I would have had more success now.”
She has been successful at MSU, as she currently holds MSU records in the 800 meter run, the mile run, the 1,500 meter run, the 3,000 meter steeplechase and is a member of the record-holding distance medley team.
Haug is graduating from MSU this year, but has had many accomplishments throughout her career in Bozeman. “MSU is and overall great choice of school for me,” she said. She explained that coming to Bozeman from a small town “has helped me grow as a person, both academically and physically.”