This year, the Gardner Integrated Athletic Center (GIAC) has a new head strength and conditioning coach, Nicholas Miranda ‘14. Miranda has spent the past two years at Farleigh Dickinson University. Seeing his position as a great chance to make the GIAC more accessible, he is excited to return to his alma mater, remembering it as a place where “you’re free to be your quirky self” and emphasizing the GIAC as the Integrated Athletic Center for non-athletes, student-athletes, professors, and alumni to use alongside each other.
The story of Miranda’s arrival at his post is quite circuitous. After graduating in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies, Miranda had originally planned to join the military. However, upon entering the strength and conditioning field, he found the work rewarding. He has a humble approach to his job, consciously following in the footsteps of former GIAC staff Nat Ballenberg and Cory Walts, mentors that he himself had while on the baseball team. He says that he has “large shoes to fill” and that he sometimes feels he’s been “handed the keys to a Ferrari and told to not crash.”
Miranda is aware that certain perceptions may hinder students’ use of the GIAC. In the Clearness Committee report, some survey responses described the sight of uniformed teams sitting together in the dining center after practice as intimidating, while other responses, coming from varsity athletes, expressed discomfort over their teams’ reputations. (In fact, student-athletes are the subject of satire on the “Haver Tales & Bryn Marvels” website, an exhibit of student work, including my own, in response to a class assignment to create a portrait of a campus member modeled after The Canterbury Tales— the two portraits entitled “The Haverbro” and “The Student-Athlete” are most relevant. Although humorous, these creative depictions provide insight into how athletes and non-athletes might see each other, in addition to the more serious viewpoints represented in the Clearness report.)
In order to reach pockets of the community that are hesitant about using the GIAC, Miranda is revamping Intro to Fitness classes to give non-varsity first-years the skills to navigate the space. In addition, he is working with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on the Haverhealth program and is trying to make lifts more time-efficient for student athletes, so they can spend more time being students. With these changes and his insights, Miranda is determined to make the GIAC better meet the needs of the Haverford community.
Cover photograph by Kate Silber ‘20