Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Take a Climb Up the Social Ladder with Shannon Gordon

Shannon Gordon or "Gordo" as he is known around the program is the team's athletic trainer. Gordo's primary responsibilities include taping the guys before practice, arranging treatment, overseeing rehab from injuries, and keeping the guys and their bodies intact throughout the season. Gordo's secondary responsibilities revolve primarily around arranging team meals. Gordo is the point person on all catered meals at Memorial Gym, as well as hotel meals on the road. Any time the team eats, it is likely that Gordo arranged it.

While those two things occupy most of Gordo's time, over the past two years Gordo has been trying to carve out another niche in the program: that of the ultimate social climber. At team meals on the road, we usually have four tables. Two are for the players, one is for the managers and support staff (strength coach and SID), and one is for the coaching staff. Two years ago, and even at times last year, Gordo used to sit with the managers and support staff at team meals. He was one of us, but then something dramatic happened, that changed the trajectory of Gordo's career with the program.

One day, and I can't remember when it was exactly, Gordo sat for a team meal with the coaches. Myself, the other managers, and Curtis Turner, our strength coach, thought it would be a one time thing, but it has become permanent. Gordo is now regularly seated with the coaches, and he is not just a silent observer at their meals but often the most talkative member of the table. It is clear he is trying to ingratiate himself with the higher ups and inflate his value to the program, as more than just a trainer, but also an entertainer.

In addition to sitting with the coaches at meals, when Coach Stallings or one of the coaches is out recruiting and not travelling with the team, Gordo often sits at the front of the bus or plane. It is usually custom to leave those seats empty, but Gordo feels very comfortable sliding into them these days. He also loves to chat up boosters, administrators, and anyone else who comes to practice. He is like a party host who makes the rounds to everybody who shows up, and occasionally Coach has questioned Gordo's penchant to engage in "Social Hour" discussions during practice.

Recently, Gordo has had Patrick, another athletic trainer, come to practices and even sit on the bench during some games. Myself and Curtis believe that he is training Patrick to take over the role of trainer so he can move up the hierarchy into a new, more posh position with an office that doesn't include a cold tub. We aren't quite sure what position Gordo is angling for, but my guess is that since we didn't replace Coach Muller on staff this year after he left for Illinois State (we promoted Dan Cage, so we have 5 instead of 6 coaches this year), Gordo is trying to work himself into a full-time coaching position. I wouldn't be shocked if he's on the road next year recruiting or doing the pre-game interview with Joe Fisher, that is how quickly he is ascending into the bourgeoisie of the program.

Since I'll be gone next year, I'm counting on you Commodore fans to keep me posted on any developments with this. I have given you a peek into the social climbing, and now I expect you to make well informed observations on the man who could succeed Coach Stallings as head coach at this rate: Shannon Gordon.

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