NBC Fort Wayne's "Salute to Service" video segment from July 19
Editor's note: The official announcement of the 2018 American Football Coaches Association's Good Works Team is set for September 22.
Strength is something Brady Nyland thinks about every day.
Whether it's due to his work in the Brown Fitness Center weight room as a board member of the weightlifting club or as a member of the Manchester University football team, the rising senior offensive lineman from Avon, Ind., isn't far away from developing the outer or inner persona. While benching, squatting, powerlifting or doing any of the other skills that allow him to keep physically and gridiron fit, he also builds himself around the SHIELD dealing with six fundamental ideas of Manchester University football (Sight/Heroism/Integrity/Excellence/Love/Dedication).
"With (head) Coach (Nate) Jensen, the ability for our team and program to be so balanced in what we do in life and on the field goes back (to the SHIELD)," he noted. "I was just sports, sports and more sports in high school. Getting to Manchester University and seeing the importance that Coach put on the other facets of success helped me elevate myself into a better person … giving myself and my teammates a lot of great opportunities."
An example of those great opportunities was a trip to Indianapolis, Ind., for the annual Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference – Student Athlete-Advisory Committee spring meeting. Brady, senior baseball student-athlete Taylor Kopplin, and junior softball student-athlete Sydney Thompson were able to look at different ways to promote their SAAC group with new event ideas, heard from a Special Olympics unified sports participant and did a community service project of filling bags for families who were residing at a local Ronald McDonald house in regards to basic necessities as part of a full day.
"I'll tell you, from my perspective, it's great (to be able to give back)," Nyland admitted. "I've been able to have a lot of good things in my life due to my parents, family members and so forth. I feel there's a calling to get involved in the community, whether it's at home or on campus. It's all about making someone else's life better."
Nyland's sense of campus community and service stretches beyond his work with SAAC. He's also a board member of the weightlifting and exercises science clubs while assisting with Habitat for Humanity, Outreach to Teach and Relay for Life during his collegiate experience.
"There are so many chances to get involved (on campus)," he said. "I've figured 'Why not?'. It's part of my life's elevation which I can thank Coach Jensen and many others on campus for."
The strength part of Brady's daily life doesn't end with the SHIELD acronym. He also takes it to a literal level by being a self-diagnosed "weight room guy." "I want to be a strength coach some day, so it makes sense to (be in the weight room)," he said with a smile. "I've got a chance this summer to live the life, too, as I'm interning at Eastern Tennessee State in their football strength and conditioning program."
Going through the daily work of a strength coach is one of two challenges Nyland is keenly ready for. The other occurs in the early part of August when he and the Spartans' upperclassmen and returners welcome in a new group to begin the 2018 season.
"I'm looking forward to it," Nyland said. "I've learned from so many great ones before me including D'Ante Dorsey, Eric Beard, Jon Brann and on down the line. I was able to learn from and lean on them.
"Now, it's me and the other returners jobs to be those leaders," he added. "We all need to get around and interact with the new guys and be able to advise them on what we did in certain situations on and off the field … educating them to better individuals."
Just like the SHIELD ingrained in him and others … providing strength for Manchester University success.