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From Student-Athlete to Coach and Professor

Rebecca McDermott
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts

Genamarie McCant

As a student-athlete, Genamarie McCant, C’16, ran circles, well ovals, around her competition.  Even at a university distinguished for its history in track and field, McCant flew around the curves to smash school records.  Recently, the versatile track star completed a new circuit by becoming a coach and a professor. 

genamarie-m-2-in-text.jpgMcCant’s prestigious accomplishments in track and field began at James Robinson High School in Fairfax, Virginia, where she broke multiple school records, helped her team win a regional title, and earned a state championship in the 500-meter race.  During her freshman season, she had the nation’s best high-school time at that distance.  These impressive accolades soon caught the eyes of those coaching the Mount’s cross country and track and field programs.  Current cross country and track and field director, Jay Phillips, recruited McCant and convinced her to continue running at the Mount, where she had an illustrious career.  In her first year, she broke the school record in the 500m dash with a time of 1:13.64 at the Penn State Invitational.  She went on to earn Second Team All-Northeast Conference honors two of her four years on the team.  She also secured the university’s indoor record in the 400-meter race and retains top-six rankings in the indoor and outdoor 200 as well as the outdoor 400.  Coach Phillips recalled, “I’ll never forget her school-record races and her countless anchor legs in some of the best 4x400m relays in the conference.  When she locked in on a race, there wasn’t much that was going to stop her from being the fastest in the field.” 

On her decision to attend the Mount, McCant explained she “was interested in competing at the Division I level” and recalled, “the beautiful campus, student-faculty ratio, and the track and field program all captured my attention.”  A sociology major during her undergraduate years, McCant continued her academic studies by enrolling in the Mount’s sport management graduate program.  She accepted a two-year position with the track and field program as a graduate assistant operations coordinator and also worked as an academic-support intern under the supervision of Justine Miller, assistant athletic director of academics and student-athlete support.  “I am so glad that I took the opportunity to intern with our athletic department,” McCant said.  “It was a great experience working with our student-athletes and overseeing their academic progress.”  She also served on the university’s Athletic Advisory Committee.

As McCant completed her master’s degree, the Mount’s cross country and track and field teams were growing.  In July 2020, she was offered the position of director of operations for both programs. Through this role, she became responsible for helping student-athletes access university resources, providing academic and athletic guidance, and managing fundraising events.  This past summer, she was promoted to assistant track and field coach for short sprints. Speaking about her new role, she expressed that she was “grateful for the opportunity to work closer with our student-athletes.”

Now, Genamarie is back in the Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Human Services Department as an adjunct professor, teaching a first-year course titled “Sociology of Sports and Leadership.” The course draws on social theory and leadership literature to examine modern sports and competition from a sociological perspective. Throughout the semester, students study practical and theoretical aspects of sports leadership and their place in the wider culture. As a coach and professor, McCant is excited about helping students become leaders in the classroom and in athletics.  “It is my hope that students enrolled in the course will leave the class with a clearer understanding of what it means to be a leader and reap the many benefits of involvement in the Mount community,” she emphasized.  “The perspective I gained as an undergraduate student-athlete helped shape my teaching and coaching philosophy, and the Sport Management program allowed me to work confidently within collegiate athletics and pursue my passion of helping students and student-athletes lead lives of significance following their collegiate careers.” 

Department Chair and Professor Jack Trammell, Ph.D., who worked closely with McCant throughout her time at the Mount, remains impressed by her work both inside and outside the classroom. He explained, “Sociology is about the pathway from theory to practice, and Genamarie serves as a vivid example of a successful journey.”  Calling her “a prototype for the ideal Mount graduate,” Trammell observed she is “extremely well rounded from the athletic field to the classroom, hardworking, and actively interested in making the world a better place.”  Coach Phillips agreed, saying, “She’s a great example of how integrated athletics, academics, and human formation can be at the Mount.  Her approach to coaching and teaching comes from the same process of inspiring Mount students with a passion for learning to go on and live a life of significance serving God and others.”

 There is no doubt that McCant has taken full advantage of the opportunities the Mount offers, and she is now in a position to have a similar impact on all those who cross her path on Mary’s Mountain.  “Over time,” she explained, “the value of the Mount and the liberal arts experience has only grown in importance to me.”  Whether it be coaching on the track or teaching in the classroom, she uses the tools provided by a Mount education to help others thrive on every level.

Rebecca McDermott
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts