Former Bethel student-athlete uses past lessons to be jack-of-all-trades for Bethel athletics
Sports | Kassie Snyder for The Clarion
In addition to creating conditioning and weight lifting programs for all of Bethel's athletic teams and teaching a few courses, Rick Meyer coaches the inside linebackers on the football team. | Photo for The Clarion courtesy of Andy Kenutis
Rick Meyer lives by strength. He incorporates his principle strengths and values into everyone he interacts with - faculty, students and athletes alike.
Meyer came to Bethel to play football and study physical therapy. Although his academic career didn’t go as planned, he finished with a degree in exercise science, Meyer was a standout for the Royals on the gridiron and an All-MIAC selection at defensive end in 2000 and 2001.
Meyer returned to Bethel a few years after graduation and continues to spend his days on campus as a jack-of-all-trades; a professor, a football coach and the weight room supervisor, he also creates the conditioning and weight lifting programs for all of Bethel’s athletic teams.
Meyer calls his time at Bethel “life-changing,” as he was surrounded by coaches and friends that believed in who he was and helped him grow.
“My teachers and coaches taught me that I was loved no matter what and preached, ‘be who you are and give everything you have and that’s good enough,’” Meyer said. “That gave me a confidence I had never experienced before, and made me feel like there was something more than always worrying about what other people were thinking about you.” Meyer is able to apply these principles in his own interactions now that he is the mentor. Senior Noah Emanuel works under Meyer in the weight room as a sports performance intern.
“Coach Meyer’s demeanor commands respect at all times,” Emanuel said. “At the same time, he makes you feel respected in highest manner.”
When it comes to training athletes, Meyer stresses the significance of Hebrews 12:11, which says, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
The best memories Meyer experienced as a student were the lasting relationships he was able to develop. The people and culture of Bethel had a profound impact on Meyer in his college days, and he wanted to have the same influence in students’ lives.
“My joy is working with anyone that you get to find a relationship with,” Meyer said, “just like the coaches did when I was here. They have expectations on you that allow you to grow.”
Aside from coaching and training, Meyer also teaches first aid, weight training and a professional activities course. He believes that every student deserves a thorough, challenging learning experience.
“I don’t come in and teach to nobodies,” Meyer said. “You have to have huge expectations on the people that come in here and you love them through the whole process, just like my coaches did for me. When you have those expectations and mix them with love, people are going to rise to the occasion.”
A perk that comes with teaching is that Meyer is able to invest in students with whom he wouldn’t normally get to interact. “The fun part of being a teacher or coach is finding the buttons to push on each individual person, and that’s what’s exciting.”
According to Meyer, the weight room doesn’t only exist to build stronger bodies, but also to build a stronger community. Coach Meyer has a vision for how the weight room could be improved someday.
“There’s a need for a spot for athletics, a spot for faculty and a spot for our students. All at once, they’re not all getting the access they need,” he said. “I want to find a spot so that we can bust some walls out and find a spot for community so we can go through the discipline together.”
Meyer noted that weights and conditioning are less about the actual exercises and more about the attitude and mindset that is a byproduct of the teams working together as a unit.
“I want to find a way that we can get more and more people to rub shoulders with, at the same time create an unbelievable community, an unbelievable energy and an unbelievable atmosphere,” he said. “I don’t want it to just be a weight room. I want it to be a special place. Here you’re working. That blood, sweat and tears creates a growth among people.”