The mighty Viking mascot vanished from BYU-Idaho back in the year 2001 when the athletics program was phased out of the school. The change came with going from a junior college to a 4-year university. Intercollegiate athletic teams were gone but what about the experiences of having sports and being part of a team? The school then had the task of making use of the intramural program.
Markise Williams is a BYU-Idaho student from the Tacoma area in Washington. Currently, he is coaching a men’s basketball team for the competitive league on campus.
“The students here have such a gem,” Williams said. “They have this program that provides so many different activities for them. I know that people are concentrating on their studies and that they are busy, but they are missing out on that one gem where they can take a break from their studies and have fun.”
Williams spent a year trying to figure out what he was going to do after getting home from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After a year of community college and working, he was accepted into BYU-Idaho. Once he was accepted, he had to decide which classes he should take.
“I saw this class called intramurals and I’m reading the description of the course and it’s telling us that we are going to go through this whole semester of learning different sports and basically it’s glorified gym class,” Williams said.
After a month of being in the class, Markise found himself in different sport situations, watching game’s managers and coaches participate in games on campus.
“That’s when I fell in love with competitive sports,” Williams said. “They have competitive sports here! They got guys in uniforms and actual jerseys. This is amazing!”
Williams worked the rest of his hours on the courts volunteering for competitive basketball. Little did he know three years later he would be putting on the coach’s polo and leading his own team on campus.
Becoming a sports manger would be the next step into getting him to his coaching journey. After his first semester on campus, he went for the job and got it. Games managers oversee different activities and games to make sure they run smoothly on campus. They talk to the players about the rules and make sure the games start on time. They also get paid to do the job.
After being a games manger, Williams took the next step and became a games lead. Leads have the administrative role and coordinate the games managers. Sadly, after a year of being the games lead, he didn’t get rehired for any position. Williams was shocked.
“I was in this limbo state of what am I going to do? I’ve been in the sports activities my whole career here. My whole school’s years what am I going to do,” he said.
After all this volunteer work and employment history, Williams didn’t want to quit. So, when he called the sports office and talked to the different advisors, they told him there was an opening for an assistant coaching job with one of the men’s basketball teams.
That’s what the program is about. Developing skills and attributes that you may not get at other universities. Williams understands that developing leaders is important.
“We are all leaders. Those guys are teaching me every day as much as I teach them,” he said. “We are all leaders at BYUI, that’s what we are here to become. I think what is important or the biggest take away I need to have is that I have the skill to be able to coach. Even if that means I don’t coach. To know that I have that skill and if I want to do it, if I want to grow in it, I can.”
Williams is coaching the wildcats in the men’s competitive league. He is just one of the students who benefit from the activities program on campus.