SAAC Spotlight: Western Washington's Jordan Walley
WWU's Walley has been involved with SAAC for two years.
WWU's Walley has been involved with SAAC for two years.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes' lives on NCAA member institution campuses. Click here for more information on the function of SAAC at the NCAA level.

Jordan Walley
Western Washington
Junior * Softball

Name: Jordan Walley
Maple Valley, WA
Western Washington University
College major:
Economics and Accounting
Current sport:
Year in school:
Extracurricular activities:
Coach of a U-14 Softball team, help out at the Maple Valley Historical Society and at the local YMCA sport camps.

Why did you choose to attend WWU? I chose Western Washington based on academics. Playing softball here was just a plus in my book. Western offers a great education in a beautiful campus. Attending Western you feel like you are at a big school, but you still have small class sizes which is something that I wanted. I love Western and Bellingham. It is a total college town that is fully behind everything Western. When I originally came here it was for the biology program, but while in my freshman year I found my true love for accounting and the business field.

What is your favorite class you have taken in college and why? My favorite class that I have taken would definitely be Math 157, which is Business Calculus. I love everything about math. Some say that I should just be a math major because I am so naturally good at it. This class allowed me to test my ability in math and in business math. I found that I was excellent at the subject which has made me even more excited about my major. It also helps having a professor that was very passionate about the subject. He reminded me a lot of Sheldon from the "Big Bang Theory" with the way he taught and loved math.

Who is your favorite professor you've had in college and what did you enjoy about learning from him or her? I would have to say my favorite professor here at Western would be Rob Olson. He teaches Management 271, which is Business Law. This class is extremely difficult for me which I think gave me more determination to do well in it. He is an attorney by day and a professor by night. He could tell us examples that would make sense because they would be applicable to society. He was always funny in class and could somehow find a positive in every law that he taught. I wish that he taught more classes at Western because he was so entertaining to learn from.

How many years have you been involved in SAAC? Two years.

What was the reason you chose to get involved in SAAC? I got involved with SAAC my sophomore year at Western because my coach needed someone to go to the meeting. I did not really know what I was signing up for, but I thought it would be fun. Once attending the first meeting I found that I wanted to be more involved. It is one of the best decisions that I have made in college because of everything that we get to be a part of.

What was your most memorable SAAC activity? My most memorable SAAC activity at Western would be our 50/50 raffle nights that we do at the basketball games. It is fun to interact with the fans and raise money for a great cause. It is fun to see a lot of our community get involved with the night as well.

What was your favorite part of the GNAC SAAC retreat? As a softball player we never travel to Alaska to play, so it was fun to see another school that is in our conference that I normally wouldn't. It was nice to hear what other schools do throughout the GNAC when it comes to SAAC events on campus and how we can grow as a group. But the best part of all was the hike we went on. We rode on a self-pull tram across a river and caught the sunset. The GNAC SAAC retreat is an event that I will never forget.

If you could change one NCAA rule, what would it would be? One rule that I wish I could change would be the number of games you could play in a single season in a sport. Being a team from Washington, it is hard for us to break into the top eight in the West region without the capability of playing more schools from the PacWest and CCAA conferences. By allowing schools to play more games that are within their region would allow schools like us to be able to break the top eight without having to be undefeated. This would just create more of an equal opportunity for all the teams within each region.

What is the most important thing you've learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics? The most important thing that I have learned about balancing the demands of athletics and academics would definitely be time management and communication. When you are playing every weekend and practice every day during the week you have to learn how you are going to get all of your work done while still getting sleep. You also have to learn how to communicate with your professors about when you are going to be gone and how you are going to make up the work. I would say that time management is the hardest thing for me because there is so much that you want to be doing with your night. Studying on a Friday night is no fun.

What does it mean to be a Division II student-athlete? There is a sense of pride that comes with being a Division II student-athlete. We're not just the players that weren't good enough to play Division I. We are the students that wanted to make an impact in our community as well as playing a sport and going to school. Division II allows you to have this pride that you control your own destiny, from your sport to your education. Division II shapes you as, not just an athlete, but a student-athlete that can make their own future from what is right in front of them. I have some of the best memories just from giving back to my community that I would not have had the opportunity to do at Division I. Last year we coached a Little Viks softball team filled with eight- and nine-year-olds that look up to you and become your biggest fans. The best part of Division II are all the opportunities that you create while participating.

What are your future goals after school? My immediate goal after school is to coach my U-14 team until the kids graduate from high school. The next step would be to attend graduate school in California, then go to law school and become a softball coach.

What was the biggest obstacle you overcame during collegiate career? The biggest obstacle I overcame during my collegiate career would be having to come to terms with not playing in the field and just knowing that I was going to hit. It was hard for me to realize that I was just going to be the designated hitter and that was it. I had grown up playing in the field and hitting. I was one of the best fielders on my team. I came to Western and my teammates were all the best on their teams, too, so we had to find a way that all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. It was hard to come to terms with, but now in my junior year I have found that the more thankful you are to play the game in college, the more confidence you will have in yourself and your team.

What is the best advice you’d give to an incoming freshman? The best advice that I could give to an incoming freshman would be that you should definitely listen to your upperclassmen when they tell you to get ahead in your school work before the big trip. They are not kidding! You want to get ahead so you can be both a successful student and successful athlete.

If I could spend the day with one person (past or present), who would it be (and why)? I would want to spend one more day with my great grandpa. He was always my biggest supporter when I was growing up. I always told him that I wanted to play softball in college and he always told me that I would. He would tell me that I needed to work hard and have the determination to play. He would be the first phone call after every tournament or game. He passed away my freshman year of high school. I would give anything to be able to see him in the bleachers at one of my collegiate games. He would be so proud of where I am today. I would give anything to get that "I am proud of you, kiddo" hug one last time. I would do anything for one last day.

Who is your favorite sports team: NFL: Seattle Seahawks. Collegiate: Washington Huskies and Western Washington Vikings. MLB: Seattle Mariners. NASCAR: Kasey Kahne.

Who is your favorite athlete? My favorite athlete would be Russell Wilson. He has done so much for the kids at Seattle Children's Hospital. To many, this does not affect them, but to me it means so much more. I have had a personal connection with Seattle Children's and I know what kids go through there. It is nice to see that they have someone that cares about them and can see play a sport that they may enjoy, but cannot play. Wilson is extremely selfless in everything that he does. He will do anything to make the community better and to support the kids in the communities. That is why he is my favorite athlete.

What is your most memorable sports-related moment? That would have to be my junior year at the Desert Stinger tournament in Las Vegas. We were playing No. 3 Dixie State and the game had gone back and forth the entire time. It was the seventh inning and we needed one run. I was up to bat with two outs and no runners on. I was sitting on a 1-2 count and all I remember thinking is that you are going to get this hit. I got a pitch and drove it over the center field fence and tied the game. I had never seen my team so excited. At that moment, I knew that we were going to win that game. We held them in the top of the eighth and scored in the bottom half of the inning. We had defeated the third ranked team in the nation! There was a great sense of accomplishment at that moment.

What is one thing that people don't know about you? Before every game I have to listen to the same song walking up to the dugout before warm-ups. It is “Shake” by Ying Yang Twins and Pitbull. It's just a song that gets me pumped up for the game. That song makes me feel like I can do anything once I step on that field.