Keene State College senior and student-athlete Ben Olson doesn’t just play sports, he helps others get on the court or field so that they can find their passion too.
Olson is in his fourth year as an Owl and has been a member of the men’s basketball team for each of those years. On top of being a player and student, Olson is also the program coordinator and supervisor for intramural sports. As program coordinator, Ben said that he schedules games and ensures that each team has enough players to compete.
“It’s a step above the game officials,” Olson said. “I make sure that all students are eligible to play and I also deal with the training [of student officials].”
Ben helps train the student officials who referee the games. In the case of basketball, Ben said that he’s able to speak to them from personal experience on the court.
“I give them the tips of the trade. I try to help them understand from the perspective of a player and guide them to what I would want to see from a referee as a player,” Olson said.
Olson was not always the program coordinator for intramural sports. Director of Recreational Sports Lynne Andrews said Olson was first hired in his sophomore year as an official and scorekeeper for games. According to Andrews, the former coordinator of intramural sports, David Sweeney, left in November of 2019, but before leaving he recommended that Olson take his place.
Andrews said that since Sweeney had been the one to deal mainly with intramural and club sports, she was not as well-versed with it as her other duties, but after Olson stepped up to “take the intramural management off [her] hands” it was a huge help.
“I think Ben’s background at the varsity level and his experience with that intensity gives him confidence to take such a role in the program. He’s able to intervene during games if there’s an issue between players and officials,” Andrews said.
Andrews wished to mention that alongside Olson, other students like Zach Carrier, Jonathan Jimenez, Chris Pratt, Michael Tully and Jessica Zumbo have also been helpful in the administration of intramural sports this semester.
Olson can be seen occasionally in the Keene State Student Center encouraging people to play intramural sports. Head coach of the men’s basketball team Ryan Cain said that Olson’s ability to relate to and encourage people to play or try intramural sports is incredible.
“I’m happy to see him stepping up to a role like this,” Cain said. “He’s done a great job doing this, like he has both on the court and around campus.”
Olson said he loves to be around sports and basketball fuels his passion as program coordinator.
“It’s great to get people on the court or field for something they love,” Olson said. “Sometimes they don’t make a team [for certain sports], so it’s nice to have that outlet and physical release for people who still want to play their sport.”
Hunter Oberst can be contacted