by Danny Eckardt
Youth and enthusiasm will fill the University of La Verne training room, as two new assistant trainers have been hired this year.
Jim May, 25, and Corrie Ciucci, 26, were hired to fill the growing need of ULV’s sports program, which expects to bolster 20 athletic teams, including four newcomers, and approximately 400 athletes.
“They [the new trainers] are both young and enthusiastic, really hard working, and come from academic and experienced backgrounds,” said Head Athletic Trainer and Professor of Movement and Sports Science Marilyn Oliver.
May was hired as a second assistant trainer, and Ciucci as a replacement for Paul Alvarez, the original assistant trainer who is currently on sabbatical.
“It’s not the easiest thing to come in and be the new kid on the block, especially when you have a school like La Verne where many of the employees have been here a long time,” May said.
Coming to La Verne has rekindled Ciucci’s love for sports training, which was at a cross-roads while training in the stress-filled environment in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) program.
“At one point and time just being at the Division I level really burned me out with the hours and stress,” Ciucci said. “This school [ULV] really peaked my interest to stay in it, because I really do love what I do.”
Although both May and Ciucci are under a one-year contract and fill different shoes, they do share many similarities.
May, who was born and raised in the San Diego area, and Ciucci, who originates from Stockton, are certified by the National Athletic Training Association (NATA). In addition to having master’s degrees from University of Nevada-Reno and San Jose State, respectively, both are also young, are interested in training a major league baseball team, and love the relaxed environment La Verne offers.
“It was a school and environment that fits my needs as an athletic trainer,” May said. “The Division III level is a level that I anticipated as being the most rewarding for me, as working with student athletes rather than just athletes.”
Training responsibilities came early for May and Ciucci, who debuted their skills Aug. 17 for this year’s sports physicals.
Each has been assigned a specific role at the University, which includes head football trainer and head soccer and softball trainer, respectively.
Oliver, who is in her 20th year of service as head athletic trainer, believes both May and Ciucci bring new ideas to athletes and student trainers.
“They have performed and adapted well,” Oliver said. “They are fabulous, and I love having them.”
Since they are not faculty, like Oliver, May and Ciucci are able to devote more of their time to help the student athletic trainers learn the art of training.
“I like it a lot as a trainer,” May said. “I am working the sports I want to be working right now.”
Becoming a head athletic trainer at a Division II or III university is one of May’s long-term goals, while Ciucci is “testing the waters” to see if she would like to stay in athletic training opposed to undertaking a pharmaceutical-type job.
“I like the program because it is really small as far as close knit in relationship to the athletic department to the coaching staff, to the athletic training staff and to the athletic department itself,” Ciucci said.
Oliver has already expressed the need and desire to rehire Ciucci for next year, which is a luxury the athletic department may not be able to afford, pending its payroll.