Austin Lommen ’16
Residence: Hoxsey St.
Take me back. What was your first experience with football in your youth?
Oh gosh … I don’t know if I can remember back that far! I started playing football in third grade. That was when it was first offered in my community. I actually started out playing quarterback and I focused just on that position since high school.
Did you throw some other sports in there as well?
Yeah, I grew up playing baseball and basketball also. I played those throughout high school and stopped once I got to college and focused just on football. I really enjoyed all of them. I miss playing the rest of them competitively. I actually play JV basketball here, which is a lot of fun, and I considered doing baseball, too.
Now how does that JV basketball experience compare to leading the football team?
Yeah it’s a lot different. [Laughs.] JV basketball is way more for fun and to blow off some steam whereas football is a lot more serious and a much bigger commitment. I’m not sure they are comparable. But it’s been a lot of fun and I am really grateful that I have been able to pick that up.
You originally attended Boston College (BC). How did those first two years go and what brought you to the Purple Valley?
So originally I wanted to play Div. I football. Starting in Div. I football was a dream and goal of mine. Once I got there I realized that it would not be possible with where the coaching staff was at and how everything worked. I had a good friend Steven Kiesel [’15] with whom I went to high school and played football. When I decided to transfer out, he was the first call I made. I asked him what NESCAC football was all about and got the scoop from him. He said Williams was a great place. When he said I would be a really great fit for Williams, I came and visited and I really liked it. I felt that I would fit in here and I appreciated the culture. I decided to come here and it was absolutely the right decision. I had a great year last year and I hope this year will be even better.
Do you think that being at Williams has allowed you to do other things besides football and academics?
Absolutely. In season I would say the time commitment is actually relatively similar as to what it is at BC as far as practices and lifts and games and meetings and film all go. The real difference is in the off-season. So last year in the spring I got to go over to Brayton Elementary School once a week to help out a kid there who is now at Drury [High School] so I will go over there to see him once a week. His name is actually Austin as well. [Laughs.] Hopefully he will come to some of our home games in the fall. I also got involved with the volunteer income tax program. I have definitely done some community service that I otherwise would not be doing at Boston College as a result of the off-season commitment. You end up having so much more free time and it allows you to explore. Also the fact that the coaches cannot really get involved in the off-season here provides a real chance for senior leadership to step up.
How do the two academic experiences compare at each school?
The coaches sometimes pushed around the term student-athlete at BC. Oftentimes people were more athlete-students at BC because we had practices from eight in the morning until noon; sometimes they started even earlier. We were all expected to take our classes in the afternoon. Right away that limits half your schedule.
No division of the day?
None at all. Just that structure of the day shifts your priorities whereas here academics absolutely come first. One of the reasons I was actually convinced on my visit to come here is that I was able to talk about things other than football with my [now] teammates here. That was not really the case at BC. I think Boston College is a great school but I love the fact that I can have these super intelligent conversations with student-athletes who are really interested in their classes as well.
How is it now leading a team of which you have only been a member for a year?
The best part about it is that we have a strong senior class that can help out with the leadership. The biggest challenges are definitely the size of the team and managing the culture with that many people. The best way to respond to that, though, is to keep the team focused on our goals because the discipline and accountability first come from the coaches but then come from our senior class.
How do you think football will integrate into your life after you graduate from the College?
Well I won’t be playing football after I head out of here. On that note I feel like that is part of why the senior class is so amped to get out there because these are really our last seven games. Otherwise, I will always really love watching college football and NFL games. It will always be fun to watch an NFL game and really know what is going on.
Final question: would you let your son play football?
Absolutely. I have had a couple concussions. It is kinda a scary thing. However, they are coming out with all these new helmets and better protection and I really hope that football is here to stay. It is a great game and you can learn so much from it. To be successful at football you really have to be dedicated to it. I think the advantages of the sport outweigh the potential concerns. I am not an 80-year-old man yet so if my knees cannot support me then maybe I will have a different answer. But for right now … absolutely.