A Day in the Life of Pensacola State Pirates: Rozelle Nix

He is undeniably the tallest man on campus, standing 7’0 and weighing a whopping 313 pounds (recently down 80 pounds from a strict diet of baked fish and chicken) reigning from O-H-I-O by way of Cincinnati.

When this 21-year old PSC basketball center isn’t hooping, he scores by killing the latest dance moves or singing a few music notes. So who is this shy guy? The name is Rozelle “Ro” Nix. But have you ever imagined walking a day in his size 18 shoes?

It’s quite possible you’ve seen this gentle giant strolling the campus rocking Beats by Dre headphones, PSC basketball shorts and a matching t-shirt. On a typical Tuesday, he rises out of his twin–yes, TWIN-sized bed at 8:50 am and is dressed, ready, and 20 minutes early for his 9:30 am class.

Punctuality stands at the top of team priority and “every athlete arrives to practice at least 15 minutes early,” said Nix. According to Head Coach Pete Pena, “Your sport is your job,” and the athletes must conduct themselves so at all times. It is impossible for them to have a job outside of PSC basketball, and they are paid for their performance on the court by tuition, room and board, and a meal stipend of $200 every other Monday, according to assistant coach Joey Murdock.

The hard work, dedication, and professionalism that the team exemplifies on and off the court may go unnoticed by the average student. Not only must they be full time students and maintain a 2.0 gpa, but they must also attend all classes, practices, games, weight training, study halls, and mandated community service events.

Practice lasts an hour and a half, opens with a prayer, and ends with clothes drenched in sweat, heavy breathing, hearts racing, and at times a few blaring choice words by Pena when the guys are slacking. Drills are repeated until perfected, and each player is at risk of being cut at any moment, causing him to lose everything and fight daily to stay on the team and make the starting lineup. Constantly hustling up and down the court (never walking), they practice hard, as if a room full of NBA scouts are analyzing their every move for the upcoming draft.
Many of the elite scouts and coaches fly in for not weeks, or days, but merely hours just to get a glimpse of Nix and this talented team. Nix is heavily recruited by many Division I schools and has verbally committed to play at The University of Pittsburgh next year. “We have six returning starters,” said Nix and “the team is overwhelmingly favored to win both national and state championships this season.”

The Pirates are currently undefeated and the next home game is Friday, Dec. 5, at 7:30pm. Admission is complimentary for all PSC students (must present a valid student ID) and $5 for non-students. The complete 14-15 men’s basketball season schedule is available at http://athletics.pensacolastate.edu/

Interview with Kylie Badgley

20-year-old sophomore Kylie Badgley explains below a day in the life of a
PSC volleyball player. Playing middle hitter, she stands 6’2 and is a native of the Lone Star State.

What’s a typical day like balancing volleyball with academics?
Well, I’m taking 15 hours this semester and making all A’s so far. I even have a 101 in chemistry. Currently I have a 3.3 gpa. We have to maintain a 2.0 gpa but my dad would kill me and make me come home if I ever made anything close to that. Last semester I took 17 hours. We go to class just like everyone else, but after class we have practice, study hall, and weight training. On game days we do not practice. It’s sometimes hard when we have away games because after we get back that night, we still have to wake up and go to class the next morning. Getting enough rest has been my biggest challenge. It probably doesn’t help that I drink coffee every day.

How’s the season going so far?
Coach Laird (head coach PSC volleyball) is a really good coach, and he pushes us to be the best. Right now we are doing pretty good and we have a great team. I sprained my right ankle a couple of months ago, but the trainers have performed lots of ultrasounds and exercises to help strengthen it so I still get to play in the games.

How are the living arrangements for volleyball players?
Some of us live in the campus dorms, and the rest live of us live off campus in apartments. Last year I lived in the dorms (located behind building 96). I did not like living there because the dorms are very noisy. This year, I got a housing stipend of $400 per month to live off campus. We also get a food stipend of $450 per month.

What’s the hardest part about playing volleyball here?
I’m from Arlington, Texas, so I miss my family a lot. Last year I didn’t get to see them from July to November, and it was really hard for me, but I was able to call home and talk to them. This year we ended up playing in a tournament in Texas and my family was able to drive and see me. We rode on a bus for 15 long hours, but it was definitely worth it because I got to see my family. Also, my dad came to see me for Sophomore Night so I was pretty excited about that.

Tell me a little bit more about Sophomore Night.
It’s equivalent to senior night in high school when you are honored at the
game in front of family and friends, and they announce your future plans for life after PSC.

So what are your plans after PSC?
I definitely want to transfer to a Division I school, probably somewhere in
Texas, but I don’t think I will continue playing volleyball. Eventually I plan to go to law school and practice business law.