All RLS employees faced a number of unprecedented challenges owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the switch to remote learning. Those that confronted Athletics Director Justin Clymo ’93 were arguably unique among them. Mr. Clymo was forced to figure out how to run an athletics program and help his coaches train their athletes virtually, and without the benefits of facilities or equipment. Mr. Clymo worked diligently to set up remote training schedules for Pirate athletics teams and spent time thinking about how he could help Stevenson coaches and athletes improve their skills and maintain their excitement from afar.
One especially distinctive initiative was to create two new podcasts: Contacts— an interview-based podcast that focuses on coaching and leadership skills and Why Sports?—another interview-centric podcast that focuses on the (sometimes unexpected) ways that people can benefit from sports in their life, far beyond the court or field.
Mr. Clymo chose the name Contacts for his first show because he has a huge number of contacts saved in his phone, many of whom are stellar mentors, teachers, and coaches. Each week, he calls upon one of these “contacts” to participate in an interview for the podcast, and he asks them about topics that might help other coaches (like their background, philosophies, best bits of wisdom, and more). Mr. Clymo explains that he created Contacts with the hopes it would become a “digital database of mentorship for coaches.”
He decided to start Why Sports? because he wanted to show students that athletics can have a wide-ranging, long-lasting impact on a life, rather than simply being another accomplishment to check off an extracurricular to-do-list. Mr. Clymo interviews only non-coaching, non-teaching professionals for Why Sports?, and he has talked to a wide range of interviewees: from Hollywood actors to CEOs. As the show has evolved, it has become less targeted towards students, and more geared for any person who is interested in learning about the lessons that can be derived from participating in sports.
To help him create his podcasts, Mr. Clymo has now assembled a small team: a producer, Bo Buller (former athletics director at Gonzalez High School) and an organizer/manager, Evan Etienne ’13 (a former RLS student-athlete). They release an episode of each show every week (Contacts on Wednesdays and Why Sports? on Fridays), and you can listen to the episodes on whichever podcast network you prefer (links below). Mr. Clymo also created a spin-off endeavor, called “5 Second Version” (on Instagram, Tic Toc, and Twitter)—where he regularly edits and posts short snippets from each show containing the best sound bytes or bits of wisdom each guest had to offer.
Over time, he hopes to reach an even wider audience than only RLS athletes and teachers with his podcasts. He explains, “Making these podcasts has been like my personal PhD in coaching and leadership”—and he is excited that he gets to share all of the knowledge and wisdom he is gaining with everyone who chooses to tune in.
You can check out Contacts on your preferred podcast network by clicking here: https://linktr.ee/contactspodcast
You can check out Why Sports? on your preferred podcast network by clicking here: https://linktr.ee/whysportspodcast