There are many people behind the scenes at the University of Mississippi who help make sure athletes get the academic help they need.
Mike Klaus begins his day at UM with an 8 a.m. study hall, where he meets with football players/students until 2 p.m. He pauses around noon to eat lunch and collect his thoughts. Then he holds a women’s basketball study hall at 8 p.m.
Born in Sussex, New Jersey, Klaus, 30, began his own academic journey at Wantage Elementary School. As the class clown, Klaus favored math, but not nearly as much as he loved traveling to play baseball, basketball, soccer, and swim meets.
In high school, baseball was his favorite sport, and he wanted to become a pro-baseball player. He had a few Major League baseball workouts after high school, but took his baseball talent to New York’s Buffalo University and played his dream sport four years.
During college, Klaus ventured into more athletic occupations becoming a strengthening coach at the local YMCA. This job conditioned Klaus for many athletic relationships, long hours, and rigorous daily schedules.
Klaus began his academic support career at South Carolina University, where he was an intern, and he utilized his great work ethic for success. That’s when Ole Miss began seeking an academic counselor.
Today, Klaus said he’s thankful for his New York experience. It trained him to become a UM athletic academic counselor, a position he’s had the past four years.
Keeping a balance with work and projects, Klaus has formed many personal relationships with athletes and doesn’t mind long or late hours.
“Mostly just the athletes graduating every year,” is the biggest change he deals with, and new athletes come in. He said he’s thankful for his coworkers and their great communication.
Further success still waits for Klaus.
Director Derek Cowherd hired Klaus. He described him as a “goal achieving, hard worker, no matter the difficult task at hand.”
Cowherd said Klaus is the type of guy who’s not going to sugar coat anything. “The work ethic put in from people … like Mike Klaus helps us in our day-to-day work in academics,” Cowherd said.
Klaus said he envisions himself becoming an academic director in five years.