By Dave Caspole ’94
Athlete and activist Corey John Pooler received the President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership last spring, along with five other Westfield State students. Pooler is the primary kicker for the Owls football team, and he added track and field to his résumé last winter, finishing third in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference in the 600 meters in the recent indoor championship meet. He is also a dedicated activist for change.
The President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership was created in 2007. To be eligible for the award, students must have a grade point average of 3.3 or higher and exhibit an impressive range of both university and community service activity. Other award winners are: swimmer Carly Thibodeau ’20; Alissa Smith ’19; Jarrod Petersen ’19; Marcus DiBacco ’19; and Giana Dean ’19.
Pooler ran track in high school and had been away from the sport for several years before joining the Owls last spring, after talking to head coach Sean O’Brien, who also serves as the defensive backs coach on the football team. “I saw him run and talked to him about coming out for track,” says O’Brien.
Pooler walked on to the football team as a sophomore; his father encouraged him to try kicking after having played soccer in high school. “I literally went out and bought a football at Walmart and thought I might try out a year later,” he says. “I was kicking on the field, and Hinschie (football assistant coach Tom Hinsch) saw me practicing, and the next thing you know, I’m filling out paperwork and getting equipment, and I played right away.”