Alumni Profile: Tommy Gayfield, Jr.

Tommy Gayfield

Tommy Gayfield, Jr. (MVS '17) works as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for the U-M men's lacrosse and men's soccer team. He shared his thoughts about receiving his master's from Kines. 

Tell us about what you have done since you graduated.

Immediately following graduation, I was blessed with another baby and an interview for a full-time strength and conditioning position here at University of Michigan. So my teams are men's lacrosse and men's soccer.

Tell us a bit about your experience in your Michigan Kinesiology program.

I'd give it a 10 if there was a scale from one to 10, with 10 being the greatest. From the time I sent in my application, the immediate response was rapid from [Graduate Program Manager] Charlene Ruloff. She did a great job of making sure I knew what I wanted to do, and the classes I wanted were out there readily available for me, even if it was a class outside of Kinesiology that I needed to take.

My classes were on the smaller side, which was great. I'm very a small class size guy, but [the professors] knew me by name. They also allow you to make mistakes, or if they see you heading the wrong way, they give you ample opportunities to get this thing right. They’re not like, “Well, you bombed this test.” They’re like, “Hey, I’ve got office hours open. You could meet me.” I had professors I could meet for coffee and talk about what I needed to do to graduate, which is unheard of. You can tell they love what they do. It's not just a job for them, it’s their actual career. They push and stretch students to be better than who they really thought they could be, which is awesome.

How has your Kinesiology degree contributed to your success?

Kinesiology allowed me to develop my education on how I wanted to, how I saw fit. Obviously, you have the required classes you need to take. It was a very individualized master's program, though. It allowed me to pick classes that helped me, as far as the actual practice of what I wanted to do. Some of that's on more of the practical side, but then it also taught me a great science base. The root of Michigan is science-based, so everything we do is science-based research.

What would you like prospective students to know about the program?

Don't hesitate. The block M branding can be a little intimidating, and the reputation that we have created for the university, it can be very intimidating but don't hesitate. Give it a shot. Apply. Make sure this is the right university for you as far as class sizes. Make sure the profession is going to lead you to where you want to go, but don't hesitate. This should be one of the universities in your top three. Hands down.