Sept. 30, 2009
Clemson, S.C. – When it comes to using leadership as a vehicle for success, former Clemson Tiger swimmer, Jay Crout, is driving full speed ahead. As a former Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President at Clemson University and three-time Team Captain for the Men’s Swimming and Diving team, Crout took full advantage of every leadership opportunity to excel, whether it was in the classroom, in the pool, or in an extra-curricular involvement. He used his accumulated knowledge and leadership skills to gain a position as a recruiter at Aerotek, the nation’s largest staffing agency, in August of 2008. In just five months, he was promoted to Account Manager because of his ability to excel in his work environment – similar to the way he excelled at Clemson!
A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Crout attended Clemson from 2003 to 2008 and has been a Clemson fan all his life. He earned his undergraduate degree in communications in just three years, accumulating a 3.78 GPA. Crout continued competing for Clemson while working on his Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development (HRD), in which he garnered a 3.92 GPA in the process. To add to his academic accolades, Crout was a five-time ACC Honor Roll member and a two-time All-ACC Academic Team member. His Master’s study senior thesis was even published in the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.
Equally as impressive are Crout’s accomplishments in the athletic arena. Crout specialized in the Backstroke and sprint freestyle events, in addition to being a crucial member of the 200-yard Freestyle Relay and 200-yard Medley Relay teams during his tenure as a Tiger Swimmer. Highlighting his swimming career at Clemson is a bronze medal in the 200-yard Freestyle Relay at the 2007 ACC Swimming and Diving Championships. Crout recalls this race as his most memorable collegiate athletic moment in which he was the anchor leg of the relay team. “It is something I will never forget,” stated Crout. He and his teammates are also the Clemson University pool record holders in the 200-yard Medley Relay. Crout was a three-time team captain of a successful Clemson men’s swimming and diving team, which placed as high as fifth in the team standings at the 2007 ACC Championships. Looking back on his experience, Crout noted that “Swimming for Clemson was a dream-come-true.”
Crout also balanced extra-curricular involvements which sharpened his leadership skills, including serving as a representative student-athlete on the Clemson University Athletic Council from 2007-2008 and Clemson University SAAC from 2004-2008. As an active member of SAAC, Crout chaired the Outreach Committee in 2005-2006, which took on projects such as the Clemson-Carolina Canned Food Drive and Be a T.I.G.E.R! Field Day. He was also the SAAC President in 2006-2007 and took the organization to new heights through several project initiatives to enhance the Be a T.I.G.E.R! program as an extensive character trait education program for local youth. Throughout the year, Crout helped organize a pen pal program called T.I.G.E.R. Talk, a monthly Be a T.I.G.E.R! Newspaper, and a number of local school assemblies. Crout cites his involvement in SAAC as something which “Prepared [him] for sitting in and running business meetings.”
Crout currently works as an account manager for Aerotek, the nation’s largest staffing agency and thesixth largest in the world. Aerotek prides themselves in striving to deliver their services perfectly. Crout is employed at the Greenville, S.C. office, where he works with colleges to partner with different companies throughout Upstate South Carolina to assist with their specific hiring needs. As an account manager, Crout is given the task of generating business for his office, as well as managing a team of recruiters, whose job is to fill any employment openings he may produce. Organizing and attending various meetings in college has helped prepare Crout for his tasks at Aerotek, where he meets with ten to twenty business professionals from various companies on a weekly basis. He also applies valuable lessons that he learned through his athletic experiences on a daily basis, including time-management skills needed to contact numerous companies in a 200-mile radius, and leadership skills in which he applies to his management of a team of recruiters.
With all of the success Crout has had in his previous and current involvements, it is important to mention people who helped shape him into the leader he has become today. Among the list are his parents, coaches, advisors, and professors, but the person who had the greatest impact on Crout’s character throughout college was Clemson University Senior Associate Athletic-Director for External Affairs, Bill D’Andrea. Crout worked under D’Andrea for three years, helping out with Clemson’s student-athlete scholarship funding organization, IPTAY. He also served on the Athletic Council with D’Andrea. As a result of their many interactions, Crout mentioned how D’Andrea acted as a mentor to him through the various problems and issues he faced in college. “[Bill] taught me how to become a professional and how to conduct myself in business situations,” Crout said.
Currently, Crout finds himself giving back to the community through the local Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church in Greenville, where he is a member of the Men’s Ministry Board. He has become a leader among the younger men of the congregation and serves as a voice for his peers in that regard.
The best advice Crout can give a current student-athlete on being a successful leader on their team is, “No matter what your role is on your team, figure out a way that you can impact your teammates and coaching staff,” Crout said.
Crout goes on to mention that too often athletes assume that if they are not the best player, or the senior Captain on their team, they cannot make an impact, which is incorrect. He notes that, “Every member of the team has a unique and individual set of qualities that can impact and affect somebody else on the team.”
So take the experiences Crout has lived out during his collegiate career and apply them to your current situation. Step up and be a leader on your team, in the classroom, on your campus, at your workplace, or wherever else the road of life may take you. It’s time to take the wheel, as Crout has, and lead!
Written by Tyler Morey, Clemson University SAAC Marketing and Promotions Director