Spotlight On: Nina Baloun, Houston Football

(Patrick) #1

Growing up in Ohio and living in Illinois for four years, hurricanes were never something I had to worry about. I started to ask some people for advice and the general answer was – we will be fine, don’t worry. All of a sudden things changed, the approaching hurricane become stronger and it was inevitable that it was going to hit Houston.

After practice our Athletic Director and two senior associate athletic directors met with Marcus Tubbs, Coach Applewhite, and myself to discuss relocating the team. In a matter of a few hours we came up with a plan and first thing in the morning we were taking the team to Austin, Texas. Not only was I still new to Texas, I was new on the job and I had never been in a hurricane before. Through all of this I had to keep my emotions to myself and put the safety of the team first.

With a lot of teamwork we successfully packed up our football team and department and made it to Austin. The University of Texas was willing to let us use their facilities so we were able to still hold practice. A few days into our stay we found out we would have to switch hotels due to an earlier scheduled conference that the hotel could not relocate. Luckily Marcus and Coach Applewhite had maintained relationships with hotels from their time in Austin and we were able to move to another one without trouble.

After a week we were given the all clear to head back to Houston. We did not know what we would be heading back to and tensions were high. This experience brought our staff and our community together and made us all closer. Everyone pitched in and helped, no one cared what their specific job title or role was, we were all in this together with the common goal of staying safe. This experience made me stronger as a person and showed me that no matter the situation is as long as you work with people who have your back it will all work out in the end. On a funnier note, I had just got back from my advance trip to Hawaii to check out everything for our bowl game, I walked out my office to head to a meeting, tripped and broke my foot! This resulted in having to spend my time on the beautiful island in an air cast rolling around on a scooter.