Being a student athlete is a difficult task for anyone, but senior women’s basketball player Danielle Garroutte is not only able to manage her time with athletics, but also with Slippery Rock University’s unit of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
The ROTC program takes college students and trains them to become soldiers.
By the time an enrolled ROTC graduate is ready to graduate, they will become an official officer in the United States Army.
Garroutte credits her interest in joining ROTC to her father, who is a military veteran.
“My dad served 31 years in the Army,” Garroutte said. “Most of my life, I wanted to be in the Army just like him, and he recommended joining ROTC through college.”
Garroutte chose Slippery Rock because it is the host site of an ROTC program which unites both SRU and Clarion University.
“Between SRU and Clarion, we have about 201 students enrolled in the ROTC program,” Professor of Military Science Lieutenant Colonel John Donlin said. “This includes both enrolled cadets who wear the uniform, and other students who are enrolled in our 100-level class are trying to knock out a liberal studies requirement.”
Although Garroutte has been enrolled as a cadet since her freshman year, she said she wasn’t completely involved in the program until her junior year.
Up until that point, she seemed to commit a lot of her time to basketball.
Each morning, Garroutte wakes up at five in the morning to prepare herself for ROTC physical training, which begins at six.
Training lasts for about an hour, and Garroutte then goes through her daily schedule of classes.
As a member of the Rock basketball team, Garroutte has scored a career high of 13 points on three separate occasions.
Her career-high nine rebounds came in a game this season against Seton Hill University on Jan. 14.
She also locked in a career-high in minutes played in a single game with 35 against Lock Haven University on Jan. 4.
Now that she is nearing graduation, Garroutte has already been contracted and will be moving to Texas this summer where she will begin her career as a Second Lieutenant Officer.
Although she has been able to balance her ROTC duties with her responsibilities on the women’s basketball team, Garroutte admits that it has been a struggle.
“Balancing both basketball and ROTC is really difficult,” Garroutte said. “I was told before entering the program that not very many people are able to go through with it, but my coaches have been really supportive and have helped me through it.”
Donlin said Garroutte has been very willing and accepting of her schedule.
“I tell all of our student athletes to just talk to us and we will figure things out from there,” Donlin said. “We are very willing to work around sports schedule requirements, and Danielle is very good at that communication. Personally, I think that she’s done a much better job participating in ROTC than I ever thought most student athletes would.”
If given the opportunity to do the past four years all over again, Garroutte said she would still like to have been involved with both basketball and ROTC, but with minor differences.
“I would probably change how I did some things, especially with time management,” Garroutte said. “I’ve learned so much, especially in leadership. A lot of the leadership skills I’ve gained have easily carried over from basketball and vice versa.”