Meridian Hollister has been a football enthusiast since her early years. “For a couple of years my family lived in a small town outside of Columbus, Ohio and everything surrounded the football program,” Meridian explains. “I started cheering; my mom coached the cheerleaders; it was a true community experience. I thought it was so cool.”
Meridian also grew up cherishing her father’s stories from his college football playing days – a conversation bond that would resurface in an unusual way after he suffered a heart attack during her freshman year at Taylor.
“At the time, I really wanted a special way to connect with my dad each week. So every Sunday I would watch one NFL football game with a few of the Taylor football players and they would teach me exactly what was going on in the game. Then I’d call my dad and we’d talk football.” As the season went on, Meridian became more and more intrigued with the art of football. “I loved the strategic nature of the game! I loved the die-hard nature of football fans. I was so drawn to it!”
Meridian’s passion for everything football and her appreciation for the unique challenges college football players face has made her an informal advocate and ambassador for the Taylor University Football Program. By her sophomore year, she regularly ate with the football players when they were hosting recruits and used her experience working in Taylor Admissions to answer questions and help recruits feel welcome.
“Then one day,” Meridian remembers with a laugh, “all the coaches came down with the recruits, and without thinking about it I just sat down with them. The coaches all looked at me weird, like, ‘who are you’?” One of the football players recognizing the disconnect, jumped in. “Coach, do you know Meridian?” he asked. “You need to consider hiring her as a recruiting person because she does it for us anyway!”
Since that time, Meridian has helped the team by hosting recruit families, taking them on campus tours and answering their questions. She’s assisted with hotel bookings and meal planning for away games. She’s also a football cheerleader who not only cheers on the home sideline, but travels to most away games. But Meridian felt she could do more and serve the program better, so this Business Management/PR student proposed, presented, and received approval to establish a new internship program with TU Football.
Meridian’s primary responsibilities will include ramping up the team’s social media presence while partnering with a number of other campus departments, including the film department, to create promotional videos and effective social media content. She’ll continue to assist with recruiting, while also expanding her support of the program’s communication and fundraising efforts.
“Through this internship, my hope is that the players feel a huge wave of support from the students and the community.” Meridian shares. “I want them to be more proud than ever that they are Taylor Football players and know they are supported. I want them to feel the love of the campus and hope they want to come back to support the program after they graduate.”
You can pray for Meridian along with your player this season! “Pray I’m mentally prepared for this,” she asks. “I’m taking on a lot. It’s through my own desire, but I want to complete things well. I want to serve the coaches and players the best I can and make an impact.”