It took Samuels six months to get his footing, so to speak, and earn the respect of the women he would be coaching. He also wanted to be sure that his strong personality didn’t take over in his new role as their leader.
“One of the basic tenets of women’s roller derby, here and around the country -- and each team has in its mission statement -- is that the game focuses on women’s empowerment and community involvement,” he said. “I never want to overstep my bounds. I serve at the pleasure of the team and of the players.”
Samuels says his job as coach is to keep the trains running, making sure that everyone stays focused and providing the strategy element to the game.
“The teaching element, which is what I do as a law professor, and a core part of what I do in coaching, absolutely crosses lines,” he said. “I think conveying a sense of confidence is important in both roles.”
Samuels’ love of coaching his roller derby team is infectious, so it’s not surprising that his day job and his coaching world have intersected.
Several of his former law students and colleagues are now on his roller derby team.
“I’m Professor Samuels when I’m in the building, and I’m ‘Loquacious D’ when I’m on the track.”