Last month, Brent Jameson traded working the parks for the weight room at the high school in Seymour.

After putting his name in a pool, following the departure of former teacher Jeff Klopf, Jameson was named an advanced physical education teacher at Seymour High School.

Working with near 173 kids, four periods out of the day, Jameson works with Owls athletes in 45 minutes blocks five days a week.

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Jameson said that about 90 percent of his students are involved in athletics, and the other 10 percent focus on their health and well-being.

“It has been a goal of mine to get into education for a while now,” Jameson said. “I love working with young people. When the job opened, I thought it was a good fit.

“It’s such a unique opportunity to work with the athletes during the day. You get a 90 minutes block: half is lifting and the other is a study hall five times a week. It’s an advantage to be at a bigger school that gives that opportunity to its athletes.

“It’s amazing seeing a student-athlete focus on his or herself. If they come in and get the work done you will get bigger and stronger. Ultimately, it will help the athletics program in the long run.”

Jameson, who also acts as the boys basketball junior varsity coach, says that he doesn’t let his coaching position interfere with the job.

“I always tell the basketball players that (in class) I’m not coach Jameson: I’m Mr. Jameson,” he said. “That’s what I tell all the athletes when they’re in here, we’re not individual sports — we’re all a part of Seymour athletics.”

The athletes work together in the weight room, on the top floor of the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium and don’t have sport-specific exercises.

Jameson works with fellow physical education teacher Jason Longmeier, who also is the girls’ basketball coach, on the weights program.

“It’s a unified program that gears toward a total athlete,” Jameson said. “I think we have a really good recipe. There have been a lot of people that have worked hard. Jeff Richey established the program along with Aaron Floyd. I’m trying to bring a level of consistency.”

While many students want to lift heavy at the start, Jameson emphasizes proper technique to ensure safety.

He said that once the kids can lift correctly, they push each other.

“We want to make sure we take care of ourselves,” Jameson said.

“Once you have the proper technique, we try to challenge them with the weight. Recently, we have emphasized challenging each other. We want it to feel like a family and team atmosphere. If you can challenge one another, we all get a little better.”

While physical fitness is a focal point, Jameson also stresses the intangibles.

“We talk a lot about mental discipline, toughness and teamwork,” Jameson said. “We teach different core values, like having one team and one mission. I think the kids have taken to the values, and they can take what they learn in the weight room and apply it to life.”

Jameson said that he hopes that the program will translate to the athletics program outside of school hours.

“As far as goals, we want to see more sectional championships,” Jameson said. “I think it’s a way of measuring yourself in Indiana sports. As we continue to develop our athletes, we will be right there.”

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Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.