Why would a girl from sunny southern California pack her bags for Ohio during the frigid depths of a January polar vortex?
Celine Detjen took advantage of the appointment of her grandfather, David Baker, as president and executive director of Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame to move across the country and enroll at Stark State.
“It’s sunny and 75 every day where I lived and my grandpa warned me: ‘It rains; it snows; it’s not California.’ I said, ‘Sign me up. When do we start packing?’”
Celine, who had some general education classes under her belt from a California community college, signed on at Stark State as a business major. She didn’t hesitate to become Stark State’s first sports management major when the program was announced this spring.
Not only is she a former high school athlete, her extended family includes David Baker – the Pro Football HOF president with ties to the Arena Football League – and also an uncle who’s a tackle for the Atlanta Falcons, one who’s director of broadcasting for NASCAR, and sibling soccer aficionados.
“I played sports and have been around sports all my life, so I know what it takes,” she said. “Sports have taught me a lot – character, discipline, teamwork with people you may not always get along with.”
Headed back to her California family and restaurant job for the summer, Celine plans to graduate next year, then transfer her SSC associate degree to a bachelor’s degree program. She’s also eyeing a possible part-time job at the Pro Football HOF and a potential internship with the New York Yankees.
Meanwhile, she said, it’s been worth facing the worst a Midwest winter can deliver. “I’ve met a lot of great people, the atmosphere here is great, and it’s great not spending a lot of money at a university before you know exactly what it is you want to do with your life,” she said. “Not only do you pay less here, you get the benefits of a small school, like more one-on-one time with professors. They know my name, what I need help with, what I’m excelling in. And it’s been great to come to such a close-knit community where everyone is involved and it seems there’s always a friendly face.
“I’m laying the foundation and seeing where it takes me,” she said. “I might end up in Ohio or California or wherever. I’m keeping my options open. In fact, I loved Europe and could see myself there.” Celine’s considered broadcast journalism as well as sports merchandising, “but whatever comes my way will be great,” she said. “There are no limits.”