"For a guy who's never been married," Stew Salowitz says, "I have a lot of kids."
His kids are 41 IWU alumni who have worked for Salowitz as students and stay connected on the Facebook group "Stew's Crew."
Whether keeping live stats, updating record books or maintaining IWU's athletic website, the goal of the crew's work has been to help publicize and document Titan achievements in 18 different varsity sports.
It can be stressful, say former students who've experienced it — especially when the University is hosting multiple conference championships or tournament games in a single weekend.
Those same alumni concur that, somehow, Salowitz always manages to make it all seem so much fun.
"Stew has taught me not to take things too seriously," says Andrew Freeman '07. Kayla Kindred '08 recalls "laughing every day you went to work.
"Day in and day out," Kindred adds, "Stew has a smile on his face and is ready to help young men and women achieve at IWU."
"When things were going bad or I was having a tough time in school or football, he was there to make me laugh and push me through," Deon Hornsby '97 said when he accepted the Alumni Loyalty Award at last fall's Homecoming. He also recalled how, waking up from surgery after receiving a serious football injury in his senior year, "I saw my mom, my dad and Stew."
Everyone has his or her favorite Stew memory. Kindred even wrote a list that included "dinner nights with Stew, his mother, Sadie the dog and Scooter the bird," Godfather's Pizza Fridays, something called "pickle races," and "knowing that 'Stew's Crew' would be at every one of my softball games."
Many of the workers become "very close with each other and there are many moments in college I will never forget because of them," she adds.
Salowitz feels lucky to have hired "some outstanding, smart and loyal student workers" and especially blessed that so many have become friends with him and with each other.
Hornsby calls Salowitz "my partner in crime" and "brother." Brent Niebrugge '98 counts him among his very good friends, as do Freeman and Kindred. Chris Sorensen '95 describes their relationship as "one of the most cherished friendships I will ever have."
Alex Roth '09, who worked with Salowitz all four years of college, says the experience helped prepare him for his graduate studies and current accounting job. For example, in balancing his sports job with his studies, he learned time-management, which Roth calls "one of the best abilities you can have as a young professional in today's economy."
More important, says Roth, "Working with Stew taught me that you should enjoy your job! I have never had so much fun my entire life. ... Stew gave me the opportunity to watch sports and get paid, and as far as I'm concerned you can't ask for much better than that." — Tim Obermiller