By CATHY MOUNCE
Texas Longhorn fans will see a Muenster native on the sidelines when football season begins in the fall.
Muenster High School graduate Amy Culp, who is assistant athletics director/sports dietitian at the University of Texas at Austin, plays a big role in the team’s nutrition regimen and attends all the Longhorn games.
Culp was offered the position as assistant athletics director/sports dietitian in 2012 after UT head football coach Mack Brown and the UT athletic department decided creating a staff dietician would be a step forward.
Culp underwent a grueling eight hour interview and was finally offered the job over applicants from all over the country.
Dietician to a Big 12 team wasn’t Culp’s original career plan.
After graduating from MHS in 1994, Culp began her collegiate career at Texas Tech University in Lubbock with the goal of studying physical therapy. She soon decided on a different major.
“The path I was on just didn’t fit for some reason,” Culp said. “After talking things over with my mother I decided to study nutrition and the healthy benefits of eating well, especially for athletes.”
Her mother is Joni Strum, long time home economics teacher at Muenster High School.
“When I was growing up, Mom and I would work together in the kitchen and I learned a lot from her,” Culp said. “I never was into the sewing part of home economics but I was drawn to nutrition and food.”
Transferring to San Diego State University (SDSU) in California to follow her husband and high school sweetheart Yancy who was stationed there in the U.S. Navy, Culp received her bachelor of science with distinction in food and nutrition from SDSU and completed her clinical training at the Veteran’s Administration San Diego Healthcare System. At SDSU, she was also chosen as the Outstanding California Dietetic Student of the year for the State of California.
Moving to health-conscious Austin was a natural fit for the couple and they began a private practice working with individuals on diet, body sculpting and personal training programs including boot camps.
After only one full year on the job, Culp says the coaches say they have noticed a vast improvement among the athletes including fewer muscle cramps.
“I travel with the team now and am on the sidelines working with the players throughout the year to make sure they get the most out of their training and diet as possible,” she said.
“There are powerful athletes that come to this university but when they learn what to eat and how things affect their body, they become even better,” she continued. “No matter where they go after school, they take these lessons with them and it will hopefully benefit them for the rest of their lives.”
Scholarship athletes do not receive three paid meals a day, Culp noted. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules, scholarships can only cover one meal. “We are working to get this changed but for now, the campus cafeteria for athletes is only open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many don’t have a lot of extra money so I try to help them budget their money so they don’t go hungry.”
Culp not only has a busy work schedule but also balances being a mother to two children, Lily, 6, and Scout, 2.
“With my travel schedule, it has been an adjustment for my family but I hope one day my children will look back and see that a great opportunity this has been for all of us,” she said.
Culp looks to the future but keeps an eye on the past.
“If I could send myself a message back in time I would say to work hard, trust God and never apologize for who you are,” she said. “Keep your eyes, heart and ears open and hang on for the ride.”