Engineering a new path
Class of 2013 Success Stories
Former Mr. Football balances athletics, academics
By Julie Carle
Ohio's Mr. Football of 2007 is graduating from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor's degree in engineering technology and enough good memories and great friends to last a lifetime.
Bart Tanski, who came to BGSU from Mentor, Ohio, as quarterback of a high school football team that played in back-to-back state championship games, had dreams of playing for a Division I football team. He also wanted to use his math and science skills toward earning a degree. "Bowling Green offered me the best of both worlds," Tanski said.
Though he earned the title of Mr. Football, he didn't have many Division I schools vying for him to play, he recalled. "BG was the only team offering much," he said. "I wanted to prove I could make it."
He started as a walk-on player at BGSU, worked hard, stuck with it and ended his football career earning, not only a scholarship, but also the title of team captain.
"I knew before I came to BGSU that I was interested in engineering; once I visited and met with an advisor, I realized that BGSU would be a good fit."
And a good fit it was. He automatically was welcomed into the 100-member football family, which provided a stable and enduring structure to his college life. He also had the chance to get to know colleagues in the engineering technology program, who took many of the same classes and worked hard on many of the hands-on class projects. However, his collegiate career was not without obstacles, Tanski admitted.
"Bowling Green offered me the best of both worlds""I needed to stay in the Bowling Green area over the summer because of football," he explained. "It would have been easier to get internships if I could have gone home because I have an uncle who works for ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) and a friend's dad who works at Charter Steel."
Instead, he had to be a little more creative in completing the internship requirement. The first internship required the most ingenuity and the involvement of one of his professors, Dr. Todd Waggoner, and graduate assistant Zhao Yang. He spent the summer doing an independent study redesigning a more environmentally friendly turbocharger. Tanski, who was a SETGO (Science, Engineering, Technology Gateway Ohio) Summer Scholar, and Yang started out in the computer lab where they researched the size of the turbocharger and the type of modifications they wanted to create. Using computer software, they designed the housing, turbocharger compressor and turbine before sending the design to an outside company to create a rapid prototype. The research was presented during the SETGO Roundup.
The two other internships were more traditional, but very beneficial. He worked at Dana Corp. in Maumee testing axles for commercial vehicles and writing reports, and most recently he worked for GKN Driveline on quality control, fixing machines and ordering parts. Both internships had him involved in the automobile industry, which has strong ties in northwest Ohio.
His post-graduation plans have already started. He has opted to continue his education, seeking a master's in business administration, and to help coach football at University of Findlay for two years.
"I am glad to have the engineering knowledge, and I thought since everything's a business, an MBA would be a good direction to go," Tanski said. "And this way I can see if coaching is something I want to do."
He got a taste of coaching last fall after he broke his collarbone and dislocated his shoulder. He was not able to play, and instead was on the sidelines as an assistant receivers coach.
"After demonstrating my work ethic and earning my teammates' respect to be named a captain, and then helping coach on the sidelines, I felt like I was helping them become better players and that they felt like they could come to me," Tanski said. "Something just struck a chord."
Now, he will combine the skills he learned on the football field and the knowledge he acquired in engineering technology to assess and analyze the mechanics of a football team as he tries his skills as a coach.