An Interview with Duke University Softball Coach on Durham and the University
Original Content by Carl Johnson
I interviewed Nicole Schaffer, local Durham resident and assistant coach to the Duke University Blue Devils softball program, to put together an article to connect how the University and city of Durham grow together. This is just one of the many ways Durham is more than just a place to live, but a place to learn, grow, and be a part of.
Duke University has had a presence in Durham North Carolina since the move of Trinity College (it’s former name) to the city in 1892 (Duke University: A Brief Narrative History | Duke University Libraries). As multiple renovations and campus additions took place year after year to accommodate the school's growth, the population and popularity of Durham grew and modernized with it. The success of Duke and Durham are interchangeable, as the area as a whole attracts people from all over the World for both education, work, and play.
Photo Caption: Duke University West Campus | Photo Credit: Duke Photography
A major part of Duke’s success, as well as a much supported way of entertainment for the city, is Duke Athletics. With 27 varsity sports and 17 national championships, Duke Athletics is one of the top in the country (Duke Athletics Quick Facts - Duke University (goduke.com). Duke blue and white reign all over Durham and the surrounding area and have loyal fans around the world.
For this article on Duke University and the City of Durham, I interviewed Nicole Schaffer from Duke’s successful D1 softball program. Nicole has been a Blue Devil’s assistant coach since 2020 after a successful collegiate softball career herself. For two consecutive years Duke softball has made it into the Super Regionals of the NCAA tournament. Duke even hosted the 2023 Super Regional for the first time ever in Durham. Things are looking great for the Blue Devils in 2024 as they return to their season with a strong roaster and coaching staff behind them. See my Q&A with Nicole below for an interesting POV on Duke and Durham and a peek at what draws people to Durham.
Photo Caption: Nicole Schaffer - pictured third blue shirt in from the left (sunglasses!)
Photo Credit: goduke.com
What industry do you currency work in and what is your role at Duke?
My full-time job is within Medical Devices as a manager of Regulatory Affairs where I utilize both of my degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Engineering management. I work for Medline Industries within the respiratory and anesthesia divisions. With Duke softball, I work primarily with the pitchers, as well with the technology, statistics and metrics within the team.
As a new resident, what drew you to the Durham area?
When we moved to Durham in 2019, it was originally a job that brought us to the area and we quickly fell in love with all the Triangle has to offer. We are close to two major cities of Durham and Raleigh and just a quick drive to the coastal beaches or the mountains of western Carolina. The weather is great year-round, the activities are endless, and the area is only continuing to grow! It’s been the perfect location for us as a very active family!
How do you see the city and the university benefiting each other?
Duke is actively engaged with its neighbors throughout the city of Durham to build and maintain a strong community. There are many efforts, including the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership (https://community.duke.edu/program/duke-durham-neighborhood-partnership/), where Duke is working with local communities to improve the quality of life and connect students with the community. Duke also supports opportunities for students and staff to perform community service within Durham and the surrounding areas.
Do you use Duke's location in Durham as a recruiting tool?
I think the Duke education, amazing campus, history of success and the athletics sell themselves [from an athletic standpoint]. The city of Durham and all that it has to offer is certainly nice to market during the recruiting process [from an overall draw to the area].
Do the people of Durham give strong support to Duke sports?
The people of the Triangle are very loyal to ‘their’ team whether it’s NC State, UNC, Duke or any of the other local collegiate teams, and the folks of Durham certainly show their support and loyalty to Duke. There’s very few occasions where you walk into a store and you do not see folks not sporting their favorite teams’ hat or shirt. Durham shows high support for Duke and all of their athletics.
What is your favorite thing to do in Durham?
Experience all of the coffee shops and breweries that Durham has to offer! We have been here for four years and we’re still constantly finding new hidden gems in the area.
As the city of Durham continues to become a tech industry leader and with a university such as Duke, feeding the education and experience employee need, the future of both city and school only will continue to grow and succeed. The growth is evident as new developments are constantly being built all over the city, both commercial and residential.
CLICK HERE if you would like to learn more about the city of Durham and see how we at Carl Johnson Real Estate can help you exceed your real estate goals in the Triangle area!