Hugo the Hawk: Not Just Your Average Joe

Fourth-year forward Joe Mausler brings both charm and enthusiasm to the entire New Paltz athletic community. Photo courtesy of sports information.

If you don’t know Joe Mausler, do you really go to New Paltz? It’s no secret that Mausler is a household name on this campus, but most people probably aren’t aware of just how much he contributes to the New Paltz men’s soccer program and the rest of the athletic community.

Mausler’s senior soccer season is drawing to a close and it has been his most successful yet. Thus far, he has played in every game except for one and even recorded two starts against Cobleskill on Sept. 9 and Geneseo on Sept. 30. Additionally, he scored his first career goal in his first career start against Cobleskill.

Mausler didn’t always see these kinds of minutes; during his freshman and sophomore seasons, he only appeared in five and three games respectively. His sophomore year, his season-high for playing time was four minutes; he played a total of 48 minutes his entire freshman year. On Sept. 10 of this year, he played a career-high 54 minutes against Utica College; Mausler played more in one game this season than he did his entire first season.

“Joe grew tremendously during his time as a Hawk,” said former captain Joe Hughes. “The beginning is always tough for new athletes adjusting to the college game but instead of getting down on himself, he became better and showed a great work ethic.”

Mausler is more than X’s and O’s to the Hawks. According to head coach Kyle Clancy, Mausler can always be depended on to start up a “there’s only one SUNY New Paltz” chant and give a great locker room talk.

Hughes and second-year defender James Hennessey both agree that Mausler is one of the best motivators and teammates that they’ve ever had the pleasure to play with.

“I’m going to miss the smile and excitement Joe always has,” Hennessey said. “Whether it’s on the field in the trainers room or just hanging out, Joe always has a smile on his face and is the most energetic guy around. He makes it so easy for guys to be comfortable and loosen up with his energy and I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to replace that.”

It’s only fitting that the role of Hugo the Hawk go to such a natural hype-man like Mausler. It was, after all, fate that thrust the responsibility of being the Hawk into Mausler’s hands. Well, fate and Strength and Conditioning Coach Gary Gall.

During the 2015 women’s volleyball SUNYAC championship match hosted by New Paltz, the original Hugo neglected to make an appearance that day. Gall turned to our main man Mausler and asked to step into the big blue costume that we all know and love from volleyball and basketball games and has been doing it ever since.

“You don’t think people are going to be hyped to see Hugo but then they are,” Mausler said. “We have a mascot and this is our thing; it’s cool to be representing what you love.”

This winter will be Mausler’s final flight as Hugo, and he leaves whoever fills his shoes with the following advice.

“Don’t be shy, do things out of the ordinary,” he said. “If something feels uncomfortable to you, do it because no one knows who the hell you are, so you might as well just follow through with it and just get the crowd rowdy. Get ‘em goin.’”

Clancy describes Mausler as not only a great athlete and teammate, but a great person and student as well.

“You want to bring in good people and also graduate good people who are going to go on to be successful,” Clancy said. “I think based on the internships he’s had, how good he is at what he does in the digital media field, I think he’s going to go on to achieve a lot of success, so we’ll miss him.”

Mausler’s work ethic drives everything that he does. Whether it’s on the field or in the gym, you can always count on him to be dialed in.

“He’s 100 percent during every single practice and every single drill, so that’s something you’re going to miss as a coach, guys who don’t take breaks, don’t take plays off,” Clancy said. “Whether he puts in 50 minutes a game or 20 minutes a game, he’s just very supportive as a teammate and he just tries to make the most out of his minutes. I definitely have a lot of respect for him.”

Mausler’s work ethic was certainly tested during his junior year when he suffered a devastating ACL injury. The average recovery time for an ACL tear is seven to nine months, but Mausler did not allow this to slow him down. As soon as he was able to, he was constantly working to get his touch back and his fitness up to speed.

“Joe taught me how to push myself in everything I do,” Hennessey said. “Coming off an ACL is hard both physically and mentally but Joe never complained about it or let it phase him. The intensity and edge he always has on the field is something that I hope to always remember and integrate into my game to improve as a player.”

Clancy agreed that Mausler never stopped being a part of the team during his injured season.

“We’re a class of six seniors and we need each of those guys to have an impact,” said Clancy. “I think that it was good that during that missed season he found a way to be involved with the team and have an impact both on and off the field. Whether he’s cheering guys on from the sidelines or if he’s the guy on the field working his butt off.”

Mausler describes New Paltz as his home away from home and said that he experiences homesickness both when he is away from his home in Hauppauge, New York, and over the summer and intercession when he’s not at school. As the end of college soccer draws near for Mausler, he designates his goal against Cobleskill as his favorite soccer memory and said that it will be weird this summer not preparing to come in for preseason in August with his day-one best friends and embracing what it means to be a Hawk.

“You work hard every day and you do everything you can for the person next to you on the field; you’re always working for your other teammates, your other Hawks,” he said. “Like we say every day, it’s a great day to be a Hawk. You just go out, play your best and give it all you got.”

Mausler advises any and all incoming players to get ready; be prepared to work hard, listen to your teammates and still try to be leader even if you’re only a freshman. Hughes said that he hopes the younger players look at Mausler and will try to match his intensity and love for the game.

“I miss being his teammate and going to practice with him because he was one of the funniest and more entertaining guys I have ever met,” Hughes said. “He can put a smile on anyone’s face.”

There’s only one Joe Mausler, and from his dance moves in the gym to his runs down the field, he will be missed in every role that he plays.

“He’s a fantastic dancer, everybody knows that,” Clancy said. “I think that anybody who takes on Hugo next, they’re definitely going to have some big shoes to fill because Joe is a good hype guy and he’s got some good moves so I think they’re going to be tough tasked having to replace him.”