A student athlete, mechanical engineer and DJ walk into a bar.
But they’re all the same person: Lehigh track and field’s Mike Gooding, or “DJ Mike”, as he goes by when he’s behind the turntable.
Gooding, a junior, balances the workload of his studies and track and field well, but what sets him apart from other student athletes is his motivation to challenge himself in different disciplines.
Although he considers himself to be an introvert, Gooding said being a part of the track and field team has not only pushed him athletically but also pushed him beyond his own social boundaries. He said the track team has become his family and its unconditional support is what keeps him focused and allows him to excel.
“When I sit back and think about it, it is unbelievable,” Gooding said. “People are so supportive.”
Gooding has always had a love for music. When he was in high school, he got himself a virtual DJ and spent hours sitting at his computer learning how to mix songs.
While Gooding learned how to DJ in high school, it was the confidence he gained from competing in track events that pushed him outside of his comfort zone to become a performer.
Gooding started to build a reputation for himself around campus as “DJ Mike.” About a month and half ago, he landed himself a steady gig every Thursday night at The Broadway Social.
Broadway Social owner Greg Salomoni said Gooding came in to practice for a night and that was it. He knew Gooding was their guy.
“Mike (Gooding) was a bit of gamble, but it doesn’t matter because the more he practices the better he gets,” Salomoni said.
Gooding spends a lot of time working on his skills as a DJ. He considers himself to be a perfectionist who is constantly striving to be better. He loves receiving constructive criticism because it pushes him to grow and he is always eager to expand his knowledge and challenge himself.
“I feel like I pick up a lot of new things because I am creative,” Gooding said.
He said when he started as a DJ he felt like it was getting too easy, so he started producing.
When he is at the turntable, Gooding is thinking about how to connect with the crowd and said he’s always trying to see how songs mix together and what new music people like to here.
“I like seeing people dance, I like seeing people move, I like reacting to the crowd through my music,” Gooding said.
Gooding said his perfectionist mentality creeps into his academic studies as well. As a mechanical engineer, Gooding said he has to devote a lot of time to his work to make sure he does well in his classes. He said he has been a fan of engineering since he was a little kid.
“My true passion is to be a pilot,” Gooding said. “I’m obsessed with aviation. If you go to an airport I can name every single plane down to the type, manufacturer, and how many the airline has.”
Gooding said his plan is to get an engineering job after Lehigh, DJ on the side and make enough money so he can start the process of becoming a pilot.
Gooding is also a perfectionist when it comes to his performance on the track. As a triple jumper and a long jumper, he said he knows his foot always needs to be in just the right position.
Gooding’s coach Matt Utesch said he is a good teammate who works hard and is dedicated. Gooding gives at least three hours a day along with the full day on Saturday when there are meets. He added that Gooding stresses out more than other student athletes, but he has seen him grow in a lot of different ways.
“He is learning more and more how to manage time and be a leader,” Utesch said. “It’s been very exciting to watch him change from a guy who sort of let things happen to him into a guy who is making things happen for him.”