By ADAM FALLUJI – STAFF WRITER
Being friendly on Centre’s campus is second-nature, not just among students and faculty, but also between students and the college’s staff, including one of the most recognizable faces on campus, Tony Gause.
Most students know Gause from Cowan’s Fire and Ice line where he has become famous for his made-to-order omelets. Known across campus as the perfect start to a busy day, Gause’s omelets attracted my attention, so I met with him to discuss what lies behind their fluffy perfection.
To my surprise, it was not witchcraft that yielded the delicious creations, but hard work.
“I’ve messed up quite a few omelets, let me tell you,” Gause said. “But I guess it’s like any other thing in life, with practice you improve.”
After I asked him about his omelets however, it was Gause’s turn to be surprised. He was touched by the fact that he could do something so minor to change a student’s day for the better, as selflessness is a key principle by which he lives.
“When it’s early in the morning and you’re stressed-out and don’t want to get up, if I can do something to turn that around it means a lot to me,” Gause said. “My thing is you never know what little thing you might say [that] is going to have an impact on someone, so I talk to everyone I can in Cowan and that has a huge impact on me, too.”
Gause is known by students for his kindness and willingness to get to know them personally. He makes a constant effort to learn the names of new students and to ask them how their day is going. With that kind of an attitude, Centre College was a clear fit for him, but Gause did not always work for Sodexo.
“I came here from Charlotte, North Carolina where I worked at an O’Charley’s,” Gause said. “My mother-in-law needed help keeping her farm so I moved here, and I ended up liking Kentucky so I stayed.”
Living on a farm in Kentucky, however, proved to be a wildly different experience from living in Charlotte.
“It was an amazing culture shock for me. I’d never seen a horse up-close before and I woke up to the sound of chickens,” Gause said.
Yet Kentucky’s rural pastures and livestock weren’t the only factor in Gause’s choice to stay in Danville.
“I love the atmosphere here. It’s a small town and everyone is friendly and close. It’s not like they’re just trying to put it on or force it, that’s just how they really are,” Gause said.
“Everyone is nice, humble, sincere, and they talk to you. Not just the students, but even the President and his wife. At other universities you don’t get that unless you’re someone special or you’ve been introduced, but when I came here President Roush and his wife introduced themselves to me.”
Since Gause became a part of the Centre community, his role has expanded in becoming an Assistant Coach for Centre’s football team.
“It started in 2011 when the senior class nominated me as an honorary coach. It was an amazing moment for me and I felt really honored,” Gause said. “From there, I asked Coach Frye if I could get more involved and he was very welcoming, which is something that not a lot of coaches would do.”
Since he began working with the team, Gause has become a close friend among all the players and his fellow coaches.
“The great thing is that the football team has that same atmosphere that Centre has as a whole,” Gause said. “I immediately saw something special in the team.”
While there are a number of people for which Gause is grateful to have in his life, there are two whom he cites as his dearest inspirations.
“I’m thankful to God for my two kids,” Gause said. “They’re a gift, and they inspire me and keep me going.”
Whether you see him serving up his famous omelets in the morning or instructing on the field as a coach in the evening, Gause admits that he will always be doing so with others in mind.
“What I do, it’s never about me,” Gause said. “It’s about the players and my co-workers. God has given me that—to put others before myself—and they’re all great and [have] accepted me despite not being an alum or a faculty member. So it will always be for them.”