College Searches for New Athletic Director
Issue   |   Tue, 01/27/2015 - 22:17

The college has identified five finalists in its search for a new athletic director and will be bringing those finalists to campus over the course of the next two weeks. Amherst has been searching for a new athletic director since last February, when former athletic director Suzanne Coffey left her role in order to become the college’s first-ever Chief Student Affairs Officer.

Traditionally, the athletic director works directly with the dean of faculty and the president to steer a broad program of recreational and competitive opportunities made available for the Amherst College community. The athletic director’s responsibilities include evaluating athletic department personnel, overseeing facility maintenance, balancing budgets, fundraising and recruiting student athletes.

The athletic director’s role also entails overseeing the college’s 27-sport intercollegiate athletic program, which competes regularly in the NCAA Div. III and the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

The athletic director search committee is comprised of a diverse group of professors, coaches and student athletes. Psychology Professor Catherine Sanderson is chairing the 10-person committee.

The committee includes the following members: Professor of Mineralogy and Geology and Associate Dean of the Faculty Jack Cheney, Professor of Sociology Ron Lembo, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science and Dean of the Class of 2017 Lyle McGeoch, senior coach E.J. Mills, Nicolas Pascual-Leone ’16, Cheyenne Pritchard ’16, Director of Sports Medicine Maria Rello, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Elizabeth Young, Dean of Admission Cate Zolkos and Professor of Psychology and Chair of Committee Catherine Sanderson.

With the assistance of a search firm, the committee reviewed all the submitted applications and interviewed semi-finalists before deciding to bring five final candidates to the campus.

Sanderson sent a campus-wide email last Thursday inviting members of the community to a series of open meeting swith the finalists. During these open meetings, candidates will give brief statements introducing themselves and then take questions from the audience.

The open meetings are designed so that students and faculty who are not members of the committee can give feedback and so that the candidates can learn more about the Amherst community.

“Fulfilling this position is important because of the large issues that are going on on campus right now,” said Nicolas Pascual-Leon ’16, a member of the committee. “With the student athlete vs. student non-athlete divide that is very prominent on campus, we need to fulfill this position so that we can really start to tackle these issues and create a long term goal for the college.”

As one of two student athletes on the committee, Pascual-Leone said he was “able to bring up some issues or explain issues that were going on on campus that the faculty and staff may not understand as well.”

Through the open meetings, the committee hopes to gain a greater understanding of what the campus needs in the role of an athletic director.

With feedback from the larger community of Amherst students, faculty, staff and administrators, the committee will write summary reports of each candidate/ President Biddy Martin and Dean of the Faculty Catherine Epstein will review then review these reports in early February in order to make a final decision.

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