This week, Alma College hosted three all-campus presentations on different potential candidates to fill the position of athletic director. The athletic director plays an important role on campus, so choosing the best candidate is a major responsibility.
“The athletic director is the spokesperson for the athletic department so in terms of our needs or the direction that we’re gonna take as a whole group is their responsibility,” said Matthew Chovanec, head coach of track and field and cross country.
The candidates for athletic director must demonstrate the abilities required to fill such a vital role in the athletic department. Athletic directors oversee many facets of the athletic program and the wider campus as well.
“We have goals for what we want to do in the field and in the sports we’re involved with,” said Chovanec. “We want to have goals for recruitment, and we want to have goals for retention. They have to be able to bring all those things together and help with getting us the resources necessary for us to be successful in that way.”
In addition to managing the athletic department, the athletic director also fosters meaningful relationships with student athletes. Many students know the athletic director personally and perhaps even look up to them.
“By overseeing and directing so many programs, almost every person on campus builds some level of friendship with the athletic director. He or she serves as a role model, mentor and friend for many student athletes,” said Steven Sowa (‘20).
Along with the relationships that an athletic director creates with student athletes, the athletic director also influences the type of environment a team hosts for its members. Strong bonds among team members create an infectious positivity that helps teams reach their goals.
“I can say that all the other coaches and faculty have created an excellent support system for whoever comes in to succeed,” said Sowa. “My four years here have shown a directed change in all sports teams to become a more family-like environment. I expect the new athletic director to continue this effort and contribute more ideas to connect student athletes across all teams.” The three athletic director candidates hail from very different backgrounds. Each of them brings different ideas for changes they would like to make among the athletic programs based on where they believe resources should be allocated in the future.
“I think they do a lot of evaluating what we already have in place and what we need to be successful going forward. I think each candidate has brought some strengths into it where they see some certain needs in certain places,” said Chovanec.
After the three athletic director candidate presentations ended, a hiring committee now must decide which candidate proves best-suited for the position. This decision may be quite difficult to make, as all of the candidates bring the potential for new, unique changes to the athletic department and the wider campus environment as a whole.
“I’ve enjoyed getting to know the people there and I think each one of them gave us a perspective of what the role of athletics is in college. Hopefully we will hire the best person for the job and continue to move forward. It’s exciting to say the least,” said Chovanec.
Regardless of who earns the position as the new athletic director, we can all look forward to welcoming this fresh face here on campus.