Ongoing search for athletic director narrows pool to nine

The national search for the College’s new athletic director expects to conclude in March of this year, following the Dec. 12 application deadline for the position.

Former Athletic Director Harry Sheehy ’75 departed for Dartmouth this summer after having served as athletic director for the College since spring 2000.

Lisa Melendy, formerly the associate director of athletics, has been serving as interim athletic director.

According to Bill Wagner, chair of the athletic director search committee and dean of faculty, the pool of candidates has been narrowed to nine individuals following the end of the application process.

Due to the confidentiality necessary for the selection process, Wagner was unable to comment on whether or not any of the remaining candidates come from within the College community.

Wagner said the committee is comprised of three varsity head coaches, three faculty members, three members of the administration and three student athletes. The students were selected by College Council and the Student Advisory Committee. Other commitee members include Dean Sarah Bolton and Mike Reed, vice president for strategic planning and instituttional diversity.

Wagner said that the committee is prepared to move swiftly in its search, which began in September.

“We will meet later this month to narrow the group to four or five finalists,” Wagner said. “I expect the on-campus interviews for the finalists to take place in February.”

President Falk will make a final decision shortly after these on-campus interviews are conducted.

Gaston Kelly ’11, a student who has been serving on the committee, commented on how involved he has been in the process: “My role on the search committee has been a very rewarding one,” he said. “As a student, my voice has been taken incredibly seriously throughout the entire process.”

He added, “Every member of the committee has had to review dozens of application of very well-qualified candidates. Then we narrowed the field to semi-finalists, [who] were given Skype interviews. During those interviews, each person asked a specific question to the candidate, so the three students played a big part in interacting with the candidates.”

Kelly said many of the applicants themselves were very interactive. “On a number of occasions the candidates even asked the students questions, which definitely made us feel like a very important part of the process,” he said.

Kelly also detailed the characteristics the committee has been searching for in an athletic director. “We spent a good amount of time trying to figure out, as a committee, just what we wanted in this position,” he said. “I personally thought that the AD should be very present for the athletes … for every possible sport.”

Kelly discussed the multiple roles an athletic director must serve. “Obviously we want somebody passionate about sports and winning, but what was also pivotal was an AD that could recruit and mentor great coaches,” he said. “Coaches really are defining figures in each athlete’s experience at Williams and this program has succeeded for so long on the strength of its coaches.”

As the process comes to an end, Kelly – and the rest of the committee – is optimistic.

“I am confident that whomever the school brings in will be an amazing fit for this campus and this community,” Kelly said.

“Overall, it’s been a great learning experience,” he added, “And it has been amazing realizing that Williams really does take its students and their wants, needs [and] opinions very seriously.”

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