Ever since its founding, athletics have played a crucial role at the College. The first intercollegiate baseball game was played between Williams and Amherst in 1859. Williams athletics has collected 17 of the 19 NACDA Div. III Directors’ Cups since its introduction in 1995. Moreover, hundreds of Eph alumni have pursued endeavors in the sports world following their graduation from the College. Some of them even come back to the Purple Valley to share their knowledge and experiences for the betterment of future Williams communities.
Take Justin Crowe ’03, assistant professor of political science, for instance. Within the last few weeks, he became the first former Sports Information employee to receive tenure at the College. Back in his undergraduate days at the College, Crowe was the play-by-play announcer for both men’s and women’s ice hockey. “I remember driving up to Middlebury in 2001 to call the women’s semifinal and final,” Crowe said. “That team was fun to follow all year, so it was very rewarding to be able to follow them into the playoffs.” Instead of pursuing his life-long dream of becoming the play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Red Wings – watch out Ken Daniels – Crowe chose to return to Williamstown and expound his knowledge on the future classes of Ephs.
But Crowe is not the only figure in the College community with a history tied to athletics. Rachel Rosten ’10, an admissions counselor in the Office of Admissions, covered women’s soccer, women’s basketball and men’s and women’s tennis for four years at the College. Given her strong background in sports, it is not surprising that she did not start her life after graduation in the Office of Admissions. “I worked at ESPN for my first three years after college,” Rosten said. “I definitely had my dream job at ESPN, but the lifestyle of working in sports television is incredibly demanding and I ultimately realized that it was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my career.” Rosten has always held a strong passion for education and the Williams community and ultimately chose to be a part of a very important administrative procedure for the College – its admissions process.
None of the College’s employees may have a more storied tradition in sports than the Bursar in the Controller’s Office, Mary Kate Shea ’82. In her time at the College, Shea covered the football, men’s basketball and baseball teams for Sports Information. “Back then the local newspapers didn’t have enough staff to cover Williams sports, so we got to write the game articles for The Williams Record that were also published in the Berkshire Eagle and The North Adams Transcript,” Shea said. “I used to bring my hairdryer to the press box (which was open at the time), plug it in and direct the warm air onto the hands of the student who typed the play-by-play sheets.”
Times have definitely changed. Shea’s life after graduating from the College may be the most interesting part of her story. From 1982 to ’95, she worked in the Commissioner’s office of the NBA. From 1995 to ’96, she worked for NBC Sports, handling the logistics of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games. Shea was also aboard the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
How did she end up back at Williams? Shea joined on in 2009 to direct the College’s conferences and events. Since then, she has moved to the position of Bursar, handling students’ accounts and billing.
Crowe, Rosten and Shea represent three examples of a long storied tradition of the College’s athletic history. All of them were crucial to the development of athletics at the College, but have become even more important in the development of the present Williams community.