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The Blue & Gray Press | August 15, 2018

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Sports strategy takes off

By REGINA WEISS

At the recent University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors (BOV) meeting, Ken Tyler, athletic director at UMW, presented the 26-page Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Strategic Plan, “Soar Like an Eagle,” which outlines the goals of the department for the years of 2012-2018.

The process of preparing the plan that took place from August 2012 to April 2013 and involved over 40 people from athletics and various offices on campus, according to Tyler.

“As I transitioned into the role of director of athletics last summer, it was an opportunity to look at our operations with a fresh perspective,” said Tyler. “It gives us a chance to tell the athletics story, and includes background information, department goals, and our new mission statement.”

The document outlined four departmental goals to guide the plan and developed four committees to supplement the goals.

The plan is a “fluid document,” according to Tyler, meaning it can change when necessary.

“We believe that all recommendations, large or small, will move our athletic department and the university forward,” said Tyler.

The committees include Recruiting and Retention, Student-Athlete Experience, Competitive Excellence and Resource and Alumni Development.

The plan was a compilation of the committee’s work throughout fall 2012 and “is intended to serve as an informative guide for those with a vested interest in UMW and the Athletics Department,” according to the document.

So far, the Athletics program has already started initiatives to “maximize resources and use them most effectively,” according to the document.

These initiatives included charging admission for home basketball games, initiating the Corporate Partner and Eagle Club programs, renovating the varsity weight room and hiring a part-time strength and conditioning coach to work with student athletes.

Kurt Glaeser, chair of the Recruiting and Retention committee explained that the department needed new direction for some time and is glad that first steps are being made, referring to the Recruiting and Retention committee.

“I’m looking forward to seeing UMW attract high-quality students earlier in the recruiting process and to give them offers in a timely fashion so that we stay competitive with institutions who are offering both admission and financial aid in early fall,” Glaeser said.

The plan outlines strategies, tasks and action items specific to the committee’s goals.

Many items on the lists are long term, such as creating a field house for all outdoor sports at the Battleground Complex, which is estimated in the document to cost $3,000,000.

An additional long term item is to complete renovation of the track facility, estimated to cost $1,000,000.

Many changes are scheduled for fall 2013 as well, such as developing a student-athlete handbook to be distributed to freshman and put digitally online, organizing community service projects for athletes and promoting the UMW Athletics Facebook page and Twitter account.

Changes scheduled for fall of 2014 include providing charter busses for transportation for all sports to eliminate travel by van, for which the $65,000 funds are already available.

The document also proposed the men’s and women’s rowing team change from varsity study to club status, saving $80,000.

The addition of a men’s varsity golf program was also in the plan for Fall 2014, which costs $20,000.

The Competitive Excellence Committee recommended reallocating resources for alredy existing department needs, “through reorganizing leadership at the Tennis Center, changing the status of rowing from varsity to club and eliminating selected student aide positions.”

The full Strategic Plan is available on the BOV Board Docs webpage for reference.

The BOV did not vote on the plan and Tyler stressed that the almost 70 recommendations in the document are just recommendations, not mandates.