Athletic director Lori Culler says President Sherilyn Emberton, Ed.D., wants the university to eventually hire full-time coaches for the athletic teams.
“At this point, there isn’t a set timeline, but Dr. Emberton has expressed on several occasions that this is a direction she would like for us to move as finances become available,” Culler said.
Emberton said her current goal for the university is to integrate one full-time coach onto the staff per year.
“It may not sound like much, but it’s a huge financial commitment from [the university] each year,” Emberton said. “There’s a balance. ‘We want more scholarship money’ or ‘we want more operational money for athletics,’ but I like to invest [the money] more in personnel so that we can build [involvement in student-athlete lives].”
Emberton said it will be difficult to have a coach full-time with some sports “because there are so few student athletes associated with the sport.”
“Not that it can’t be done, it just makes it harder,” she said.
Julie Hendryx, senior director of human resources and operations, defines full-time as “more than 32 hours a week” as long as it is employment “on a consistent, regular, year-round basis by the university.”
The university will have five head coaches that fit this description upon the transition of Joanne Green to full time-sports information director. Kyle Shondell, head women’s volleyball coach, will assume his position as the experiential learning coordinator.
Along with Shondell, Russ Lawson, men’s soccer coach, Culler, women’s basketball coach, Mike Frame, baseball coach, and Pete Schownir, women’s golf coach upon program’s fall launch, will fall under this definition.
A concern with this definition, however, is that full-time may not mean the full hours of employment will be devoted to coaching obligations.
“Our full-time coaches currently aren’t only coaching,” Hendryx said. “They also have another staff job as well.”
Regardless of definition, Emberton wants coaches to have more involved in student athletes’ lives.
“I think full-time coaching— irrespectively of whether or not it makes us more successful — that’s full time people involved in [student athlete’s lives, and that’s what I care about,” she said.
Culler said coaches would be able to focus more on their respective programs and “allowing coaches to be more consistently engaged in the lives of their student athletes” and providing “a more comprehensive and meaningful experience for the student-athletes.”
Emberton said she is not sure if full time coaching can be equated with excelled athletic performance.
“I think more engagement helps you be more successful, obviously, but for me, the most important thing is that those people who coach for us have more time available to be engaged with students,” Emberton said.
Hendryx said no dollar amount has been compiled to hire full-time coaches.
Emberton said there is a strategic planning process currently going on that includes the university “working on a facilities master plan and a staffing model to go with that.” She said that the university will have a better idea of a timeline for implementation within the next year.