By Gabriella Tetelman
The Athletic Department has been busy this year taking student-athlete opinions into consideration when hiring new coaches for men’s basketball, women’s soccer, women’s lacrosse and swimming.
The ultimate decision between candidates comes from Athletic Director Betsy Mitchell, but Dean of Students Joe DiChristina also takes part in the hiring process. This comes from the AD’s guiding philosophy that coaches work with students to make them better athletes and to help them grow as students and people.
To make sure that the potential coach is a genuine addition to Allegheny, Mitchell makes sure to talk to other coaches, students, and administrators. This collaborative effort selects the best coach for both the needs of the specific sport and Allegheny community.
“They must have professional maturity, a strong sports background and the desire to be a team player,” said Mitchell.
The opinions of student athletes are important as well, but are not necessarily the deciding factors. Mitchell finds that student athlete input can benefit the process of developing the applicant pool.
Men’s head basketball coach Jim Driggs, who was hired in April, spoke highly of having students involved in his interview process.
“Not only did they ask good questions, but they also provided good feedback and had a vested interest in the hiring process,” said Driggs.
The Athletic Department, like Allegheny as a whole, is its own community and family. Finding a good match for the department is a top priority, and Driggs expressed the feeling that he fits right in.
“People go out of their way to make me feel welcome,” Driggs said.
Coaches not only shape their players’ skills, they also help them develop outside the realm of sports, so adjusting to a coaching change can be a tough process for student-athletes.
Kellee Cribby, ’14, was in a unique position following the resignation of former head lacrosse coach Paula Habel this fall. She was involved in hiring Stephanie Janice for the job, but did not feel like she knew the team well enough to make the best decision.
“As a freshman going through the interview process it was more of a watch-and-learn experience,” she said. “I felt that the upper-classmen knew what our team was looking for.”
So far, only assistant soccer coach Linda Schirmeister has made a visible impact. The success of the women’s soccer team this past season can be greatly attributed to both the physical and psychological techniques the assistant coach taught to her players.
Driggs has been working with a young squad to build a deep and balanced team in the early parts of the men’s basketball season. The team is 3-3 and has featured leadership from Devon Mcleod, ’13, and solid bench play from its younger players.
In the pool, head swimming and diving coach Emily Detwiler has both teams off to winning records as they head to the Wooster Invitational this weekend.