October 20–22, 2016
Committee Chair Martha Gerhan ’83 welcomed all councilors and noted that the committee has a challenge in finding out how to bring value to Athletics given the existence of the Athletics Advisory Board and many Friends groups.
Committee Vice Chair Mark Heller ’70 provided an update on the “Dartmouth on the Road” subcommittee, which seeks to engage alumni when teams compete outside Hanover. Athletics and Alumni Relations meets quarterly to go over competitions – particularly those outside New England and the Ivy League - and shares information with relevant clubs should the club wish to promote the competition and organize a fan event. Committee members and interested alumni should sign up with dartmouthsports.com to receive team information. The committee seeks to increase publicity for “On the Road” competitions going forward.
Gerhan provided an update on the Dartmouth Peak Performance (DP2) committee, which seeks to support alumni connections and support for the DP2 program. The committee hosted lunch the day before with six upper class student athletes. Key themes: 1) the students valued time with alumni to hear their stories and learn how to transition from being a student to a professional, but they also feel intimidated contacting alumni; 2) the students feel a disconnect between how they see themselves and how the world sees them; 3) and how athletes bring in extra set of skills, beyond those of non-athlete students, to the table. Ali Hart, assistant director for DP2, updated the committee on the Dartmouth Athletic Career Mentor Network, which enables students to find alumni who played their sport and connect around shared athletic experience.
Harry Sheehy ’55a, director of athletics and recreation, and Bob Ceplikas ’78, deputy director of athletics, provided updates. 2015-16 highlights included Ivy titles in football, men’s soccer, women’s rugby, and equestrian; scoring a 79 in the Directors’ cup; and a robust club sport program. 16 head coach hires over the past four years have strengthened the coaching team. Athletics continues to look at how to better recruit ethnically diverse coaching staff and student athletes, particularly as student athletes constitute one fifth of the student body. Improvement in facilities continue: 1) the Pavilion expansion (locker rooms, equipment room, sports medicine, etc.) breaks ground in November 2016 (completion summer ’17); 2) resurfacing of Memorial Field is complete; and 3) a new ‘smart court’ in Boss Tennis center has been installed. Wearers of the Green will induct 16 varsity athletes this year. Club sports and Masters honorees will be inducted in 2017.
A new-hire coaches panel of David McLaughlin (basketball), Danielle Spencer (women’s lacrosse), and Jamie Holder (swimming & diving) addressed the committee. All were attracted to Dartmouth by the people they met, the opportunity for success, location, academic culture, and how DP2 gives Dartmouth a competitive advantage. The coaches discussed recruiting and how they use DP2, lead by example, and use a set of core values to nurture character in their student athletes.
The meeting closed with a general discussion on how the committee can assist Athletics as a voice to the entire alumni population and recruitment-related challenges.