Friday, June 21, 2013

Director Of Athletics Erin McDermott

TigerBlog has been part of job interviews for all kinds of positions here.

There are certain common questions and answers, most notably the "where do you see yourself in 10 years, 20 years, etc?"

The answer is always the same. The end goal is always to become an athletic director.

Not everyone reaches that far, of course. Not everyone can.

In his time at Princeton, TigerBlog has worked with seven people who have left and become an athletic director. Actually, there are six ADs and one conference commissioner.

Amy Campbell and George VanderZwaag were on the staff at Princeton when TB first started there. Campbell would become the longtime AD at Bryn Mawr before returning to work in Nassau Hall; VanderZwaag left and became the AD at Rochester, where he still is.

After that was Jim Fiore, now the AD at Stony Brook. And Jim McLaughlin, the AD at Union.

Jamie Zaninovich went from Princeton to become the commissioner of the West Coast Conference - and one of TB's favorite tweeters. Mike Cross is now the AD at Bradley in the Missouri Valley Conference.

To that group of six you can now add the name of Erin McDermott, who was announced yesterday as the Director of Athletics at the University of Chicago.

McDermott is the Deputy Athletic Director at Princeton, where she has worked for the last 13 years. There is very little that goes on in Princeton's athletic department that Erin hasn't had a role in during her tenure here.

Erin arrived at Princeton in an interim position, as an athletic administrative newbie. She leaves next month, 13 years later, as a veteran with a list of accomplishments at Princeton that could fill several pages of a resume.

Her work here took her way beyond Princeton's athletic facilities, and she spent much of her time on the other side of campus - or way off campus, working in various NCAA capacities.

The climb from an interim position to an AD at a major Division III school requires a level of ambition, but Erin never looked at working at Princeton as a prerequisite to moving up. When she looks back at her career, she will, TB supposes, think back to her time here with great fondness.

Princeton's first goal, as a department, is to provide the best possible experience for the student-athletes, and this was always No. 1A with Erin.

No. 1B? That was a strict, unflinching adherence to the highest ethical standards.

Because of that combination, TB can see why she was such a natural fit for Chicago.

As an aside, the University of Chicago is featured in the movie "Adventures in Babysitting," a rather underrated comedy starring Elisabeth Shue. During one key scene, she and the three kids for whom she is babysitting stumble onto a fraternity part on the Chicago campus, where none other than Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes are playing.

Anyway, Chicago's athletic program used to be as big-time as big-time gets. The Maroons, as they are known, were founding members of the Big 10 conference, and the school owns seven Big 10 football championships, all of which came under the direction of head coach Amos Alonzo Stagg.

One of those seven came in 1922, when Chicago was the No. 1 team in the country before hosting the team that would eventually win the national championship that year. That team? Princeton, and its famous "Team of Destiny."

Princeton would knock off Chicago 21-18 in one of the most famous games in Princeton program history, and one of the most significant in college football history, insomuch as it was the first football game ever broadcast on radio.

Chicago left the Big 10 in 1946 after making a similar institutional decision as the one that led to the formation of the Ivy League several years later, though Chicago took the more drastic step to leave Division I.

Today, Chicago has 19 varsity teams (TB asked McDermott if the first thing she would be doing would be adding men's lacrosse), as well as more than 40 club teams and a huge intramural program.

And now it will be led by Erin McDermott.

She's a natural for the school, a liberal arts college that views athletics in the context of competition combined with its educational value and life lessons that its participants learn during their time there.

The school gets someone who will bring laughter and humor to the department every day, all while she sets extremely high standards for those who will represent that department, for those who work there and those who compete there.

Princeton says goodbye to one of the most loyal, hard-working and accomplished members of its campus.

TB wishes her the best.

He has no doubt she'll be an overwhelming success.

No comments: