The Keene State College (KSC) Athletic Department sent in for Beverly & Associates to come in and evaluate the department. Over a span of two days in March, Beverly & Associates met with every constituent on the campus, said Director of Athletics and Recreation Kristene Kelly.
Beverly & Associates was led by Dr. Sharon Beverly. Sharon Beverly, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized leader with over 25 years of excellence in higher education. She owns the distinction of Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Female Administrator of the Year (Vassar College), State and Conference Coach of the Year (Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), NCAA Division I) and Assistant Coach for the United States Olympic Festival. A member of the Hall of Fame at FDU and Queens College, Beverly is often sought out for her insight, vision and strategic approach to athletics. She earned her doctoral degree in leadership for higher education from Capella University and possesses both faculty and administrative experience. Beverly has served as President for the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA), as well as chair for several NCAA committees, including the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Dr. Beverly is also a certified life coach.
Alongside with Beverly was Dr. Denisha Hendricks. Denisha L. Hendricks, Ed.D., is a recipient of the 2012 Auburn University Young Alumni Achievement Award. She holds over 16 years of distinguished experience in academics and athletics and has served on a wide range of NCAA committees, including the Division II Management Council and Academic Requirements. Hendricks also served on the Board of Directors for Division II Athletic Directors Association. Pursued for her forward thinking style and highly focused academic tactics, Hendricks is credited with presentations and publications from local to international levels, including peer reviewed journal articles, quantitative instruments and health promotion training manuals. She earned her doctoral degree in higher education administration from Auburn University.
Kelly believed that both of these women had “huge grasps and knowledge of athletics as a whole.”
All of the Keene State College (KSC) coaches had individual sessions with them, followed by a group session. Beverly & Associates also met with the business office, human resources and alumni affairs. “They met with everyone,” Kelly said.
Certain areas were able to meet with Beverly & Associates for one hour and a half, whereas others were only able to get between 15 minutes and 45 minutes. Each of the 13 head coaches wanted to be able to have their own session and the evaluation took place over a two-day span. The coaches were only allowed 15 minutes.
All of the coaches within Keene State Athletics have a secondary duty “For example,” Kelly said, “Our baseball coach [Ken Howe], he is in charge of all of our game operation for every sport. So when he’s in season, it’s hard for him to manage all of that, so one of their [the company] recommendations was basically doing ‘seasoned’ type of coaches, so it’s still taking the same amount of money that we have [but] just reorganizing it better. “
Every contract for a head coach is different, Kelly said, “We’re really trying to make a more consistent processes as it relates to all of our head coaches,” she said.
One area that needed work in athletics was its compliance. A compliance officer is an employee whose responsibilities include ensuring the company complies with its outside regulatory requirements and internal policies. “Compliance, for example, my predecessor John Ratliff, was the athletic director and did compliance,” Kelly said.
Kelly said that taking on both roles can be a lot to handle. “Once he [Ratliff] left and Kemal Atkins was the Interim Athletic Director, it left a void in compliance. Abe Osheyack was gracious enough to step in and be the Sports Information Director (SID) and do compliance, which is what he’s been doing for two years… That can’t happen.”
The restructuring for athletics is vital. “We really need to restructure. One of their recommendations [Beverly & Associates] is to hire a full-time compliance coordinator or compliance director because right now, Abe is just doing way too much. I’m not saying anything falls through the cracks, but the chances of something falling through the cracks are huge.”
Another topic of discussion brought up by Beverly & Associates was that there is no facility for the track and field team to compete at. “That was on of their recommendations from a facility standpoint. “We basically need to build a track or some sort of field house with a track within it so that our track team can compete,” Kelly said.
Not only would a field house be beneficial to the track and field team, but it would provide a play to practice and compete for all of the spring sports. “So they have a place to practice and compete, like lacrosse when it gets too cold, they’re not having to shovel the snow off and that type of thing,” Kelly said.
Senior Conor Leahy is one of the many student-athletes a part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) run by Head Softball Coach Carrah Fisk Hennessey. When it comes to the facility, Leahy said there should be fundraising for either a new facility or to update it.
“We should definitely focus on certain things in the facility,” Leahy said, “like the pool and weight room size. It really comes down to funding the project for a completely new facility for varsity athletics. I know it would cost a lot of money, but it would go a long way for the athletics department in the future.”
Leahy said he believes that athletics is doing well after just hiring a new athletic director this year. “I think right now, the athletics department is doing pretty well, especially because we did not have an athletic director until the beginning of this year. I think more communication between the coaches and players is something. Making sure the players know what’s going on behind the scenes would be helpful,” Leahy said.
Leahy doesn’t see any issues inside of the athletics department. “I think Kristene Kelly has done a tremendous job stepping in as our athletic director. She has great ideas for the athletic department. I think she has done a great job meeting and communicating with coaches and athletes. She is very supportive and her door is always open for us to go to her if we have any problems. I expect great things to come in the future for the athletic department,” Leahy said.
Shelby Iava can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org