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Collegiate Athletics Today
UD Athletic Director Eric Ziady and several University coaches addressed issues in college sports during a panel discussion on Friday, April 25 in the Bob Carpenter Center.
The event, titled “Collegiate Athletics Today,” was exclusively for Delaware Diamonds Society members at the Benefactor Level and above. The Delaware Diamonds Society is the University’s leadership annual giving society for individuals who contribute $1,000 or more during the fiscal year. The panel included women's basketball coach Tina Martin, men’s basketball coach Monté Ross, women’s lacrosse coach Kateri Linville and men’s soccer coach Ian Hennessy.
Ziady, who has served as Director of Athletics and Recreation Services at the University for the past two years, opened the discussion by describing his mission to create “one team” across UD’s athletic programs.
“It’s very important to all of us here in the department is that we don’t think of our programs as just the teams in our individual locker rooms,” Ziady said. “It’s important that the success that we have is shared and the hard work is shared throughout the department.”
Tina Martin said the “one team” spirit was especially noticeable when the women’s basketball team made it to the “Sweet 16” in the NCAA tournament last year.
“It’s so cool to be in this environment because it’s everything college athletics should be, the coaches have camaraderie, the players have camaraderie,” Martin said. “It doesn’t matter what sport it is, if you have Delaware on the front of your jersey you truly are one team, whether you’re a coach or whether you’re a player.”
Following the opening discussion, the panelists answered questions from the audience about several topics affecting college sports, including the recent talk of unionization at Northwestern.
One guest asked the panel about efforts to help UD athletes succeed off the field. Ziady responded saying he is invested in developing the career planning services available for student athletes, possibly by creating a mentorship program that connects students with alumni of UD athletic programs.
Several of the coaches said they encourage the students on their teams to take internships even if it means missing pre-season practices. Hennessy said he likes to see that his players, many of whom are engineering majors, are pursuing interests beyond soccer.
“I think giving them as broad an education, an experience as possible, not just athletic - I can’t say enough about that,” said Hennessy.
After the panel, guests gathered for a reception and dessert. Alumna Barbara Shinn said she appreciated the attitude the athletic department displays towards student athletes.
“They’re not just concerned about the athlete, they’re concerned about the whole person,” Shinn said. “It reaffirms why you’re proud that you’re an alum[nus].”
For more information on the Delaware Diamonds Society, visit www.udel.edu/delawarediamonds.
Article by Rachel Nass