From the Desk of Athletic Director Glenn Hofmann
This is the fifth edition of "From the AD's Desk" for 2010-11
If you are a Merrimack student, alumnus, fan, faculty or staff member you couldn't help but feel good after the last four days. I can honestly tell you from a professional standpoint I have never felt more energized and proud than I did come late Sunday afternoon when I returned to my North Andover home. Yes it was a whirlwind couple of days filled with meetings and events, but no matter where I went there was a common vision and purpose all aimed at improving Merrimack as a college and the experience for our students. There is a feeling of comraderie and working together that is starting to become pretty unique and if you are reading this I hope you will ultimately feel as excited as I am.
My "weekend" started on Thursday and Friday with Board of Trustee meetings. During these meetings we spent a lot of time discussing not only the future of Merrimack, but also how we would accomplish the goals that have been set forth. What was so exciting to me was the chemistry that has developed between board members, department heads and the individual College Deans. Everyone is really working together for the common goals. It truly feels like a team working together, which as an Athletics Director of course is very exciting!
The Board meetings concluded Friday and then it was on to a busy sports weekend. Hockey started the weekend off with a win over Vermont. Prior to the game we held a reception for our leadership donors of the Lawler renovations. I’ve spoken numerous times about the importance of getting that project completed and it was nice to be able to recognize those people who had the confidence and faith in the project and who were so instrumental in helping us complete the renovations. Down in Boston our women's indoor track team had more people qualify for the Northeast-10 Championships, something our men also did on Saturday. Saturday was a long day for our administrative and student staffs as we hosted a pair of basketball games with both the men and women earning wins over New Haven.
I had said for weeks to the staff that our Saturday night hockey game against Vermont on NESN was an extremely important one for the College as a whole. Playing on NESN represented an opportunity for us to show off through a sporting event the energy and passion of Merrimack College. Our student body did not disappoint as nearly 700 showed up all dressed in gold shirts. It was the most enthusiastic student section I have seen since I arrived at Merrimack two years ago. The game sold out, our 14th ranked hockey team seemed to thrive off the excitement winning 7-1. Most importantly a regional New England audience was able to see first-hand how much fun the student experience can be at Merrimack. Following the game John Donovan ’78, who was instrumental in the initial renovations of Lawler spoke to the team about the pride of having Merrimack on the front of your jersey. It was quite an emotional scene.
And that excitement and emotion was present again on Sunday throughout campus and in the Volpe Gym. Our new Vice President of Enrollment Kristin Greene has continually talked about customer service being a priority as we recruit potential students to Merrimack. It's also a theme we talk about repeatedly in athletics. One of Kristin's new initiatives was a comprehensive "Accepted Students Day" in which students and their families visit campus, eat in the dining hall, take part in classes with professors and have a chance to interact with our student body. Over 1,000 people attended Sunday's event and if there was one thing I kept hearing over and over again it was how friendly a campus Merrimack is.
Sunday was the culmination of a College embracing its vision, academic departments working with the departments of campus life, admissions and athletics all for the common goal of making Merrimack a better place.
Throughout the last couple of months our hockey team has had numerous stories written in the Boston Globe and Saturday night's NESN broadcast reinforced some of the excitement the hockey team has provided. Our boxes and suites at hockey games are packed every night not only with business partners but also with alumni and now faculty members, many of whom had never before been to the Blue Line Club let alone a hockey game.
After Saturday night's win I received a text message from Pat Sendall, Chair of the Faculty Senate thanking me for letting her be involved in the athletic program. Pat is one of the most popular professors our student-athletes have. I honestly appreciated Pat's message and it wasn't unlike e-mails I received from several other faculty and administrators throughout campus. But what's most important for me as a Director of Athletics is that we as an athletic department are being welcomed by everyone else on campus. While it is true that Athletics in many ways can serve as the front-porch to a College, the most successful athletic departments and Colleges are those that work together. That clearly is happening now at Merrimack and the winners because of this cooperation and shared vision are our alumni and current students. And that's the way it should be!!!