New Athletic Director’s plans for Colby sports’ future

The past year has been a time of change at Colby; from the inauguration of David Greene, to the meteoric rise in application numbers, to the renovation of Roberts, things at Colby are changing. The latest addition to the young administration of President Greene is Tim Wheaton, the new Harold Alfond Director of Athletics.

Wheaton spent the past 30 years at Harvard University where he was an active coach for both the women’s soccer team and the men’s lacrosse team and eventually worked his way into the administration where he served as the Associate Director of Athletics for seven years. In an interview with The Echo, Wheaton was excited for the future, saying, “I believe strongly in the role that athletics plays in the education of college kids.…Colby just feels poised for greatness…there is an energy on campus. There is a desire on the whole to make Colby better.”

Wheaton was previously in charge of club sports at Harvard and recognizes the significance of both club and intermural sports in a small campus community. He was enthusiastic when discussing the impact of club and intermural sports, saying “that club and intermural sports are an integral part of college life for those students who participate. And we have to make sure that those clubs are given the right amount of resources.” Traditionally, athletics has been underfunded at Colby; however new financial initiatives spearheaded by the Greene administration have allowed “the pie to grow.”

“I believe that funding proportions are accurate.…But I want to grow the resources, grow the pie, in order to give every team, varsity, club, or intermural, an opportunity to succeed.” Wheaton expressed his desire to support, whether that be with financial or administrative support, athletics at all levels.

Wheaton’s vision for athletics is radical and exciting for students, as his plan promises to create more of a center for the college where all students can connect with athletics and learn. Wheaton’s vision also sees Colby breaking from its traditional role in the NESCAC. Often times, teams travel to Waterville expecting to leave with a win. However, recent successes by the Mules have begun to change that stereotype. Wheaton, an experienced recruiter of both academically- and athletically-talented students, said that Colby has to position itself better to recruit the best athletes. “It is a lot about putting Colby in front of the right people. I think that we have had difficulty with that in the past.”

Recently, the college has formed a planning committee surrounding the future of the athletic center following the issuance of over $100 million in bonds. In a recent town hall meeting with Perkins + Will, architectural consultants heading up investigations concerning the athletic center, students were able to express their concerns with the current center.  Wheaton expressed his interest in creating a community center that is not only an athletic hub on campus, but also an academic hub where professors can host classes or the public can attend seminars.

Wheaton comes to Colby at an interesting time. The new administration is poised to make sweeping changes to Colby and the role of athletics in the future of Colby is one that is being openly discussed on campus.

Comments are closed.