When it was announced that Jack Kvancz would be retiring from his position as Athletic Director, most people would assume that it is a bad thing for the Athletic Department to lose such an experienced leader. I, however, see this as a positive move, one that will allow GW’s athletic program to receive the refresh it so badly needs.GW’s sports teams have gone through a torrid time this season, with particular low points being the Women’s Basketball team’s record breaking loss to Temple, and the Men’s Soccer team going through an 8 game losing streak, losing 10 games without even scoring.
The truth is, the top 6 people in the department have been here for an average of 15 years, and 7 of the Varsity coaches have been here for over 10 years. You have to wonder where the new ideas are coming from, especially when there is very little communication between the people who run the department, and those who are a part of it. I spoke to a captain of one of our Varsity sports, and they said that despite being a Senior, they had only met Kvancz a handful of times. I find it amazing that the Athletic Director would not spend more time with the athletes, as they are likely to have valuable feedback on how things can be changed for the better.
I recently published an article on a similar topic – on whether GW is living up to its standing as a Division 1 School. In that article, I questioned why Karl Hobbs was still employed by the University and I still wonder that now. However, firing Hobbs would not have brought about big changes, as the department is run by people who started when we were still in Kindergarten. Experience is valuable, but the right mix of fresh ideas and experience is what is key, and hopefully that is what is going to happen in the coming months. Brian Hamluk has come in recently, and is starting to make a variety of positive changes, which one coach said to me was ‘the start of an exciting movement’.
The other news that has been brought to the attention of fans of GW Athletics, is that GW Alum and New York Yankees President Randy Levine will be heading up a committee which will include an ‘evaluation of athletics management, sponsorships, fundraising and facilities and infrastructure. The strategic plan also will review the student-athlete experience’. This is fantastic news, and will allow the Athletics program to ride the wave of momentum created by the Smith Center renovations. Levine runs one of the world’s largest athletic ventures, matched only in world wide notoriety by Manchester United, and is absolutely the best person GW could have brought in for this venture.
I hope whoever the next Athletic Director is, that he or she has the right personality for the job. GW needs someone to enthuse the passive students that attend this school, and excite them the way they were when we were winning. They need to remove this attitude of elitism that exists currently, and become a popular and well known figure on campus, one that meets with students and athletes regularly. They need to invest money wisely – instead of having all the frills to try entertain the crowd, invest that money directly into the program, whether to Basketball or too a less well funded sport. The problem with GW sports currently, is that the students don’t have a connection to the program. In a years time, you shouldn’t be able to spot a single person with a Georgetown Hoodie or a GMU water bottle – it should all be people who are proud of their team. And with the right director, this is all possible.
The next 6 months are make or break for GW Athletics. They have some big choices coming up, not only the new AD, but amongst other things: whether or not to extend Hobbs’s contract. To those making the next AD decision I beg of you: Try something new. Go with a younger AD, someone who is super enthusiastic, and who wants to get GW’s program back to where it belongs – not someone who is leaving a program after 25 years, who doesn’t remember what it’s like to be a student. Please. Make the right choice.