Robinson Gets Nod to be Hawks AD
NEW PALTZ -- After serving eight months as the interim athletic director, SUNY New Paltz announced that Stuart Robinson will fill the position vacated by Jim Zalacca in October.
Robinson was seen as a strong contender for the position all along, however the university did conduct an internal search. "We were convinced Stuart's leadership and management style were the best fit for us," said Barbara Geider, vice president for student affairs.
Robinson joined New Paltz as the men's soccer coach in 1992. He has been the associate athletic director since 1997 and is an adjunct English professor. When he was named as the interim director, he made it clear he would not be a "house sitter."
"I think there are a lot of little things we can do on the short term to make the staff feel good about coming to work," he said in September. Since then he has reorganized the athletic department administration in an effort to better support coaches and more evenly share the administrative tasks of the department.
Along with those technical changes, he began stressing that athletics staff members are teachers, "based on the variety of lessons and skills they pass on to students." Robinson says these changes are designed to create an atmosphere in which the athletics staff is seen as an integral part of the overall campus environment: "They should be viewed the same as someone who teaches in the classroom."
Creating this new attitude within the athletic department will allow the university to better showcase itself as a top choice for Division III athletes. "The student attitude is changing," says Robinson. "We have a solid core of students who are serious about their sport. Now we need depth."
As the university's admissions standards continue to rise, Robinson says he has seen the quality of the student-athlete rise, also. "We are attracting a more serious student-athlete, who is committed to working hard on the field, court, track and in the pool."
Comments like that helped Robinson land the director's position, according to Geider. "In the last eight months he has facilitated the athletic department's functioning as one team working for the success of 20 teams. The coaches, trainers and assistants are all working together to give our student-athletes a great experience."
While New Paltz' admissions standards are attracting serious student-athletes, plans for the new performance gym now being designed is another top priority for Robinson. With two basketball courts, indoor fitness track, modern fitness and activity rooms and a climbing wall, the gym will be a positive draw for all students, whether they are competitive athletes or play sports for recreation and wellness.
However, as much as the gym is needed, Robinson again emphasized the importance of attitude: "I grew up in Harlem. I learned to play a lot of sports on concrete that are normally played on grass. The new facilities will definitely be a boon to our athletic programs, but we cannot be na¿ve enough to believe it will address all our needs."
With Robinson's appointment, three other interim assignments will become permanent: Brian Williams, the men's and women's swimming coach and aquatic director, will also be the assistant director of athletics for compliance; Colleen Bruley, the women's administrator and women's soccer coach, will also be the assistant athletic director for student support services; and Joe Kremer will take a one-year leave from his men's basketball coaching position to be the assistant athletic director for external affairs and development.
Note to editors: A photo of Stuart Robinson can be downloaded from the SUNY New Paltz web site at http://hawk.newpaltz.edu/news/images/robinson.html
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.