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Position Detail - Director of Athletics & Chair of Physical Education

Director of Athletics & Chair of Physical Education

Apply now Job no: 492956
Work type: Staff Full-time
Location: South Hadley, MA
Categories: Physical Education/Athletics

Position Type: Staff Full-time

Hours per week: 37.5   

Weeks per year: 52

Work Schedule: College business hours are Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm. The Athletic Director will work a week schedule with nights and weekend work hours as needed, the Athletic Director will at times work a shifted schedule 

Department Summary & Job Purpose:

Mount Holyoke College seeks candidates for the Director of Athletics and Chair of Physical Education role who are motivated by working in a highly student-centered environment where a deep and abiding care for students is a paramount value. The new Director will lead a department of talented coaches and staff who are committed to NCAA Division III athletics and the scholar- athlete model within the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference.

About Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke is a world-renowned women’s college that is gender diverse. Since 1837, it has built and fortified a spirited, engaged and intellectually adventurous community, taught by an innovative faculty dedicated to their students and passionate about their disciplines. The first of the Seven Sisters Colleges, Mount Holyoke prepares students with the skills necessary to become confident leaders in a rapidly changing world. Mount Holyoke is ranked consistently as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and its students go on to make a difference across a wide variety of professional and civic endeavors.

Mount Holyoke has a rich tradition of enrolling an unusually diverse student body. Among its enrollment of 2,200 students, 24% identify as domestic students of color and 25% are international students, making Mount Holyoke among the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the United States. Each year, students typically hail from 45 states and 84 countries. Approximately 15% of students represent the first generation in their families to attend college.

The College’s current strategic plan was developed in 2016 and is scheduled to be accomplished by 2023. To date, many of the objectives have been completed, and of particular note for employees have been critical achievements as the result of establishing the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Division, investing in employee development and training, and navigating a complex employee relations and staffing environment as the result of the pandemic.

About the Department of Physical Education and Athletics

Mount Holyoke offers 13 varsity sports programs and in collaboration with the Office of Student Involvement, the department also supports 6 competitive club sports teams. The College is dedicated to the NCAA Division III philosophy of making athletics an integral part of the educational experience and creating an opportunity for student-athletes to become well-rounded individuals and an emphasis on academic excellence.

The Department of Physical Education and Athletics Strategic Plan 2019-2025 incorporates a collaborative spirit and promotes cross-departmental engagement to broaden the impact of athletics on and off campus. The plan outlines priorities for the Department that both renew and reimagine campus commitments to a competitive Division III athletics program focusing on the student-athlete experience, a quality physical education program, and a broad-based recreation program integrating the College’s “Be Well’ program that is guided by four components: Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, Healthy Community, and Healthy Life.

The mission of the Department is to challenge and empower individuals through intercollegiate athletics, physical education and physical activity while developing and fostering a lifetime commitment to wellness. The Department is committed to preparing students for purposeful engagement in the world through participation in physical activity. The physical education program is committed to providing quality instruction in a wide range of activities. Participation allows each student to develop a basic proficiency in a lifetime sport or physical activity and understand the components of fitness and how they relate to wellness. The Department is committed to providing and maintaining facilities and programming that support the recreational and fitness needs of the Mount Holyoke community.

Core Job Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Reporting to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, the Director will lead a comprehensive athletics program that includes 9 full-time administrative staff members (including the Equestrian Center), 11 head coaches (all full-time, 25% PE responsibilities), and 23 assistant coaches (2 full-time). Additionally, the Equestrian Center includes 4 part-time staff members, 5-8 drop-in instructors, 3-5 equestrian instructors, and 7 stable assistants. The Director will manage a budget of over 3 million dollars. 
  • This is a unique opportunity for a high-energy person to lead a strong staff known for its commitment to improving the student-athlete experience by fostering high standards of integrity, athletic excellence, and academic success. The Division of Student Life is looking for a partner to join the department who recognizes the discipline, focus, and hard work required to help students succeed; embraces the challenges that lie ahead; and thrives on providing leadership around diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • As the Chair of Physical Education, the Director oversees the curriculum, scheduling, enrollment, and tracking of Mount Holyoke’s physical education program which is a graduation requirement for all students. The physical education curriculum offers a variety of programs and courses reflecting the institutional commitment to every student's physical, social, mental, and environmental well-being. A holistic approach to curriculum development entails collaboration with offices and departments across campus. 

Qualifications: Candidates for the position must bring a minimum of seven years of progressive leadership experience in collegiate athletics administration, recreation, or a closely related field and a Master’s or advanced degree is required. Collegiate coaching experience is strongly preferred.

The successful candidate will also possess:

  • Proven leadership and management skills, particularly as they relate to establishing and communicating priorities, advancing innovative practices, building strategic partnerships, and solving problems.
  • A collaborative management approach with relationship-building skills, experience building a team, and leading and/or supporting the work of others.
  • Significant experience in recruiting, hiring, evaluating, and professionally developing coaches and staff members.
  • The ability to partner with the Development Office to network and develop relationships with alums, student-athletes, and their families to identify and cultivate development opportunities for the College and the athletics program.
  • Substantial experience in developing and implementing athletics department budgets and a track record of success in working with all financial aspects and management of athletics related facilities and services.
  • Demonstrated and successful experience with recruitment, retention, and holistic development of student-athletes.
  • Highly effective written and oral communication skills with the ability to deliver information in a concise, and articulate manner to multiple stakeholder groups.
  • A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and a high degree of cultural competence and respect for a wide range of identities and experiences. Continue to enhance a caring and supportive culture within the department.
  • Knowledge of and ability to implement and enforce College, NCAA and NEWMAC rules and regulations.
  • Skilled in leading change and building a compelling case for what is needed.
  • Reputation as an outstanding communicator and an inclusive decision-maker who is successful in being transparent and developing productive working relationships with staff and coaches.

Essential attributes include:

High standards of integrity: The Director will be a role model and mentor for coaches, staff, and student athletes, with the requisite background to effectively serve these roles. The Director will be able to guide the department in a fashion consistent with the college’s commitment to compliance with NEWMAC and NCAA regulations, as well as state and federal law.

Commitment to the strategic goals and mission of the College: The Director will share the values of the college as articulated in the Department of Physical Education and Athletics Strategic Plan including its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and student success. The Director will strive to build connections between the department and the College to ensure close integration with the College’s values.

Dedication to academic excellence and student success: The Department is committed to fielding competitive teams, creating experiences for student-athletes that enhance their educational experience for student-athletes to become leaders in an ever-changing global society. The Director will exhibit a commitment to these values and a record of accomplishment in promoting student success.

Experience with strategic planning and assessment: The Director will have the ability to articulate goals for, and philosophy of athletics that can guide the department, along with developing, evaluating, and implementing those strategic goals. These values must be in line with the values of the College but must also be appropriate to supporting excellence and success among the athletic programs in the department.

Effective spokesperson for the Department and Mount Holyoke College: The Director will effectively represent the department within the campus community, NEWMAC, and NCAA events, meetings, and conferences. The Director will be an excellent communicator who can promote the department and the College.

Experienced manager of resources and personnel: The Director will need experience managing independent, self-motivated staff and coaches who are committed to success. The Director will also require experience with budgeting, planning, and assessment to manage the department.

Additional Skills and Abilities Sought:

  • Maintain compliance with NCAA Rules, federal regulatory authorities (especially related to Title IX), and other federal and state laws
  • Budgeting and Fiscal Planning
  • Facilities Management, Planning, and Construction
  • Creativity and problem-solving skills (response to occurrences outside one’s immediate control)
  • Reputation as a fair-minded, consistent and approachable supervisor.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send, as two separate documents, a resume and a letter of application that relates skills, abilities, knowledge, and professional experiences to the stated qualifications for the position and notable achievements. The packet should be sent to: ADMHC@wspelman.com

Recruitment is underway and will continue until the position is filled. Confidential inquiries should be made to Megan Spelman at (585) 750-7091 or Megan@wspelman.com.


The College is committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination whether based race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, handicap or disability, veteran/uniformed services status, or gender identity. We have also committed ourselves to the active recruitment of candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Mount Holyoke College believes in the right, indeed the necessity, of free inquiry and free expression for every member of the college community. The College aims to provide an environment hospitable to open interchanges of knowledge and opinion in the terms of reasoned discourse. The citizen’s rights to free speech, free movement, free association, peaceful assembly, and orderly protest extends to every member of the College. So do the citizen’s responsibility to uphold the law and the civilized person’s obligation to respect the rights and feelings of others.

Physical Demands: Light work: Exerting up to 20 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 10 pounds of force frequently, and/or a negligible amount of force constantly to move objects. If the use of arm and/ or leg control requires exertion of forces greater than that for sedentary work and the worker sits most of the time, the job is rated as light work.

Standing: Particularly for sustained periods of time.

Walking: Moving about on foot to accomplish tasks, particularly for long distances or moving from one work site to another.

Talking: Expressing or exchanging ideas by means of the spoken word. Those activities in which they must convey detailed or important spoken instructions to other workers accurately, loudly, or quickly.

Sufficient clarity of speech required includes those which permit the employee to discern verbal instructions and communicate effectively in person and by telephone.

Employee talks in front of large groups of people on a daily basis.

Employee speaks with students and other faculty daily by telephone, e-mail, or in person on a daily basis.

Hearing: Perceiving the nature of sounds at normal speaking levels with or without correction. Ability to receive detailed information through oral communication, and to make the discriminations in sound.

Repetitive motion: Substantial movements (motions) of the wrists, hands, and/or fingers.

The employee is required to have close visual acuity to perform an activity such as: preparing and analyzing data and figures; transcribing; viewing a computer terminal; and extensive reading.

Employee operates office equipment and computers to perform essential duties and responsibilities.

Working Conditions: The employee is not substantially exposed to adverse environmental conditions (such as in typical office or administrative work).

Protection from weather conditions but not necessarily from temperature changes. Activities occur inside and outside environments.  

Background Checks:

Mount Holyoke College is committed to providing a safe and secure environment, supported by qualified
employees that will allow all of its students, faculty, staff and those associated with them to successfully
carry out the mission of the college. As a condition of employment, the College will conduct appropriate
background checks for all new hires. Mount Holyoke has designated the Office of Human Resources as
the office responsible for ensuring that background checks (CORI, SORI, Credit History, & Driver

Credential) are completed and utilized in the hiring process and Five College Office of Compliance and
Risk Management as the office responsible for facilitating background checks as articulated in this policy.

Special Instructions for Applicants: 

Apply online by application deadline. Application materials must include 1) a cover letter summarizing
interests and qualifications, 2) a complete resume or curriculum vitae, and 3) contact information for 3
professional references. 

Mount Holyoke College is a women’s college that is gender diverse. The College is committed to providing equal access and opportunity in employment and education to all employees and students. In compliance with state and federal law, Mount Holyoke College does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, genetic information, sex, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, ancestry, veteran or military status, or any other legally protected status under federal, state or local law. The College does not discriminate on the basis of gender in the recruitment and admission of students to its graduate program.

Mount Holyoke College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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