Since President Adam Falk (wisely!) looks to EphBlog for personnel recommendations, let me be the first to suggest Associate AD/Senior Women’s Administrator Lisa Melendy for the recently-open position of Athletic Director.
1) Melendy has already been appointed acting AD.
Melendy, a former head coach of women’s soccer at Williams, previously served as the Ephs Interim Athletic Director during the 2006-07 academic year, while Sheehy was on sabbatical at Vanderbilt University.
Cancel the “national search.” What a waste of money! By all accounts (contrary opinions welcome!), Melendy did a fine job as acting AD four years ago. She already does 90% of the AD’s work: “compliance, budgetary oversight, championships, faculty evaluations, and departmental policy advising.” (Question for Dartmouth: You realize that Harry Sheehy ’75 was not, shall we say, overly involved in actually managing the Athletic Department, right?)
2) Falk always needs to be wary of having too many men in leadership positions. Having Melendy as Athletic Director provides some useful cover on that front.
3) The College needs to save money, so promote Melendy to AD and eliminate her current position. Williams has too many bureaucrats as it is.
4) Falk’s (likely) main fight with the Eph Athletics Machine over the next few years will revolve around the faculty’s desire to continue the decade-long trend in decreasing the admissions preferences given to athletes. Although I have never discussed this topic (or any other!) with Melendy, my guess is that she would be more comfortable with this policy change than most other candidate ADs would be, many of whom came up through football and other heavy-preference-needing male sports. Recall this 2009 recommendation from the faculty athletics committee:
Since the MacDonald report was presented, the academic standards for admission of athletic “tips” within NESCAC and at Williams have been raised. These changes are likely to be largely responsible for the narrowing of the academic performance gap between varsity athletes and non-athletes. It is our understanding that the admissions standards for “tips” are continuing to rise, and the recruited athletes in future entering classes are likely to be more similar, in their academic credentials, to their non-athlete peers. Although we note that this may affect the success of Williams College teams, we unanimously support the continuation of this trend.
The vast majority of faculty agree with this. Melendy, whether or not she agrees, is probably more than ready to go along.
Promote Melendy to Athletic Director.