The Emerson athletic department announced the addition of former two-sport star Lindsay DeStefano on Oct. 15 to its staff. The college’s newest athletic administrator will perform a jack-of-all-trades role, according to Interim Athletic Director Stanford Nance, who was in charge of the search process.
A 2008 graduate and two-year captain of the Emerson softball team, DeStefano has returned as a direct replacement for Dr. Vaughn Calhoun, who left his position in July to become an adjunct professor at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Mass.
“I’ve been working in athletics one way or another ever since [graduating] and when something comes up at your alma mater, you jump on it,” DeStefano said.
DeStefano’s primary responsibilities will be coordinating the scheduling for Emerson’s athletic facilities and as the equipment manager for the Lions’ 14 varsity teams. DeStefano also oversees Emerson’s part-time coaches — John Furey (cross-country), David Hanley (baseball) and Jared Scarpaci (men’s soccer) — according to Nance.
One task near and dear to DeStefano is running the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, of which she was a four-year member as a student.
“That’s something I’m pretty passionate about,” said DeStefano, who was also an Emerson basketball player. “Through that committee we can definitely look to make changes for the positive and help the athletes have their voices heard.”
Described by softball coach Phil McElroy as “one of the better athletes to come through Emerson, probably in its history,” DeStefano is also taking charge of Nance’s endeavor to establish an Emerson College Athletic Hall of Fame.
“She’s done all the research on that, so she’s going to be spearheading that project,” said Nance, adding that he’ll defer all decisions to her.
A broadcast journalism major who graduated from Emerson cum laude, DeStefano took an interest in the coaching and administrative side of sports in her senior year. Upon graduating, she immediately enrolled at Northeastern University and received her master’s degree in sports leadership in 2010.
DeStefano briefly worked as an affiliates assistant at the Eastern College Athletic Conference under former Emerson athletic director Rudy Keeling, a mentor to Nance, who Keeling hired as an assistant athletic director at Emerson in 2003.
“With Lindsay, we got a versatile person,” said Nance, who said he envisions DeStefano possibly filling some of the same duties he was tasked with when he started, including recruiting and as a fill-in coach in emergency situations.
The latter hypothetical isn’t just a result of DeStefano’s playing experience — she was the softball head coach at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, Mass. from 2010 to 2012 before moving to Lasell College in Newton more recently.
“I loved my time as an athlete here and there’s definitely a comfort level,” said DeStefano, who played under McElroy and women’s basketball coach Bill Gould.
DeStefano was a standout junior when the Emerson softball team reached the NCAA Division 3 Tournament for the first time in school history.
According to Nance, the search to replace Calhoun was narrowed down to three candidates in July, but was postponed after he fell ill later that month.
The search picked up recently, with interim associate athletic director Erin Brennan, sports information director Kerry Howe, and McElroy all involved.
DeStefano said she did not have any contact with Calhoun, including during her time as a student-athlete.
According to DeStefano, Nance reached out over the summer to encourage the former Emerson player to apply for the athletic department’s opening.
Nance received a similar break to start his administrative career, hooking on at Rutgers University shortly after his college basketball career concluded.
“I know Lindsay to be someone that’s going to get the job done and that’s huge,” said McElroy, Emerson’s longest-tenured coach. “I think it’s a win-win for the school and I’d look for her to maybe even move her way up the ranks here.”