For athletics, full-time coaches still a full-time search

by Claire Nobles / Beacon Staff • April 29, 2015

In fall 2013, Emerson’s athletic department promoted two head coaches—women’s soccer’s David Suvak and men’s lacrosse’s Dan Gold—from part-time to full-time positions. Previously, neither of these programs had full-time coaches. This was also the first step toward the department’s goal of having all 14 varsity sports’ head coaches be full-time by fall 2015, which was announced in 2013 by then-interim Athletic Director Stanford Nance.

But with fall 2015 quickly approaching, it doesn’t appear that the department will make its goal—of the 14 varsity sports, only eight have full-time coaches.

This objective corresponded with the college’s move from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference to the tougher New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.

The search for a men’s soccer head coach continues, however, after Jared Scarpaci stepped down in January when the position was elevated to full-time status. Erin Brennen, a senior associate director of athletics, said the process of finding the next leader for the program is still ongoing.

Additionally, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, and baseball are all currently coached by part-time employees.

“We’re going to continue to push to get all of our coaches full-time as soon as we can,” said Brennen. “We don’t have a drop-dead deadline—as soon as possible would be great. We have to recognize the bigger picture: We’re part of an institution and we have to make sure the funds are available.”

According to Brennen, the main benefit of full-time coaches is the extra hours they can spend recruiting.

“[Recruiting] is really difficult to do as a part-time coach when you have someone working only 20 hours a week,” said Brennen. “The recruiting piece is really so critical when it comes to success. There’s so much more to coaching than what you see on the field or on the court.”

Junior soccer player Alyssa Giannone has been coached by Suvak when he was both part-time and full-time, and she said she has seen a substantial difference.

“He’s always been a passionate human being for as long as I’ve known him, especially about soccer,” said Giannone, a journalism major. “I think that when it came to his time with the team—from his perspective at least—it seems like he would rather be with us than care for us from afar.”

Suvak’s team increased its win total by a game from the 2013 to the 2014 season, which Brennen said is what the department wanted to see.

“They’ve had more success every year, but everything’s a process,” she said. “We look at it as a three- to five-year process. Every good recruiting class you bring in grows the program a little bit more.”

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are coached by John Furey, who has been with the school for 15 years. Men’s and women’s tennis, which take place in opposite seasons, are led by Collin Hyte, who was hired in 2014. Baseball’s David Hanley has been with the program for a decade.

Brennen said she didn’t know if or when any of these coaches would be promoted to full-time status.

“There are so many other pieces that go into it,” she said. “Part-time works for some of our coaches because it is part-time, and their full-time job is really their passion or they’re making more money. But they love the sport and they’re passionate about it as well, and they want to do both.”