We will…

We Will …

Achieve Competitive Excellence

Cultivate a culture committed to winning conference championships and achieving postseason success

Strengthen Academic Excellence

Build upon existing environment and programming focused on leadership and intellectual development

Provide the Most Positive Student-Athlete Experience Possible

Invest in an environment that promotes comprehensive wellness, personal development and holistic support for student-athletes and challenges them to be the best versions of themselves

Build More Community and Spirit for Lafayette Athletics

Expand and enhance partnerships within the campus community, while also focusing strategically on areas of brand growth and fan experiences

Ensure Integrity in Everything We Do

Maintain the highest level of integrity and commitment to compliance and fiscal responsibility, while also achieving excellence in access and equity within all aspects and areas

Secure the Funding Necessary for Success

Leverage all revenue streams to secure the resources needed to support the strategic goals and objectives

Opening Letter / Role

From the AD

Dear Lafayette Leopards Family:

In my first several months on campus, I have been honored to be a part of so many traditions and experiences that make Lafayette College such a special place. As I spend time with all of the many special people, communities, and external partners that make up Leopard Nation, I am struck by the investment they all have in the comprehensive success of our athletic programs and our student-athletes.

I continue to be impressed by the dedication and passion of everyone involved with Lafayette Athletics, who through their investment of time, talent, and, in many cases, philanthropy ensure that we best position our student-athletes for success in the classroom and on the playing field. As I considered the important role our department plays in generating an appropriate return on everyone’s investment, it was clear that we owed all of our constituencies a clear and transparent look at our goals over the next five years, and how we intend to achieve them.

A new athletic director typically has a full year to develop a comprehensive strategic plan, but what I did have waiting for me was a thorough review completed by the athletics review steering committee, with help from Inter-Collegiate Athletic Consulting. The athletics review provided an incredible amount of confidential data and comparative numbers that helped provide a foundation to support our blueprint for the future.

With that in mind—I am pleased to present to you—Creating a Championship CultureThe Strategic Plan for Lafayette Athletics. You’ll likely notice a deep similarity to my five-point vision. Hopefully, you’ll also notice that the work focuses greatly on producing a positive student-athlete experience, defined as creating an opportunity to achieve competitive excellence in an environment where student-athletes are challenged to become better versions of themselves and creating a lifelong connection to the College.

Key to the process will be developing a champion’s mindset among all involved with our teams. As we define it, a champion’s mindset is an everyday approach to your role with a positive attitude and an intrinsic motivation that leads to continual improvement in your contribution to the program’s level of success.

I am glad to be sharing this plan and encourage you all to be a part of what will be the most productive and exciting years in our history. Our staff has already begun work on many of the strategies outlined in our plan, and we look forward to having you on board as we all work together in support of our student-athletes!

Go Leopards!
Sherryta Freeman

Role of Athletics at Lafayette College

  • Integrates with the educational experience by providing student-athletes the opportunity to succeed at the highest level in academics and NCAA Division I intercollegiate competition.
  • Cultivates committed collaborators and leaders of consequence who distinguish themselves during their college experience and flourish in the world following graduation.
  • Develops a more engaging campus experience for the entire community, inspiring a shared allegiance and a lifelong commitment to the College.
  • Connects the College’s generations and extended community by building spirit, enthusiasm, and pride in athletic successes.
  • Brings positive national and international visibility to the College by highlighting the academic and athletic values of the institution and the Patriot League.

— Athletics Review Steering Committee Adoption June 16, 2017

Definition of Athletic Success at Lafayette College

Lafayette College, through teamwork across all campus constituents, departments, and support services, is committed to achieving excellence in its NCAA Division I athletics program. Success is measured by the ability to create and maintain a winning culture that affords its teams with the opportunity to regularly compete for championships. Success also is achieved through excellence in academic performance, leadership development, and community engagement.

— Steering Committee Adoption June 16, 2017

Process

Process

Step 1: Establish Athletics Review Steering Committee

In order to set a bold vision for the future of Lafayette Athletics, the College announced in November 2016 that it would review the athletic program and make recommendations on improving competitiveness within the Patriot League. Chaired by Annette Diorio, vice president for campus life, the committee included 15 members of the Lafayette community, representing staff, faculty, and trustees.

Step 2: Utilize Outside Consultant for Athletics Strategic Study

As announced by the College later in November 2016,
Inter-Collegiate Athletic Consulting (ICAC) was selected to conduct a review of the athletics program and make recommendations on improving the College’s competitiveness in the Patriot League. From this initial review, the definition of success and a campus-wide role statement for athletics was developed and approved by the steering committee.

Step 3: Athletics Steering Committee and Senior Staff Review Findings of ICAC

With new Director of Athletics Sherryta Freeman starting in February 2018, the athletics review steering committee and athletic department senior staff assessed the confidential data collected by ICAC.

Step 4: Steering Committee and Senior Staff Begin Strategic Planning to Achieve Five-Year Vision

Having assessed the confidential data collected by ICAC, the
next phase of the process began—strategic planning. Leaning heavily on the work performed by ICAC, Freeman led the athletics review steering committee and athletic senior staff in a forecasting process that aligned with her own 5-part vision.

Step 5: Athletics Senior Staff Develop Strategic Plan

The athletic department senior staff, utilizing the confidential data collected by ICAC, the role statement for athletics, definition of success, and vital input from athletics review steering committee members, cabinet, coaches, support staff, student-athletes, and alumni, developed the strategic goals, objectives, and strategies that would guide the plan.

Step 6: Committees Created to Implement the Strategic Plan

Goal implementation committees are created to advance each
of the six goals in the plan.

Strategic Plan

Achieve Competitive Excellence

Cultivate a culture committed to winning conference championships and achieving postseason success

Objective #1: Deliver professional development and establish expectations and accountability for coaches and staff.

  • Strategy AProvide professional development to coaches and staff on culture, values, leadership, and continuous improvement feedback to direct reports.
  • Strategy BProvide coaches and staff with access to professional associations and encourage peer-to-peer education.
  • Strategy CRefine our performance evaluation tool to challenge all staff to exceed expectations in contributing to a champion’s mindset.

Objective #2: Improve coach and staff recruitment and retention.

  • Strategy AIncrease administrative and support staff to manage the operational tasks required to have a winning Division I athletic program.
  • Strategy BAdd coaches and sport-specific personnel to meet Patriot League and NCAA standards in quantity and compensation.
  • Strategy CSeek to increase operating budget support to a competitive level within the Patriot League, including but not limited to recruiting, team travel, equipment, game operations, facility maintenance, and staff professional development.

Objective #3: Upgrade the recruitment and performance of student-athletes.

  • Strategy AEnhance the timeline for evaluation and commitment of admission for prospective student-athletes.
  • Strategy BUtilize athletic scholarship and need-based financial aid to secure a diverse pool of talented student-athletes committed to thriving at Lafayette College.
  • Strategy CImplement tool to measure success by tracking incoming prospect statistics (GPA, SAT/ACT, athletic rating, etc.) and overall impact/performance at Lafayette.

Strengthen Academic Excellence

Build upon existing environment and programming focused on leadership and intellectual development

Objective #1: Foster an environment and culture focused on intellectual development, academic excellence, and career preparedness.

  • Strategy APartner with faculty to identify additional interdisciplinary opportunities for students to engage more with athletics.
  • Strategy BCelebrate academic excellence and achievement of student-athletes.
  • Strategy CMaximize relationship with Career Services to leverage all opportunities for student-athletes.

Objective #2: Supply a best-in-class leadership development program that prepares student-athletes for athletic and academic leadership while at Lafayette and beyond.

  • Strategy AExpand Oaks Leadership Academy programming to first-year student-athletes and consider adding experiential learning opportunities.
  • Strategy BEnhance partnership with Campus Leadership programs to utilize college expertise in leadership and personal development.
  • Strategy CUtilize national experts and alumni in leadership roles to deliver messages and programming for student-athletes.

Provide the Most Positive Student-Athlete Experience Possible

Invest in an environment that promotes comprehensive wellness, personal development, and holistic support for student-athletes and challenges them to be the best versions of themselves

Objective #1: Create an environment that promotes comprehensive wellness, personal development, and holistic support for student-athletes.

  • Strategy AReview and update policies to reflect accountability and behavioral expectations.
  • Strategy BProvide educational resources to student-athletes and staff to assist in the holistic development of student-athletes.
  • Strategy CEmpower the Student-Athlete Wellness & Performance Team to proactively address issues related to the student-athlete experience and identify additional resources needed (fueling station, sport psychologists, nutritionists, etc.).

Objective #2: Hire and/or retain high-level coaches who develop a positive team culture and expectations for student-athlete behavior that contribute to a positive student-athlete experience.

  • Strategy AStrengthen the performance management process and accountability through active communication and evaluation of coaches’ leadership of their respective programs.
  • Strategy BEducate student-athletes on their role in their own personal development and impact on a positive student-athlete experience.

Objective #3: Operate existing facilities or create plans to expand or create new ones to ensure access to optimal training and support for student-athlete success.

  • Strategy AIdentify new spaces and/or facilities that need to be created.
  • Strategy BMaximize existing facilities by investigating potential strategies with campus partners to establish student-centered scheduling that focuses on the dual commitment of being a student and an athlete.

Build More Community and Spirit for Lafayette Athletics

Expand and enhance partnerships within the campus community, while also focusing strategically on areas of brand growth and fan experiences

Objective #1: Increase campus engagement to solidify support for the “Role of Athletics at Lafayette College.”

  • Strategy AIncrease and expand campus partnerships and department staff participation in the intellectual life of the campus (i.e., co-sponsoring programs, faculty lectures, student research presentations and performances, etc.).
  • Strategy BStrengthen faculty mentor program.
  • Strategy CImplement guest coach program with faculty/campus staff in all sports.

Objective #2: Enhance community service initiatives and experiential learning opportunities for student-athletes and staff.

  • Strategy AStrengthen relationship with the Landis Center for Community Engagement.
  • Strategy BDevelop study-abroad experiences for student-athletes and teams, including service learning trips.
  • Strategy CPrioritize staff need for student-athlete development position to facilitate these programs.

Objective #3: Maximize the athletics brand across campus and externally.

  • Strategy AEnsure proper voice and branding are utilized across all distribution channels.
  • Strategy BDevelop and implement strategic content and social media calendar.
  • Strategy CStrengthen brand presence on campus and in athletic venues, accurately utilizing the athletics visual identity.

Objective #4: Enhance the fan experience at athletic events with the goal of increasing attendance.

  • Strategy ACreate a Fan Experience Team for ticketed sports to maximize the event environment and fan satisfaction while also increasing the volume of fan engagement opportunities and promotional giveaways.
  • Strategy BCreate a platform for fans of all sports to give feedback on their game-day experience.
  • Strategy CEstablish more of a synergy with the Leopard mascot, pep band, cheerleaders, and dance team.
  • Strategy DExplore opportunities to make WiFi available to all fans attending athletic events, maximizing in-game technology to increase fan engagement.

Ensure Integrity in Everything We Do

Maintain the highest level of integrity and commitment to compliance and fiscal responsibility, while also achieving excellence in access and equity within all aspects and areas

Objective #1: Support the College’s plan to increase student diversity across a wide range of factors, including gender, ethnicity, socio-economics, and geography.

  • Strategy AProvide resources and development to enhance coaches’ ability to identify a diverse recruiting pool.
  • Strategy BIncrease access to scholarship and need-based dollars to support the enrollment of a diverse class.
  • Strategy CAchieve an emphasized commitment from the College to competitive excellence through identification and commitment to talented student-athletes.

Objective #2: Refresh gender equity plan to maintain compliance with Title IX, enhancing opportunities and experiences for men and women.

  • Strategy AEmploy a strategy to maintain participation opportunities through cooperative planning with the enrollment division.
  • Strategy BIncrease scholarship funding for women’s sports.
  • Strategy CIncrease funding and support to recruit and retain talented women coaches and administrators.

Objective #3: Strengthen efforts related to diversity and inclusion.

  • Strategy AProvide diversity training and workshops to support an inclusive environment.
  • Strategy BReview and enhance existing policies and service areas to ensure that underrepresented groups are supported.
  • Strategy CPartner with campus initiatives to connect student-athletes and staff with available resources.

Objective #4: Enhance our commitment to rules compliance and fiscal responsibility.

  • Strategy AIncrease compliance staff to evolving Division I standards.
  • Strategy BContinue to maximize current operating and fundraised dollars.

Secure the Funding Necessary for Success

Leverage all revenue streams to secure the resources needed to support the strategic goals and objectives

Objective #1: Maximize support from the College’s operating budget.

  • Strategy AFacilitate discussions with key campus constituencies on athletic priorities and how those align with College plans.
  • Strategy BDevelop long-term budget planning to anticipate priorities of the department and specific programs.
  • Strategy CDemonstrate efficiencies with continuous review of operating budget allocations.

Objective #2: Identify and maximize external revenue opportunities utilizing athletic assets.

  • Strategy AOutsource all advertising and corporate sponsorship sales to a premier multimedia sales agency.
  • Strategy BUtilize a ticket sales agency to leverage Lafayette’s position as a Division I athletic experience in the marketplace.
  • Strategy CDevelop and implement structure to generate revenue through the rental of our first-class Division I athletic facilities.
  • Strategy DCreate a digital marketing plan to proactively identify opportunities for growth through digital campaigns (e.g., advertising, automation systems, digital billboards, etc.).
  • Strategy EReview current youth camp structure and evaluate opportunities to enhance revenue-generating abilities.

Objective #3: Establish a fundraising plan that supports athletics annually and secures major gifts for future sustainability.

  • Strategy ARestructure the composition of the Maroon Club while encouraging increased participation and engagement from former student-athletes.
  • Strategy BDevelop AD’s circle [a small group] to generate participation and input from committed and influential athletic supporters.
  • Strategy CIncrease annual fundraising goal to account for operating budget constraints.
  • Strategy DEmbark upon an athletics-focused fundraising campaign.
  • Strategy EGenerate gifts that will directly support scholarships through the Leopard Champions Fund.

Glossary/Committees/Review/D1/Broadcast

Glossary

Five-part vision

Director of Athletics Sherryta Freeman’s vision for Lafayette Athletics focuses on:

  • Competitive Excellence. We will establish a championship/winning culture! And we will not shy away from our commitment to providing championship experiences for our student-athletes.
  • Academic Excellence. Our student-athletes will be students first—and will be fully committed to their studies.
  • Positive Student-Athlete Experience. Our student-athletes will graduate as proud alumni who cherish forever their athletic and academic experiences.
  • Campus Integration. We will expand and enhance our partnerships within the campus community.
  • Integrity. We will maintain the highest level of integrity and commitment to compliance while being fiscally responsible.

Champion’s mindset

– An everyday approach to your role with a positive attitude and an intrinsic motivation that leads to continual improvement in your contribution to the program’s level of success

Student-Athlete Wellness & Performance Team

The Student-Athlete Wellness & Performance Team, comprised of medical, sports medicine, strength training, and academic services professionals, is charged with creating enhancements related to sports performance that will improve upon the overall experience of student-athletes, oversight of initiatives pertaining to the health and well-being of our student-athletes, and recommending/executing educational programs that will create the optimum environment for peak performance.

Positive student-athlete experience

An opportunity to achieve competitive excellence in an environment where student-athletes are challenged to become better versions of themselves and that creates a lifelong connection to the College.

Lafayette’s scholarship sports

Baseball, men’s basketball, football, men’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, women’s basketball, field hockey, women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, softball, volleyball

Commitees

Athletics Review Steering Committee (2016-2018)

  • Dennis Bohn, head of men’s soccer
  • Paulo Coelho ’03, Maroon Club executive committee
  • Roger Demareski, vice president for finance and administration
  • James DeVault, professor of economics, Faculty Academic Policy Committee
  • Annette Diorio (chair), vice president for campus life
  • Jeffrey Helm, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Faculty Academic Policy Committee
  • Hal Kamine ’78, trustee
  • Cindy Linville ’80, Maroon Club executive committee
  • Bruce McCutcheon, director of athletics
  • Elisabeth MacDonald ’81, chair, Board of Trustees’ Committee on Student Life
  • Greg MacDonald, vice president for enrollment management
  • Kaity McKittrick, deputy director of athletics/SWA
  • Fran Mustaro ’72, chair, Maroon Club’s Friends of Lafayette Football
  • Anna Ptasinski ’18, chair, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, women’s basketball
  • Kim Spang, vice president for development and college relations
  • Jennifer Stone ’04, head coach of field hockey
  • David Stifel, professor of economics and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative

Goal Implementation Committees (2018-2023)

Strategic Goal #1 – Achieve Competitive Excellence

Cultivate a culture committed to winning conference championships and achieving postseason success

  • Kaity McKittrick (chair), deputy director of athletics/SWA
  • Kia Damon, head coach of women’s basketball
  • Andrew Foster, associate director of athletics/facilities & operations
  • Matt Hyde, dean of admissions
  • Pat Myers, head coach of men’s lacrosse
  • Alma Scott-Buczak, associate vice president for human resources
  • Mick Statham, head coach of women’s soccer
  • John O’Keefe, vice president for ITS and chief information officer

Strategic Goal #2 – Strengthen Academic Excellence

Build upon existing environment and programming focused on leadership and intellectual development

  • David Stifel (chair), professor of economics and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative
  • Erica D’Agostino, dean of advising and co-curricular programs
  • Jim Dailey, head coach of swimming and diving
  • John Garrett, head coach of football
  • Carly Riepenhoff, student-athlete academic support coordinator
  • Rob Root, professor of mathematics and clerk of the faculty
  • Mike Summers, assistant vice president for career services

Strategic Goal #3 – Provide the Most Positive Student-Athlete Experience Possible

Invest in an environment that promotes comprehensive wellness, personal development, and holistic support for student-athletes and challenges them to be the best versions of themselves

Student-athlete wellness team:

  • Brad Potts (chair), assistant director of athletics for peak performance
  • Julie Amato, sports psychologist
  • Matt Bayly, director of sports medicine
  • Caitlyn de la Haba, head coach of softball
  • Markus Dubischar, associate professor of foreign languages and literature
  • Andrew Foster, associate director of athletics/facilities & operations
  • Jeff Goldstein, director of health services and college physician
  • Chris Hunt, dean of students
  • Phil LaBella, director of athletic communications
  • Carly Riepenhoff, student-athlete academic support coordinator

Strategic Goal #4 – Build More Community and Spirit for Lafayette Athletics

Expand and enhance partnerships within the campus community, while also focusing strategically on areas of brand growth and fan experiences

  • Scott Morse (chair), senior director of communications for campus life and athletics
  • Christopher Brown, general manager of dining services
  • Yusuf Dahl, director of the Bradbury Dyer III ’64 Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Andrew Foster, associate director of athletics/facilities & operations
  • Brian Ludrof, director of creative media
  • Fran O’Hanlon, head coach of men’s basketball
  • Kirk O’Riordan, associate professor of music and director of bands
  • Sydney Sabino ’20 (athletic affairs chair), women’s basketball
  • Jennifer Stone, head coach of field hockey
  • Billie Weiss, head coach of cheerleading and dance team

Strategic Goal #5 – Ensure Integrity in Everything We Do

Maintain the highest level of integrity and commitment to compliance and fiscal responsibility, while also achieving excellence in access and equity within all aspects and areas

  • Kaity McKittrick (chair), deputy director of athletics/SWA
  • Jessica Brown, educational equity coordinator
  • Terri Dadio Campbell, head coach of volleyball
  • Michele Curcio, head coach of cross country and track & field
  • Joe Kinney, head coach of baseball
  • Leslie Muhlfelder, vice president of human resources/general counsel

Strategic Goal #6 – Secure the Funding Necessary for Success

Leverage all revenue streams to secure the resources needed to support the strategic goals and objectives

  • Kaity McKittrick (chair), deputy director of athletics/SWA
  • Josh Azer, director of athletic development
  • Craig Becker, associate vice president for finance & business
  • Dennis Bohn, head coach of men’s soccer
  • Roger Demareski, vice president for finance & administration/treasurer
  • Ali Fisher, head coach of women’s lacrosse
  • Kim Spang, vice president for development & college relations
  • Adam Stauffer, assistant vice president for principal gifts,gift planning & athletic fundraising

Athletics Review

2016-18 Athletics Review Executive Summary

Summary of Major Findings

  • Lafayette College appears to be well placed, from an academic mission perspective, in the NCAA Division I FCS and Patriot League.
  • The athletics program makes an important contribution to the College by attracting talented student-athletes and providing events that are enjoyed by the entire community; however, that role is not fully recognized and appreciated across campus.
  • While the Steering Committee has developed an appropriate Role Statement, the task remains to advocate for the roles athletics plays at the College and change the culture of skepticism.
  • The student-athlete experience is considered by the student-athlete as not meeting their expectations for a Division I level and as not comparable to other Patriot League members. Travel and equipment are particularly of concern.
  • The athletics program is not funded and supported at a realistic competitive level within the Patriot League. The Maroon Club feels that alumni will support athletics more, and opportunities exist to expand revenue through marketing and promotions, given appropriate resources. Some greater institutional support may well be needed.
  • While Lafayette’s athletics facilities are, for the most part, outstanding, real shortcomings exist—no separate practice venue for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball, inadequate men’s and women’s indoor track and field practice venue and no competition venue, and spectator accommodation at Metzgar Fields Athletic Complex, for example. These capital needs should be integrated in the campus facilities development plan.
  • The differential between resources and expectations for success is stressful and widening for the entire program (student-athletes, coaches, alumni, etc.) and the risk for not resolving issues is loss of quality student-athletes and the goodwill and support of alumni and friends.

Strategic Alternatives

The review committee was presented with four strategic alternatives.

  1. Maintain Program and Expense Levels — Do nothing and continue current levels of support. This option was rejected as not being supportive of greater competitiveness.
  2. Reduce the Number of Teams — Reduce the number of teams to the Division I minimum of 14. This option was rejected because the number of teams eliminated would be too significant.
  3. Add Women’s Teams to Existing Teams and Increase Resources — Add select women’s sports and provide resources to women’s teams to support equity in scholarships and student-athlete experience. This option was recommended for further consideration and has been addressed in the strategic plan.
  4. Strive to Become Competitive/Dominant in the Patriot League—Expand all rosters, improve team support and resources, improve coaching staff numbers and compensation, better coordination with admissions and financial aid, improve equipment and travel, increase support staff (strength and conditioning, trainers, nutrition, administration, etc.), provide adequate venues for practice and competition, and promote the goal of striving for or even a dominant position within the Patriot League. This option was recommended for further consideration and has been addressed in the strategic plan.

The Athletics Review Committee recommended that the Athletics Department launch a planning process aligned with Options 3 and 4.

Recommendations

  • Launch a strategic planning process to advance strategic alternatives that best fit Lafayette.
  • Develop College-wide shared appreciation and accommodation of the role of athletics at Lafayette.
  • Continue the excellent student-athlete and athletics support programs.
  • Interface appropriately the admissions/financial aid processes with athletic recruiting cycles.
  • Move to gender proportionality in participation and support.
  • Resource teams to provide quality student-athlete experience.
  • Build remaining facilities issues into the College’s facilities master plan.

Lafayette’s NCAA Division I Sports

Men’s Sports

  • Baseball*
  • Basketball*
  • Cross Country
  • Football*
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse*
  • Soccer*
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field

Women’s Sports

  • Basketball*
  • Cross Country
  • Field Hockey*
  • Lacrosse*
  • Soccer*
  • Softball*
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball*

Co-Ed Sport

  • Fencing

(* indicates scholarship sports)

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