HAMBURG, N.Y. – Hilbert College is one of only seven institutions in the U.S. selected to receive a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Strategic Alliance Matching Grant, making this the first time Hilbert has been awarded this highly competitive three-year grant.
The NCAA grant is designed to provide funding to D-III institutions seeking to develop professional administrative opportunities to enhance diversity and inclusion within an institution’s athletic program. With the grant funds awarded to Hilbert, a new compliance and student services coordinator/head women’s soccer coach full-time position will be created in athletics.
“Expanding Hilbert’s athletics staff with this position is an important step in continuing to improve our intercollegiate sports programs and will assist us in making strides in retention and academic success among the college’s student-athletes,” said Susan Viscomi, director of athletics. “With this, Hilbert is moving in the direction of fostering an athletic culture on campus that will be more competitive while complementing the overall student experience.”
Viscomi noted that these comprehensive efforts have institutional leadership support from Hilbert President Cynthia Zane, Ed.D., who recognized the importance of developing a consistently competitive, high-quality intercollegiate athletics program. This goal is central to the Hilbert athletics strategic plan, which focuses on developing and implementing a staffing model that will better fulfill the needs of coaches and student-athletes, and increase student participation and engagement.
“Hilbert is deeply grateful to the NCAA in providing us this generous support toward realizing the college’s strategic goal for the athletics program and advancing opportunities for student-athletes,” said Zane. “We are dedicated to building a competitive intercollegiate program and this grant represents a commitment that will have long-term benefits for Hilbert athletics and our students.”
The new position’s head coaching responsibilities will allow student-athletes to have greater access and more interaction with their coach, who oftentimes serves a key mentor role for college-level athletes.
“With Hilbert’s current staffing configuration, regular access to coaches on campus is limited. Having the new coach at the college full-time will allow for more opportunities to strengthen the coach-athlete relationship, a vital connection that ultimately will make a difference in recruitment and retention of student-athletes,” said Viscomi.
The coach, added Viscomi, will also have more time and resources to identify and attract higher-caliber student-athletes to Hilbert, an aspect that will, in the long-run, enhance the program’s competitiveness.
Selecting women’s soccer for the full-time coaching position was spurred by the size and student interest in the program. Viscomi pointed out that “women’s soccer has traditionally been one of the largest roster sports and one of the most competitive at Hilbert. With adding the coaching position to the athletics staff, we’ll be serving the needs of a sizeable number of student-athletes while focusing on a program with one of the best opportunities for further success.”
As student services coordinator, the new athletic staff member will oversee and build on a recently launched program developed specifically for at-risk student-athletes to help facilitate their academic success at Hilbert.
“By adding this new position, we are making progress in providing Hilbert student-athletes the enhancements necessary to compete and be successful both in the classroom and on the athletic field,” said Viscomi.
In addition to the other duties, the position responsibilities include compliance oversight of all Hilbert athletic programs and student-athlete eligibility.
A search is underway at Hilbert for a compliance and student services coordinator/head women’s soccer coach, which is expected to be filled before the fall semester begins.