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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Daniel Webster AD looks to build on success

NASHUA – His desk is pretty clear in the tiny corner office on the second floor of the Mario Vagge Gymnasium. But that doesn’t mean new Daniel Webster College athletic director Robin Seidman doesn’t have mounds of work to do.

The Eagles have enjoyed one of their most successful years on the playing field despite instability in the athletic offices. Seidman is the school’s third AD in the last year. But he has plans to make what has been a good department better.

“Hopefully I bring some stability to the situation,” said Seidman, who spent a long career as an assistant athletic director at Brandeis University to prepare himself for running his own department. “They made some very good hires and those are people who wanted to be successful.”

Good coaching hires is how he explains the fact that the Eagles didn’t suffer in the won-loss column through all the changes. In the last month, the two coaches who took teams to NCAA tournaments – men’s soccer coach Bill Lawler and woman’s basketball coach Kristin Kunzman – have moved on.

Still, the Eagles have been soaring, and Seidman’s job is to keep them that way.

“It’s not as though we need to start from scratch,” he said. “I’m going to be more of the big picture guy. The ownership change won’t have a big impact on our department. We need to be somewhat autonomous.

“There is definitely a commitment to improve, and that has been made aware to me (by the administration). My job is to advocate for the coaches, for the department.”

And, he adds, the student-athletes, with whom he plans on having a hands-on relationship. “The teams belong to the players,” he says. “It’s their team.”

Seidman wants communication between programs so everyone knows how the other teams are doing.

“I don’t want a system of little islands,” he said. “It would be kind of ironic for the coaches to go out there and preach ‘team, team, team’ if they’re not part of one.”

Seidman had been part of the same team for 15 straight years, having gone to Brandeis for both undergrad and grad school, playing basketball there and holding various jobs in the athletic department.

“Every once in a while I’ll have a nostalgic moment,” he said.

The son-in-law of former Concord High School football coach Bob Camirand, Seidman never wanted to take his career out of the region and loves “the idea of the New England campus.”

So when a former colleague at Brandeis, who now works at DWC, informed him of the opening, he took note.

“There are limited opportunities in New England,” Seidman said. “An AD job doesn’t open up every day, or a position where you have great coaches (to work with). I wasn’t convinced it was the spot for me until I met with the coaches and the student athletes on the search committee. It intrigued me, got me interested.”

Seidman’s first two goals are to improve recruiting and improve DWC’s community involvement.

“I know there’s been short-term success,” he said. “What I want to do is look at things in terms of long-term recruiting. … We need to at least establish ourselves as consistent.”

Thus he will sit down with each coach and the two will mutually come up with “a number” signifying recruiting goals. Seidman wants to see deeper rosters to help strengthen the programs.

Academically, he says DWC’s student athletes have their highest collective GPA ever, so a standard has been set.

Next is to increase the athletic department’s visibility in the area.

“We’re going to do a lot more community service,” he said, saying it will be part of each team’s function. “We’re in Nashua, we’re going to get more involved with Nashua. That’s something that will help the programs expand.”

And then he’ll be able to tackle any other expansion, such as facilities. But first thing’s first, he says.

“There’s a ton of potential,” he said. “We need to start looking at the big picture.”