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Facilities Management

So you want to be an AD


Without a doubt, the opportunity to manage facilities is one of the coolest aspects of being an athletics director. But as with so many elements of the job, there’s more to the responsibility than is apparent at first glance.

This section covers the following topics:

  • Access supervision/rotation
  • Scheduling
  • Renting
  • Volunteer management
  • Field maintenance

One luxury you have with facilities as you pursue an athletics director position is that everything is out in the open. You can (and should) make your own evaluation of what the institution has to offer – and perhaps draw some inferences from the condition of the facilities.

But you also should do a little investigating about the institution’s philosophy toward facilities. You should know up front who is responsible for what and what plans are in place. The long-range outlook may be as mundane as refinishing the gym floor or as grandiose as building a new football stadium, but you need to know what the commitments are.

Scheduling your facilities is a special challenge. If your school sponsors a large number of sports in a particular season, the gymnasiums or weight rooms might be in use from before dawn until late at night. It will be up to you (or your staff) to schedule access so that each team gets what it needs and so that everybody is treated as equitably as possible.

And you may have to consider more than just your intercollegiate program. The campus recreation department also may have a claim on facilities, so that’s another ball to juggle.

You also should consider revenue opportunities. At many Division II institutions, the football stadiums also serve as the home field for the local high school team. It’s up to you to set a fair price, keeping in mind the community-relations element of the arrangement.

You should also stay aware of opportunities to make your facility available for high school playoff events. Not only does it give you a chance to showcase your institution, it could also mean some extra money for the program. Sample rental policies from member institutions are included in this section.

During offseasons, your coaches will want to conduct camps to generate more revenue for their programs. Think about the pros and cons of making your facilities available to them at no cost.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does the institution regard the development and updating of facilities as an overall institutional responsibility (rather than the responsibility of the athletics program)?
  • Are fundraising or capital campaigns in place or planned?
  • Are your facilities adequate to support the sports that are sponsored? For northern climates, have you considered the degree to which outdoor sports, especially baseball and softball, might have to use gymnasiums until the weather warms up?
  • To what degree would you be responsible for raising money for facility development or improvement?
  • What is included in the institution’s five-year facility plan?
  • To what degree are the facilities used for campus recreation or classroom purposes?
  • Are you satisfied with the contracts with vendors to periodically update the scoreboards?
  • Does the local high school use one or more or your facilities? What are the ramifications of that arrangement?
  • Who is responsible for maintenance of your facilities? At many Division II institutions, for example, baseball and softball coaches are expected to maintain their fields. Do you have the resources to support a full-time facilities manager and, if so, what would that person’s job description look like?