By Kristen Griffith, The Whetstone
Senior Patrick Schlosser said he liked that Coach Mike Drass was both athletic director and football head coach.
It was only when he joined the track and soccer teams that he thought twice about it.
“I don’t think you can blame him but he’s a little biased towards football,” he said. “It’s a problem, but it’s what we have to deal with.”
Drass became the athletic director in 2005, ten years after he became the head football coach. As AD, he directs 17 sports.
“I think when you’re at a small private school that’s tuition driven, it’s expected,” he said of his dual role.
Drass said Division I schools may have that luxury since they bring in millions of dollars, but Wesley does not.
“For Wesley College to be functional, this is what we have to do,” he said. “It’s not as if other schools that are the same size as us don’t all do the same thing.”
However, of Wesley College’s 33 peer institutions – schools similar to Wesley, which include Belmont Abbey College, Thomas Moore College and Cedar Crest College – only six of them have an athletic director who is also a head coach.
Out of the 442 active NCAA Division III schools, only 17 percent of them have ADs who also serve as head coaches.
Michael Duffy, athletic director at Adrian College in Michigan, one of Wesley’s peer institutions, said that although he is only the athletic director, he is not opposed to someone being both an AD and a head coach.
“I think each institution has to evaluate (being both) on their own campus,” he said. “To be a head coach, in my opinion, would be very difficult.”
Duffy, who directs 38 sports and manages 80 staff members, said he would not have time for head coaching responsibilities like recruiting and preparing for a game. He said he wishes he could since he coached football and baseball for 22 years.
Bill Schepel, athletic director and head coach of the women’s volleyball team at Trinity Christian College, said everyone on their athletic staff has two jobs.
“It’s been that way since I’ve been here,” he said.
Schepel said Trinity, one of Wesley’s peer institutions, said its budgeting disallows them to have one job, but the school is looking to transition to a full-time athletic director.
“Our administration identifies that that’s a need,” he said.
He predicts the department will have another year or two until they make the full transition.
Schepel said he’s unable to give 100 percent to both coaching and directing.
“In the six years I’ve done both, I haven’t been able to give my full attention to each of them,” he said. “Hours I simply don’t have.”
Schepel said he’s guilty of conflicting interests when he has to evaluate his staff.
“As I supervise head coaches, I’m often put in a hypocritical situation,” he said. “I’m on staff and I’m in charge of them at the same time.”
Schlosser said Drass does well as an athletic director under the circumstances.
“From what I know, he does a good job with what we have,” he said. “The college in and of itself doesn’t have the greatest facilities for athletics.”
Summer Stone, a soccer and lacrosse player, said Drass does a good job with being an athletic director.
“For the most part, I think that the sports teams are treated equally,” the senior said. “There are some sports, like football, that have more publicity but those teams are also the more successful teams here at Wesley.”
Stone said she notices when Drass shows support to other teams.
“From experience, if there is a team on the field or waiting to go on the field when football is practicing, he always tells the team good luck if they have a game coming up,” she said. “I think Coach Drass does a good job at balancing being the athletic director and head football coach.”
Drass said the previous head football coach, Tim Keating, was not an athletic director, but Wesley held several athletic directors who were also head coaches.
Drass said Michele Stabley, who coached women’s basketball for nine years, held the position. Before her, Scott Burnam, who coached men’s lacrosse for eight years, also served as the athletic director. Prior to that, the 27-year men’s soccer coach, Steve Clark, held the position after Bob Reed, the 15-year baseball coach whose name bears the baseball field.
“Coach (James) Wentworth who was the legendary men’s basketball coach, he was the AD, so even back in the ‘60s,” Drass said.
Drass said he’s never been told holding both titles was a conflict of interest and never noticed any biases with his predecessors.
But football and track athlete DaJahn Lowery said he has.
“We probably get a little more practice time,” he said.
Lowery said the track team doesn’t get the same exposure.
“We don’t get acknowledgements,” he said. “This past year we won nationals and we don’t even get (championship) rings for that. That’s kind of crazy.”
During half time at the Wesley vs. Salisbury football game, Lowery said Salisbury held a short ceremony for their 4×4 track team and they received championship rings.
“I felt some type of way about that,” he said. “We should at least have a ceremony or something. These past four years, track has really came a long way and a lot of people really don’t know that.”
In the last issue of the Whetstone, the story, “Ticket Sales Show Football Most Popular Fall Sport,” reports that football tickets double the amount of tickets sold for women’s soccer, men’s soccer and field hockey games.
But tickets are only consistently sold at football games.
“The most consistently charged admission sport is football,” Brett Ford, director of sports information, said. “Security takes care of admission at those games due to the larger amount of people.”
He said they do their best to staff every game, but they often fall short.
“When I don’t have enough students to staff the entire game, ticket sales is one of the first things to get cut,” he said.
Drass said he doesn’t think there are any advantages or disadvantages to having two jobs. He said a few other coaches hold administrative positions as well.
“It’s something that we expect,” he said. “I’ve never heard any of the coaches complain.”