Shepherd moves to new athletic director
On July 1, Shepherd will have a new athletic director. For the past six years, B.J. Pumroy had that role, but his contract was not renewed and a change is forthcoming.
Where once the athletic director position at Shepherd was not one that drew much public notice or attention, in this age of a continued rise in women’s sports it has become filled with more interest.
Funding for the various sports now a vital part of Shepherd athletics. Keeping up with the Joneses of the Mountain East Conference and all of the NCAA Division II schools is a difficult task at best. Being outstripped in terms of money can lead to stagnation or being outlapped by the competition.
The unparalleled success of Shepherd’s football team last season brought an increased focus on just how unusual that 13-1 season was.
Shepherd does not have the scholarship money for football grants that most of its opponents do and certainly not the money Indiana (Pa.), Slippery Rock (Pa.) or Grand Valley State (Michigan) do . . . and those are the teams the Rams defeated en route to Kansas City and the national championship game.
Ram Nation and the Gridiron Club raise funds and some dollars were gleaned from select parking spots on football Saturdays behind the library and science building, but nothing compared with schools that are fully funded and are near the maximum number of grants allowed by NCAA rules.
To compete on a national level more often, more money will be necessary.
The same situation applies to men’s basketball. Shepherd does not have the number of grants allowed by the NCAA.
In its own conference, despite not having the overall funding, Shepherd is competitive and then some.
The football team was the Mountain East Conference champion as was the baseball team, golf team and lacrosse team.
During Pumroy’s six-year tenure there were coaching changes in lacrosse, softball, volleyball, baseball, women’s soccer and women’s basketball.
The lacrosse team has won every Mountain East Conference championship available to it. The women’s basketball team won the 2014-15 conference championship and the baseball team has been the regular season champion in all three years of the Mountain East’s existence. The baseball team won the 2016 conference tournament and reached the NCAA postseason’s Atlantic Region tournament twice in the past three seasons.
Athletic success at Shepherd has come despite not having the funding that most of its Mountain East rivals have . . . and not being the financial equal of any of the 15 schools in the neighboring Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
Was the football season that ended on national television in Kansas City a once-in-a-lifetime happening?
Without more funding for grants or improvements to its existing indoor or outdoor facilities it just might be.
On July 1 a new broom sweeps into the athletic director’s office . . . the same as it has swept into the school president’s office.