Memorial names varsity athletics director
By Jeff Green
A familiar face on Memorial’s St. John’s campus has a new job.
Michelle Healey, who has been the program co-ordinator with Memorial Athletics since 1999, is the university’s first-ever full-time director of athletics.
Ms. Healey has been appointed to her new position in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation effective immediately. She’ll report to the school’s director Dr. Mary Bluechardt.
“I’m really excited to take on this new challenge and to begin to lead Memorial in this new position,” she said. “I believe my past experience as a student athlete and as employee involved in the delivery of Memorial’s athletics programs and services will provide me with greater insight on many issues.
“As a result of my passion for sport, I’ve spent a great deal of time observing and analyzing the way we operate and envisioning how we might be able to do things better and in the best interest of maximizing the sport experience of our student athletes,” Ms. Healey added. “Athletic programs within a university setting offer great value to the institution in that they have an ability create spirit on campus, add marketing value to the university and provide elite athletes with an opportunity to pursue their sporting goals while completing post-secondary studies.”
Ms. Healey is no stranger to pursuing sports while studying. She was a top student athlete while attending Memorial and has completed both her bachelor and master’s degrees in physical education here at the university.
She brings a wealth of experience and a passion for athletics to the new position, said Dr. Bluechardt.
“She also brings established working relationships in various departments across campus, and in the community. Michelle is no stranger to university sport and has been an active participant around the athletic director’s table in Atlantic Canada for a number of years. She is also well respected by her peers,” said Dr. Bluechardt.
As director of athletics, Ms. Healey will be responsible for developing, promoting, managing and evaluating the varsity athletics programs at Memorial. Other duties will also include leading and overseeing the management of the university’s varsity sports programs; building and fostering a team environment for Memorial athletics; and serving as the primary ambassador for all athletics programs, the university and its partners.
Ms. Healey will also establish and direct fundraising and corporate sponsorship programs, while cultivating a network of support locally, provincially and nationally through marketing and communications strategies, while fostering positive relationships with the community and media.
It’ll all add to a lot of hard work and long hours, but Ms. Healey said she’s ready for the challenge.
“As a first priority, we’ll begin to shape a vision for the future of Memorial Athletics and build towards developing a strategic plan for our department,” she said. “This plan will enable us to be visionary and also help keep on track from a delivery perspective.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Healey would like re-connect current students with athletic alumni.
“This is a newly created position, so there are so many great opportunities that lie ahead in making Memorial one of the top schools of choice for many student athletes,” she said.
For her part, Dr. Bluechardt said the director of athletics will help the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation offer innovative programming that allows students to reach their true potential and become top student athletes.
“A solid and thriving Varsity Athletics Program has the potential to make a significant contribution to the marketing of Memorial University,” she said.