Changes to various roles within Athletics

The following is from President Diane E. Melby on changes within the OLLU Saints Athletics program.

There are currently 12 schools in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) plus one with special status for a total of 13 colleges. According to RRAC Commissioner Tony Stigliano, nine or 60% have full-time Athletic Directors. Most programs with full-time Athletic Directors field seven to eight teams. OLLU has one of the largest programs in the conference with 17 teams. In fall 2020, 311 student-athletes participated in one or more competitive programs which is approximately 24 percent of OLLU’s undergraduate enrollment. 

Athletics has grown in importance to the university’s enrollment and retention objectives. Therefore, effective May 1, 2021, the following changes will be made within Athletics. First, the position of Athletic Director will be converted to a full-time position. Shane Hurley, who was the first coach hired at OLLU when athletics began in 2007, currently holds a joint position of Men’s Soccer Head Coach and Athletic Director. Hurley will now serve as Athletic Director in a full-time capacity.

Second, the administration of the soccer program will be adjusted to accommodate a vacancy in the head coach position. Currently, the women’s and men’s soccer teams each have a full-time head coach and share a full-time assistant. Beginning May 1, Arthur Salazar will serve as head coach for both teams and each team will be supported by full-time assistants. Salazar started his career in 2008 assisting the men’s and women’s teams, and in 2013, he became head coach for the women’s team. That experience coupled with his record of building a winning record in both competition and academic persistence uniquely qualifies Salazar for this expansion of responsibility.

Finally, replacing the need for a full-time head coach with the hire of assistant coaches frees up funding to appoint a Senior Woman Administrator. This position is vital to the support of female athletes and has long been a priority initiative in the strategic plan for athletics. The position will be filled via internal search open to women connected to athletics and compensated by stipend.