Inside Athletics: The players that aren't on the field
By Maxmilian Robinson
When a sports team becomes successful, it's easy to point to the players on the field or court since they’re the most visible. What about the moments outside of the games and practices that no one talks about? Or finding new athletes? Meet the Adelphi Athletic Department, the people who are responsible for creating the AU Panther teams, from the coaching staff and players to the trainers who help the athletes grow into young men and women.
Danny McCabe, director of Athletics and Campus Recreation, manages 23 athletic teams consisting of 400 student athletes, as well as 100 employees. And he has a mission for all of them.
“Our goal is to provide the best experience for our student athletes and employees,” he said. “We also aim to keep our alumni, families and friends of the programs connected to the university. The [campus recreation] portion of our department facilitates all recreation, intramurals and club sports for the entire campus community.”
McCabe has almost completed his ninth season at the helm, after working at Fordham University, Fairfield University, the University of Miami, Providence College and nearby Hofstra University.
Athletic Director Danny McCabe
Then there’s assistant athletic director Ian Schraier who lends a helping hand in the process. He’s had that role since September 2019, yet his resume spans over two decades within the athletic department business.
“I am responsible for overseeing the promotion and publicity of the university's 23 [NCAA Division II] varsity programs,” he said. “While I also handle the school's athletic website, I am the primary media contact for the men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis, women's basketball, bowling and baseball teams.”
Schraier graduated with a bachelor's degree in broadcasting from Long Island University (LIU) Post in 2007, then handled media relations as sports information director at Molloy College (2008-’13), returned to LIU to become the athletic media relations director (2013-’17) and then was assistant commissioner for strategic communications at the CUNY Athletic Conference from (2017-’19).
Assistant Athletic Director Ian Schraier
Keith Ferrara, director of Adelphi’s sports performance, is responsible for the implementation and oversight of the entire strength and conditioning program for all teams on campus. Currently in his eighth year with the Panthers, he spent three years as the lead strength and conditioning coach of the USTA New York Training Center.
“I am also responsible for management of the refueling station where we provide the athletes with bars, shakes and other nutritional options they can grab throughout the day,” Ferrara said.
Jessica Rogue is the associate director of athletics for compliance and administration on the Garden City campus. After working nine years in college athletics overall at LIU, University of New Haven, Dowling College, Queens College, Widener University, she will be entering her third year at Adelphi this September.
“[In a nutshell,] my role is making sure everyone, both student athletes and coaching staff, are eligible to participate with teams each semester,” she said. “Additionally, [outside of compliance] I am the sport supervisor for our field hockey, softball, women's soccer and men's and women's tennis programs.”
These athletic members play a huge part in the overall team structures for success. Moreover, their positions allow them to make the calls on sporting events, but also bond closer with the athletes.
“[Each week] I have the pleasure of working with our coaches and student athletes,” McCabe said. “As student athletes progress throughout their career and assume leadership roles, I have the opportunity to get to know them better and work with them on various initiatives.”
Schraier said he considers “being 'connected' to the student athletes an imperative part of my day-to-day responsibilities. Not only do I acknowledge the student athletes that I walk past, I am also reaching out to the student athletes weekly, in effort to produce video features on their personal life experiences or accomplishments.”
Panther athletes sometimes become a bit “worried” when having to be called into Rogue’s offices, but she explains that her bonding time, outside of the compliance office is what makes her connection with them unbreakable.
“I have had the privilege of traveling with the softball team as their sport supervisor for their beginning of the year road trip to North Carolina,” she said. “It's times like these that are the most enjoyable and student athletes see me on a different level because I'm not there on the trip to make sure people are following rules.”
We may think that the team captains or coaches are the only leaders of an organized sport. However, there are other departments that play a huge role in shaping people to be who they are.
“The best part of my job is working with student athletes and ensuring they have a positive experience while here,” Rogue said. “I worked diligently to get a waiver processed for one of our athletes to be eligible to compete, and the student athlete sent me a very nice email thanking me for all the work I put in to get them eligible.”
“Having the opportunities to produce these videos on our coaches, student-athletes and fellow athletic administrators allows me to learn a side of them that I have not before,” Schraier said. “It helps us look past the fact that we are more than just the engine that drives an athletic department, or we are more than just student athletes or a coach. It really drives home the personal relationship.”
Without the Athletic Department staff overseeing what goes on, AU teams wouldn't necessarily be as successful. While they may not be playing on the court or field, their surveillance of the games is making Adelphi an awesome place to be for student athletes.
“I am extremely lucky and feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with such great people,” Ferrara said.