Eckman promoted



Interim Director of Athletics and Administration Greg Eckman has officially been granted the title of Director of Athletics and Administration. The role will carry with it all the same responsibilities that were attached the interim title, but this is obviously a vote of confidence from NVU, soon to be VTSU, for Eckman.

“It’s really exciting, having that interim tag removed recently. It gave us a boost of confidence,” says Eckman. “We’ve been working really hard since the beginning of this year for our student athletes coming out of COVID. We’ve had a lot of new hires throughout the athletic department, a lot of coaches and athletes have taken chances to compete through COVID and to do what it takes. And the fact that the administration, President Mills, and the leadership above him as well, that they felt confident that our athletics do mean something, and that our coaches are good, and that our athletes are stellar students. It just shows that what we do here is important and it just shows that what we’ve been doing here over the last month is working. Our athletes, who have found a platform for their voices, continued on some of the great work of our predecessors here, which I still often reach out to; Miles Smith, Jamie Ventura, Chad Copeland, Elaine Harvey, and other individuals who’ve been in our athletic department, we also have great relationships. So, it’s great to have a history through the athletic department to pull from and then look to the vision of the future which is continuing recruitment of student athletes from all over the country, continued canvassing of the state of Vermont to make sure we identify great athletes here and provide them with an opportunity at Johnson to play. Continuing to figure out how we can better support our coaches and our student athletes; to build their rosters and then when our student athletes are here, how best can we support them? How can we focus on their mental wellbeing? How can we focus on holistically taking care of that athlete and that human being so they can go out there and compete and have fun?

“It’s a game. We’re so fortunate to play a game and so blessed to be a part of the game when there’s so many real-world things going on. Our student athletes are actively involved in racial justice initiatives; and social justice programs; taking leadership roles with resource centers on campus that create a safe space for our BIPOC community and allies; to helping create our anti-racism pledge. We want to continue putting the power into our student athletes, we want to continue to elevate them and lift them up and to help them grow along the way, all while participating in sports. That’s been very crucial to their growth and development as a human. So, we’re looking forward to continuing to learn as coaches and educators and as administrators, and to grow with our student athletes as they grow themselves. Each new group of student athletes come in with a different vision and how they want to see things and their expectations on what college and athletics should be, and it’s fun growing with them along the way too.”

Eckman says that dropping the interim tag from his job title isn’t going to deeply impact what he has been doing on campus all along. “It’s kinda like a birthday,” he says. “You wake up the next day and you’re still there. The Job didn’t change, but what it did do is give a confidence to my athletic staff and to myself and my coaches that, you know, we’re doing something right. They wouldn’t have removed that tag if things were going in the wrong direction, so that gave confidence in the new hires that we’ve been taking on. It gave confidence in the new hires that their job is appreciated, that their hard work is not going to waste, and that there’s a future for them and their families here as they grow and as they want to build the community here around now, which they’ve done a phenomenal job of. I feel very humbled to be in this position. It’s just an amazing opportunity.”