The beginning of the 2012 fall semester brought the surprise announcement that Athletic Director Tim Hale would retire immediately.
Hale says his decision to leave the position he had held for nine years did not come easy, but it was important to him nonetheless.
“There are a number of reasons I chose to retire,” Hale said. “My wife and I lost our oldest son in an accident 16 years ago and our other son has lived in North Carolina for a number of years. We wanted to be able to see him and his new wife more often. We are both in our late 60s and after 44 years working, we wanted a slower paced life with time to do more things together. As you say, the time was right.”
His final day on campus was Aug. 23 and as he left the campus as athletic director for the final time, he also left behind nine years of memories and accomplishments.
A year after graduating from SUNY Cortland, Hale began his career as a 22-year-old coach, and for the next 44 years continued his career in either a coaching or an administrative position. He spent 27 years at the University of Rochester, 25 of those years coaching track and field and cross country and the final two years as the assistant athletic director. From there, he left to take the position as athletic director at a large high school in the Rochester area which held 65 athletic teams, but during his three years there, he realized that his true passion was collegiate athletics. So when the position for athletic director opened up at Oswego State, Hale applied and was hired in the summer of 2003.
“There were many reasons why Oswego was attractive,” Hale said. “I was a graduate of a state university and really believed in the quality and affordable education they provide to students. Another very important element was the fact that Oswego seemed to be making great strides forward. Everything I was able to learn told me that there was a strong leadership at the college and that the future there looked very bright.”
When Hale took the position as Oswego State athletic director, he was stepping into a role that fit him and surrounded him with good people, but he could see that there was still room for improvement.
“We had many outstanding coaches who worked tirelessly to produce good teams and we had a lot of dedicated athletes who wanted to achieve,” Hale said. “However, there were also some shortcomings that needed to be addressed. Our budgets were not adequate, our facilities needed upgrading and we needed to increase staffing and make part-time jobs into full time positions.”
During Hale’s tenure as athletic director, he had goals that evolved to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the athletic program. According to Hale, the budgets for each team are now comparable to peer institutions and provide the type of funding needed to be competitive. Almost every sport now has a full-time head coach, there have been two administrative positions added and a third athletic trainer was hired this summer. Both hockey teams now have a full-time assistant coach, the amount of staff assigned to academic support for athletes has increased and Hale believes that the staff will continue to grow in the future to meet the needs of the student athletes.
During Hale’s time at Oswego, there have also been multiple improvements made to the facilities. The advancement carrying the most weight was the construction of the Campus Center Ice Arena, which not only had a positive impact on the hockey teams but on the entire campus. Other advancements include new scoreboards at every athletic venue, improved bleachers and sound systems for outdoor events, improvements on the field used for field hockey and lacrosse and most recently the renovation of Romney Field House.
Hale knows that he could not have made these advancements without the help and support of his colleagues.
“I do not believe I singly accomplished the improvements that have been made in the nine years I was at Oswego,” Hale said. “I had the support of the administration, the athletic staff, the Intercollegiate Athletic Board and many others at the college and in the community. Together I think we accomplished many important things.”
Even with the number of improvements made, Hale feels that there is still plenty of work to be done, especially with the school’s outdoor facilities, which according to Hale are
significantly behind the other SUNYAC members. He said that Oswego State will soon be the only SUNYAC school without an artificial turf field, most other schools in conference have a modest stadium in conjunction with the field, along with facilities for restrooms, concessions and ticket sales. The renovation of Romney Field House will help from a practice standpoint, but will not provide for proper home competitions. Before Hale left Oswego, he said that plans were in the works to correct these problems.
“The positive side of this is that the college leadership is aware of these needs and is working to address these needs,” Hale said. “I am confident that the college will soon announce a major renovation to Laker Hall as well as the construction of a turf field and track stadium.”
But these future decisions will now be looked over by a new athletic director, which for the time being is interim athletic director Cora Brumley, who was promoted on Aug. 23. Even though Brumley is currently just in an interim position, Hale feels that she would be a great candidate to officially take the position.
“I think Cora Brumley will do a great job as the interim athletic director,” Hale said. “I have worked very closely with her for several years and she knows everything she needs to know to guide the department. She has been involved in decision making for athletics ever since she arrived and she has led many aspects of the program already. I think she is very strong candidate for the position and I hope she gets the opportunity to be the next athletic director there.”
Now that Hale has made his decision and is moving on to a new chapter, there are still plenty of memories that he will carry with him and never forget.
“I have many fond memories,” Hale said. “Most of them involve great individual performances by student athletes such as Neil Musselwhite, Tenk Agyeman, Chad Burridge, Kayla Ryan, Maureen Kasperek, Katie Carbonaro and the many other great performers we have had. From a team aspect, the men’s ice hockey national championship was tremendously exciting as was last year’s SUNYAC men’s basketball title. The energy and excitement, especially in big and important contests, are something I always looked forward to and I will remember many of those Oswego moments forever.”