Since former Director of Athletics Tim Hale retired unexpectedly before the 2012 fall semester, Oswego State’s athletic program has been searching for his replacement.
As of June 1, the search will officialy be over. Current Hilbert College Athletic Director and previous Oswego State women’s soccer coach Susan Viscomi has been hired for the position.
There were more than 40 candidates with various levels of experience lobbying for the position, according to Associate Vice President and Dean of Students James Scharfenberger. The search committee selected the most qualified to interview and out of those candidates Viscomi stood out most, due to the amount of experience she will bring to the position.
“At her previous position at Hilbert College out near Buffalo, she had been asked to build a program from the ground up and so she had a lot of experience with resource management, with development, providing the basis for recruiting coaches, students and programs,” Scharfenberger said.
Before taking her position at Hilbert, Viscomi was Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator at Hamilton College for 13 years, as well as the Interim Athletic Director from 2006-07. During her time at Hamilton, she was also the head women’s soccer coach for three years, after spending seven years as Oswego State’s head women’s soccer coach.
Scharfenberger, who had been part of the decision-making, said other than Viscomi’s experience, her leadership stood out most to the committee.
With more than 30 years of intercollegiate athletics experience, Viscomi has accomplished a lot during her career. She was the first female athletic director at Hilbert College, created a plan that increased the number of full-time staff members and several facility upgrades at Hilbert.
Viscomi was twice named State University of New York Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1996 during her seven years as Oswego State’s women’s soccer coach.
“You really want to hire someone that you feel will provide leadership to the students and the staff,” Scharfenberger said. “You also want somebody who is knowledgeable, so that students and staff can look up to them in terms of their expertise, because as problems come up, you have varying degrees of experience in your department, so some need more help than others. I think that she is a good communicator, she was able to express her philosophy of Division III sports and was able to convince the search committee and the parties she visited on campus that she had the ability to listen.”
Even though Viscomi built Hilbert’s program from the ground up in just the three years she has worked there, coming back to Oswego will be a new opportunity and a pleasant homecoming.
“Having worked at Oswego previously, I very much enjoyed my time there and still have a soft spot in my heart for the Lakers,” Viscomi said. “It was a wonderful opportunity professionally, to direct a larger athletics program (24 versus 13 sports at Hilbert College). The geographic location was also a plus, as I grew up in Ellisburg, N.Y. and still have many family members living in the area. So it was very much a ‘homecoming’ on two fronts and therefore, an excellent fit for me.”
Viscomi said she will waste no time in forming short and long-term goals by meeting with the coaching staff and other department and college administrators during her first day. The next important order of business will be to continue and improve upon projects Hale left behind, such as constructing a new turf field and running track, projects Viscomi believes will help Oswego State compete on a level playing field with the rest of the SUNYAC.
There are many responsibilities that the director of athletics holds, but Viscomi is up for the challenge and excited to get started.
“For me, the most exciting part bar none is watching the student-athletes compete,” Viscomi said. “I had the opportunity to watch the men’s hockey team play for the National Championship in Lake Placid a few weeks ago. Everything I do as an administrator starts and ends with the student-athlete experience. My goal is to make this the best four years of their life, so they will always look back fondly on their time as a Laker.”
According to Scharfenberger, current Interim Athletic Director Cora Brumley is still under contract with the school and will continue to hold a position with the athletic program.