Cora Brumley has been preparing for a dozen years for an opportunity to make her dream a reality. From her time studying at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to her time as the assistant athletic director at Oswego State, each step Brumley has taken over the last 12 years has been in an effort to become the head of a public, Division Three school with national championship aspirations.
On Aug. 23, Brumley’s dream was actualized when she was named interim athletic director on the same day her predecessor, Tim Hale, retired from the position he had held for nine years, six of which she assisted.
“I hoped that I would be considered but you have no way of knowing for sure until it actually happened,” Brumley said. “I initially expressed my interest with Jim Scharfenberger and subsequently he had a meeting with me.”
Scharfenberger is the school’s associate vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management as well as the Dean of Students. Along with a search committee, he decided that Brumley was the right choice for the job and offered her the interim position.
“It’s a search committee that does the personnel searches and I was part of the committee. I was responsible for meeting with and talking to candidates,” said Scharfenberger, who has worked with Brumley since she arrived at Oswego State.
According to Scharfenberger, former Athletic Director Tim Hale also played a role in Brumley’s hiring.
“In this case, the former athletic director was the primary person responsible for determining the kind of skills that might be necessary for a candidate,” Scharfenberger said. “So I didn’t describe any particular skills that were required for the position; it was Hale who did that, along with the search committee.”
When Scharfenberger met with Brumley, their meeting was not as in-depth as she imagined it would be. They discussed basic topics of importance, such as the objectives of the job, as well as the expectations and challenges that they have to deal with. Scharfenberger went into the meeting knowing that he had a great candidate for the position in Brumley.
“You want to make sure the person has an awareness of the athletic program and the awareness of some of the detail required because you’re working with the NCAA and there is an awful lot of compliance detail. They have to be knowledgeable,” Scharfenberger said. “We wanted someone who was an administrator and has the skills to manage those things. By appointing Ms. Brumley as interim, we believed she had the skills to carry us through that period of time.”
While a national search will be conducted, Brumley is going to do whatever she can to hold her position and eventually have the interim tag removed. She has worked extremely hard and waited so long for what she described as the perfect opportunity.
“The last 12 years, I have been working very hard to prepare myself for an opportunity like this,” Brumley said. “My plan was very specific and I took strategic steps to hopefully be able to achieve that dream job.”
Brumley received her master’s degree in business administration at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. After finishing her undergraduate studies, she was hired by the school to work in their athletic department, where she eventually earned the title of assistant athletic director.
When Brumley discovered that Oswego State was looking for an assistant athletic director in 2006, she jumped at the opportunity.
“It was the first fulltime secondary administrator with the assistant athletic director position, so I knew I would have the opportunity to gain experience in all areas of athletic administration,” Brumley said. “Oswego State met all of my criteria and had championship potential, and I was fortunate to be proven right with the Men’s 2007 hockey national championship,”
Brumley is looking to not only maintain success, but also build upon it in her role.
“I think that every year for every team it is about incremental improvement,” Brumley said. “For a team that consistently gets into the NCAA tournament, it might be one more win in that tournament. For a team that is still working to be in the top tier of SUNYAC, it might be winning one more game or two more games. It’s all about incremental progress to get to where you want to be. If you are constantly improving, then you will get better and reach your goals.”
Brumley feels that her experience as the interim Athletic Director this past month may help her secure the position moving forward.
“I look forward to competing for the position and I think that anytime that you have direct experience with a job you aspire to hold that will benefit you in the application process,” Brumley said.
The national search will continue and will likely last until next spring. While there are no guarantees of keeping the athletic director position, Brumley’s finally living out the dream she had imagined for all those years.