In taking over the position of Director of Athletics at Springfield College, one isn’t just taking over an ordinary college athletic department; one is taking over a dominant Division III athletics powerhouse.
That’s what Dr. Craig Poisson is tasked to do.
Poisson, who has spent the past 19 years as a member of the Springfield College Athletics staff, will succeed Cathie Schweitzer as Director of Athletics starting July1. The announcement was made on April 14 after an extensive search process to determine the right candidate for the job.
“This has absolutely been a goal of mine,” Poisson said in regards to landing the job. “I made it clear in my on-campus interviews to the audience that I was not interested in being a Director of Athletics. I wanted to be the Director of Athletics at Springfield College.”
Poisson has held the position of Senior Associate Director of Athletics at Springfield College since 2007. Poisson earned his masters and doctoral degrees at Springfield as well. His father was the Director of Athletics at the University of Bridgeport, and his mother is a member of five different athletic hall of fames. Essentially, the job is in his blood.
“I set foot on this campus in the late 1980’s, and quite honestly this has been a goal since then,” Poisson said. He explained that ever since he was in grade school, he’s wanted to be an athletic director. Having worked under the previous three athletic directors, Poisson brings both firsthand experience and wisdom to the job.
“My goal was to learn from others as I went along, so that I could put myself into the position to take over as director of athletics someday,” Poisson said.
Poisson is set to replace Schweitzer, who’s carved out quite the career for herself at Springfield College. Schweitzer was named the first female director of athletics in 2000. Under her watch, the Pride has seen their success on and off the field. In the fall of 2013, Springfield student-athletes had the highest average GPA in school history.
“To honor the legacy of Cathie Schweitzer is definitely something important in my role,” Poisson said. “And that legacy recently has attained terrific success, regardless of how one measures success. So yes, the bar has been raised for me.”
It’s hard to deny that Springfield College isn’t an athletic-based institute. With 26 competitive varsity sport programs and a knowledgeable fan base, being in charge of a program like Springfield’s is an attractive job.
“To me it’s the model program of what Division III athletics should be like,” Poisson explained. “But the real separator is the students. The job of the Director of Athletics is to look out for the student athletes. I think we have exceptional student-athletes, that’s the driver.” Poisson explained that a veteran-laden coaching staff and excellent facilities make Springfield an even more attractive location.
Given that he still has a few months until he officially takes over the job, Poisson still has some time to think about some of his first moves as Director of Athletics.
“There’s nothing specific right now, because it has been a whirlwind couple of days,” Poisson said. “So that time will come, improvements and moving forward will happen, but anything specific I’m not prepared to say right now.”
The past 19 years have prepared Poisson for the role. He’s had firsthand experience learning from some of the best Directors of Athletics in Springfield College history, and now it’s his chance to shine.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Poisson said. “I’d like to thank President Cooper and the search committee, and I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running.”