By Sean Savage
“It is nice when you are new someplace, and everyone is just really welcoming,” said Miriam Esber, Springfield College’s recently hired Assistant Athletic Director for Recruiting and Retention and Student-Athlete Leadership Development.
In just her first three weeks, Esber has found her footing here on Alden Street. Previously, Esber attended The College of Wooster, where she designed her own major, Sports in Society. She was also a decorated, two-sport athlete, playing both field hockey and lacrosse and earning accolades as two-time All-American and three-time All-Conference selection.
After graduating in 2002, Esber cultivated coaching experience all over the Northeast.
Esber served as the head coach of the Hartwick College women’s lacrosse team, guiding the Hawks to 20 wins in three years and winning the NYSWCAA Championship. She also held an assistant coaching position at Ithaca College, helping them to the Empire Eight Championship and a trip to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
In her last coaching stop, Esber headed the Mount Holyoke women’s lacrosse team.
And then COVID happened. But for Esber, it happened for the better – aside from the effects of the pandemic – as it served as a gateway to diversify her career.
“It allowed me a good opportunity to say, ‘All right, I need to try something else now.’”
And she did just that. Esber found herself at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences.
She was the Graduate Admissions and Enrollment Coordinator but soon found that she missed the athletics side of things.
“I missed working with student-athletes, as I just was not able to do that at Amherst,” Esber said.
She knew a few people from the department at Springfield and would soon find herself sitting in room 304 at Blake Arena, acclimating to the new position.
“Everybody has been so nice and friendly,” Esber said. “They had my picture on the Pridenet website, and random people have been congratulating me.”
Esber works with admissions and coaches to ensure student-athlete recruitment is handled smoothly. She also will be tasked with spearheading student-athlete leadership development: restarting the Pride Leadership Academy, Pass Program and SALT (student-athlete leadership team).
Esber will also aid other programs that student-athletes participate in by bringing in guest speakers.
“Anything that is student-athlete related that is outside of their athletic practices I work with,” Esber said.
Esber is excited to see how the year will unfold.
“I enjoy working with student-athletes,” Esber said. “I hope to mentor some of them and make their time here enjoyable. Also, helping the coaches provide a good experience is another big aspect as well.”
She is bringing her experience recruiting as a coach and in general at Amherst and hopes to make a direct impact immediately.
“It is fun to be part of an athletic department that is really competitive,” Esber said. “Springfield has a lot of Pride in its athletics, which is really enjoyable.”
Esber also knows how mentally taxing athletics can be as a former player, coach, and now working in the field.
“I know mental health is a huge component and will be in the coming years,” Esber said.
Through all this, she is most excited to build bridges, connections and help the Springfield community continue to grow.
“I am really open to students coming to meet with me: I am really approachable and always happy to talk to folks,” Esber said. “I have much experience, so I may be new to Springfield, but I am not new to athletics as a whole.”
Photo courtesy of Springfield College