Changes in Athletic Administration

By Jake Glover

While many HHS students have heard about the success of the school’s volleyball team, cross country teams, and other fall-season sports, some might not have heard about the changes being implemented in the athletic administration this year.

One of the biggest changes is the new leadership training for captains.

“We are bringing in consultants to do leadership training for our captains,” the new athletic director, Deirdre King, said.  “In the past we had Captains’ Council, which I ran through my role in guidance, and I loved doing that, but this helps bring in different voices so the kids are hearing from other people. Last year, we got a grant through the Hopkinton Education Foundation, which allowed us to bring in some awesome trainers to help our captains with leadership training at the beginning of each season.”

The captains attend this day-long training session throughout one school day toward the beginning of their respective seasons.

“Captains seem to be pretty excited about it, and I love watching the captains implement some of the stuff they’ve learned throughout the season,” King said.

Molly Hawkins, a cross country captain, attended the fall season training early this year.
“I thought there were some really great elements to the captains’ training,” Hawkins said. “What stood out to me was just how much Dana and Deb [the people who led the session] truly believed in our ability to be leaders and have influence on other people’s lives.”

The winter sports captains will attend their training on Dec. 7.

Another big change is the introduction of a Winter Sports Night, which took place Nov. 14.

“The goal is for parents and student athletes to all come together to hear some of the athletic department philosophies and talk a bit about logistics,” King said. “I think there’s a lot of questions that come up throughout the course of a season that are really good questions but could be answered ahead of time, so the goal of Winter Sports Night is to get students and parents the answers to any questions they might have throughout the season.”

Winter Sports Night lasted about an hour and a half, with King’s initial presentation dealing with new and old athletic department guidelines and information.

After King’s presentation, athletes went to information sessions for their specific sports, where they learned about specific tryouts, evaluations, coach contact info and similar information.

On top of these larger changes, King has contributed to some smaller changes that make managing school sports just a little bit easier.

The TVs located in the atrium display bus schedules and game schedules, helping athletes with time management and easing any confusion.

“Something new that’s been kind of helpful is having the TVs out there with bus schedules and game schedules,” King said.  “Having them out there has been helpful for both athletes and coaches.”

The HHS athletics twitter account (@HillersAthletics) has allowed the athletic department to not only help with schedules, but congratulate and acknowledge teams and athletes’ accomplishments, such as the volleyball team’s victory at the State Championships on Nov. 19.

“I send it out on twitter the night before or morning of as well so that people have that too.” King said.  “That’s been a fun avenue of communication to acknowledge student athletes that are doing something really great. “

King, who was an HHS guidance counselor before transitioning to athletic director, has high hopes for the future of Hopkinton athletics.

“In terms of changes, some of it is just me learning it and putting my spin on some of the stuff that’s already happening and just changing some stuff as we go,” King said. “If I were to give you my biggest challenge so far it’s been having so many ideas but not enough time to implement them because of the time I spend learning the job.”