Claire Voltarel, Campus Carrier News Editor
UPDATE: Yesterday it was announced that Todd Brooks would be the new athletic director at Oglethorpe University.
Earlier this June, Athletic Director Todd Brooks issued this statement, after informing his colleagues of a surprising announcement via email just before.
“I have decided to resign my position as Director of Athletics so that I can pursue other professional challenges and interests that I have,” Brooks said. “I do so with a conflicted heart, however, as I am extremely appreciative of the numerous opportunities Berry College has afforded me.”
His resignation left the Berry athletic department with big shoes to fill. Brooks served as Berry’s athletic director for 19 years, taking the school from NAIA to NCAA, establishing several sports such as football, lacrosse and track and field, and expanding to over 500 students currently participating in athletics.
According to current interim Director of Athletics, Derek Taylor, it was Brooks’ work ethic that left such an impact on the department, aside from his numerous statistical accomplishments.
“Todd was one of those people who would roll up his sleeves and be the first one there and the last one to leave,” Taylor said. “There was no job he felt like he was above.”
The national search for a new athletic director is underway, according to Berry administration. However, the athletic department is currently focused more on present transitioning and taking over Brooks’ responsibilities.
According to Taylor, while he holds the head title, not all the work will fall on his shoulders. Taylor will work with Assistant Athletic Directors David Beasley and Ginger Swann to divide and conquer. Their goal is to keep the department feeling normal and make coaches comfortable in continuing to operate as they would under regular circumstances.
“We’ve got a great administrative team,” Taylor said.
Fortunately, Berry athletics achieved great success last year with a multitude of record breaking seasons. According to Taylor, this success provides motivation going into this year.
“We’ve got a lot of momentum right now in terms of competitively where we are in the league,” Taylor said.
Additionally, Taylor and his colleagues are starting to incorporate some small changes to the department. According to Taylor, they would like to begin a conversation about sportsmanship among the student body.
“We want to put Berry in the best possible light and we want to be treating opponents with respect,” Taylor said.
Taylor reached out to Berry’s ResidentAssistants to enlist their help in informing their residents about sportsmanship and conduct at events. RA’s have begun to post fliers regarding this topic.
The push for sportsmanship is part of the athletic department’s hope to continue their success in athletics, while maintaining their reputation of strong student athletes in the classroom and work force as well, regardless of who’s in charge.
“We don’t know what the long term is going to look like,” Taylor said. “We want to continue to have high performance student athletes off the field.”