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Athletic dept. fills slots despite freeze

Senior Staff Writer
Sunday, September 13, 2009

Michael Goldberger can breathe easier now.

The Director of Athletics had expected his department to lose about 30 coaches and staff members over the summer and was hardly sure if he would get the approval to replace exiting coaches given the University’s hiring freeze.

To his relief, the athletic department was able to refill all coaching vacancies this summer. “Things went very well for us,” Goldberger said.

Under the freeze, all hires must be approved by a Vacancy Review Committee of top administrators. But given that assistant coaches are given one-year contracts, and the athletic department had already made the necessary cuts to its budget for the next year, the department did not need to have the filling of each assistant coaching position separately approved by the Committee, Goldberger said.

“If you had already made your Fiscal Year 2010 budget, and you had a position that was critical and you were hiring for a year, you got approval,” said Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services.

“These are the kinds of positions where you’re either going to run a program — you’re going to run a team or you’re not,” Klawunn said. “You can’t do it without the assistant coach.”

Brown needed to replace only one head coach over the summer. Men’s hockey coach Roger Grillo resigned to take a position with USA Hockey. Less than two months later, Brown hired Brendan Whittet ’94 to replace Grillo.

The recession has also not affected coaches’ salaries. Whittet was offered a contract similar to those given to other head coaches at Brown, and assistants’ salaries weren’t cut, according to Goldberger.

But the athletics department still had to pay a price. It was not able to refill two positions last spring, one in marketing and promotion and another in game management. The department has also had to cut back on travel expenses.

“It’s not ideal,” Goldberger said. “But understanding all of the sacrifices that everyone is making, we’ll get by.”

The athletics department may not be able to make all of its rehires next summer.
 “The University as a whole will be making cuts, and we’ll be asked to do our share,” Goldberger said.

Even with the economy turning around, the University needs to make more severe cuts in order to make up for last year’s damage, Klawunn said.

“Yes, it’s good that things seem to be going in a more positive direction,” she said. “But we still lost a lot of money that we don’t have, and it’s going to take a long time to make that up.”

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