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Shenandoah chooses new athletic director

By Jeremy Stafford — jstafford@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER — After spending six months as Shenandoah University’s co-interim athletic director, SU baseball coach Kevin Anderson can finally step down and hand the reins to a full-time athletic director.

On Thursday, Shenandoah University named Wayne Edwards as the Hornets’ new AD.

Though Anderson said he never met Edwards prior to his interview, the two have lightly treaded the same paths in the past. Anderson was the assistant baseball coach at East Carolina University from 1990-91, just a few years following Edwards’ stint as an associate professor at ECU. Edwards left ECU to become the associate athletic director at Yale University.

Anderson said he and Edwards have mutual friends at ECU, and that Edwards is a “first-class individual.”

“I think it bodes well for us,” Anderson said of Edwards’ hiring. “He has experience at different levels and pushes academics.

“He has experience at a variety of different schools academics-wise.”

Following his three-year tour at Yale, Edwards became the athletic director at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. In 1995 he became the athletic director at Division I Towson University, a position he held until 2006, when he retired.

Edwards is Shenandoah’s fourth full-time athletic director, following John Hill, who had been with Shenandoah since 2002. Hill resigned in May, leaving Anderson and SU men’s and women’s tennis coach Kim Scruton to split athletic department responsibilities until Edwards was hired.

“I am extremely grateful to [Shenandoah] President [Tracy] Fitzsimmons and the search committee for providing this tremendous opportunity, and for the confidence they have shown in me,” Edwards stated in the press release. “I am very excited about the future for Shenandoah athletics, and am proud to be a part of this great university.”

At Towson, Edwards proved to be an involved, progressive athletic director. According to the press release, Edwards oversaw construction on Towson’s Johnny Unitas Stadium and John B. Schuerholz Park. With the SU baseball team still playing on Bridgeforth Field at Jim Barnett Park, Anderson said Edwards might continue at Shenandoah what he did at Towson.

“I would imagine with [Edwards’] experience that he will be handy,” Anderson said of the prospect of his baseball team playing on a renovated field.

But Anderson also noted that Edwards’ success as an athletic director at the Division I level shouldn’t have any effect, for better or worse, on his ability to succeed at the Division III level.

“It really has no bearing,” Anderson said. “At the D-I, D-II, D-III level, structure is the key … structure, organization, and getting everyone to work toward the same mission and getting the same goal.”

In other words, the daily operations at Shenandoah should really be no different than they were at Towson, especially considering Shenandoah boasts a 20-sport intercollegiate athletics program, similar to the 19-sport program Edwards oversaw at Towson.

Edwards will take over as full-time athletic director Jan. 4.

Anderson said he enjoyed his time as co-interim athletic director, and is thankful for the opportunity to work simultaneously with SU’s coaches and student-athletes. Though he didn’t apply for the AD opening, Anderson admitted that his brief time as athletic director has piqued his interest in one day becoming an athletic director himself. As he and the Hornets are fresh off a Division III College World Series appearance, however, Anderson likely won’t pursue an AD position anytime soon.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the dual role as assistant AD and baseball coach,” he said. “To try to keep athletics heading in the right direction, it was a learning experience.”