By JUSTIN RIMPI
While the summer months may have been slow for some of the students and faculty at FDU, the same thing cannot be said about the university’s Athletic Department. After fifteen years as Athletic Director, David Langford retired from the position on June 28, 2018. Cathy Liggett will serve as the Interim Athletic Director as the university looks to fill the void that was left by Mr. Langford’s retirement.
Liggett has been in the FDU Athletic Department since 1990 and was Associate Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations before being named Interim Athletic Director.
Liggett was unable to comment on the ongoing search for a new Athletic Director.
“We are very grateful for what Mr. Langford accomplished in his long run at FDU. Over 15 years, he led our student-athletes to great success, including two national championships, 25 Northeast Conference championships and numerous NCAA tournament appearances.” University President Christopher Capuano said, “Most importantly, he placed great emphasis on academic achievements and as a result our student athletes were very successful in the classroom. He is a terrific human being and we wish him the very best in his retirement.” Capuano said.
The University has formed a search committee in order to fill the Athletic Director void, and the first meeting took place Aug. 28, 2018. This is the first of many meetings that will be called, and it will take many months for the Athletic Director position to be filled.
The university would ideally like to have a new athletic director put in place by Jan.1, 2019.
“We [FDU] are looking for a strong leader, someone who will collaborate well with the campus community and the local community and a passionate fundraiser who can help us add additional resources to the program,” Capuano said.
Even though Langford oversaw success for the Athletic Department, that doesn’t mean the university is satisfied with the current state of the department.
“Overall, we are looking for someone who can take our athletic programs to a new level – more FDU teams competing for NEC championships on a regular basis and making the NCAA tournament each year, significantly more fundraising to support our athletic programs and student-athletes, and someone who will integrate athletics into the campus and local communities — increasing attendance at games and matches, and elevating school and community spirit around FDU athletics,” Cpuano said.
Langford was very well-respected by his colleges in the Northeast Conference (NEC), and by the coaches that worked under him in the Athletic Department. Both of these groups of individuals spoke glowingly about Langford’s tenure as Athletic Director.
“We were all shocked when David Langford announced his retirement. David was very supportive of the Women’s Volleyball program and truly cared for all of our players and their development on and off the court. At this time, our focus is taking the volleyball program to the next level. We look forward to the next chapter of Fairleigh Dickinson Athletics, and the impact a new Athletic director will have on the development of our program,” Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Andrea Nolan said.
While the university has identified a particular set of characteristics they believe are essential to succeeding in the NEC, so do some of the Athletic Directors that worked hand-in-hand with Mr. Langford to help bring the NEC to greater heights.
“An important part of being an Athletic Director is being able to communicate with people, that was one of David’s [Langford] best qualities. They have to be able to adapt to the changing world of athletics and be able to use social media. That is now such an important piece of athletics. He was able to do that well. Anytime you lose somebody that has been in athletics for so many years, and is able to recall knowledge from earlier times, and reflect on that knowledge and apply it to today’s athletes it will be a huge loss for the conference. I wish him the best in his retirement,” Wagner College Athletic Director Walt Hameline said.
Another one of Langford’s NEC colleagues discussed what his retirement will mean for the conference as a whole.
“I was very happy for David that he was looking forward to his retirement. I then thought about how much I will miss seeing him and talking with him during our NEC meetings. I really enjoyed getting to know him and hearing his perspective and various experiences,” Athletic Director at Saint Francis University Susan Robinson Fruchtl said, “I think it’s always a loss for the conference when someone like David retires but everyone is very happy for him at the same time. His experience and wisdom will be missed for sure.”
As the FDU sports season gets into full swing, and the coaches try to improve on last year’s performances, the Athletic Department has a monumental task of its own. They have to replace such a well-respected individual, and someone that led the Athletic Department to new heights.