By Anthony Covino
The Equinox sat down with new athletic director Brad Hurlbut on Friday Sept. 10, 2019, to hear about his plans for the department.
Equinox: “What are the expectations for men’s basketball this year after last year’s triumphant run?”
Hurlbut: “I think the expectations are high. We’d love to see us challenge again for a regular-season championship as well as the tournament. I think expectations are high and they should be. We’ve got a great nucleus returning, with our coach at the helm and I think we got a good shot.”
Equinox: “What’s the goal for men’s soccer this year?”
Hurlbut: “I don’t know about goals, but I am really excited about the start they have had, winning up at UCONN, a nationally ranked program like that, and to follow it up with another big program victory win over Gonzaga. A revenge game for sure. I would hope that we qualify for the NEC Tournament and then the NCAA’s. The rankings just came out and were receiving some votes for the top 25 poll and were ranked second in the northeast region.”
Equinox: Why did you feel that baseball needed a coaching change?
Hurlbut: “I just felt that we needed a change in leadership there, and I think that Coach Rob Ditoma brings is unmatched in what we’ve had in a long time. I think that coming from a winning program like Fordham, it’s going to help us a lot and he’s done a great job in the couple months he’s been here.”
Equinox: “Why did you feel that women’s basketball needed a coaching change?”
Hurlbut: “Again, I went right down over the river to Fordham to find Coach Ang Szumilo and she comes from a more established program. We’re really thrilled, and I think with both of those programs it’s going to take time and I don’t expect to see immediate changes on the field, but we’re already seeing changes off the field.”
Equinox “How will the Under Armour deal help FDU Athletics as a whole with our profile?
Hurlbut: “I think it’s great to be partnered with such a great company says a lot and it helps our brand immensely and for us as an athletic department to have all of our programs underneath one brand, and the UA brand is so cool. We’re thrilled about that partnership and we’re just in the first couple months of it, and we’ll continue to grow it.
Equinox: “How do you plan to expand the support for smaller teams like fencing, track, tennis, and golf?”
Hurlbut: The issues with a lot of those sports is not on their campus, but every campus is that the population likes to come see baseball, basketball, football, and lacrosse. Golf is always hard, you can have a national championship program and it’s hard to get people to come out to golf events for a couple reasons. The golf courses aren’t on campus, and the golf courses are five miles long; so, normally it’s just the parents and friends from the athletic department.
Tennis is different, but our issue is that we don’t really have a place for people to sit down so we need to figure out that and that’ll be a part of our facility master plan we’re gonna do. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people were here to support them.”
Equinox: “What are the specific goals for FDU sports and or athletics this year as a whole?”
Hurlbut: “We’re looking for improvement from top to bottom. One of the major things that were doing is trying to get the community to embrace us more. Our FDU community, Teaneck community, and Hackensack community, and one way we’re going about that is doing community service and really being involved in the community, is something that we really haven’t done to that high of a bar, that I would like us to see, and as evidence of our baseball team that packed snack packs together for kids who might go hungry on the weekends, so those are the type of things we want to see. We want to get out in the community more, that’s our main goal.
I made a goal of ours last year to do better in the Commissioner’s cup, that’s not going to be overnight, but that’s how were compared with everyone else in our conference, so I want to be able to grow our standings each year in points, and we could move up a few spots, we used to get Commissioner’s Cups, so I want to go back to winning Commissioners’ Cups.
Our goal is the NEC has a Building Communities Award and we want to win that award, and that is for the university with the most hours of community service. That is really our main goal this year.
Equinox: “What can you tell me about a possible football team at FDU?”
Hurlbut: I would say that is not even being thought of right now. I love that idea. The amount of money, having a field, locker room space. There a lot of things that go into that like, scholarships, all those types of things. While I love the idea, I don’t think it’s a possibility right now, but I’ll tell you this, if you want to watch football, we can go to the Florham Campus and watch their football team.”
Photo Provided by FDU Knights