By Nicholas Tejeda Editor
During the Spring 2013 semester Carol Kashow, John Jay’s athletic director, was appointed to take over an athletics department that was in disarray. Just a month before she was appointed, both the men’s basketball team and the school’s rifle team were competing for the Conference Finals in their respective sports.
Since then the men’s basketball team have posted an 11-21 record against other CUNYAC (CUNY’s Athletic Conference) teams in the past two seasons. Records like these are not limited to men’s basketball, as most John Jay teams have had records below .500 since the 2012-13 season, numbers that do not impress John Jay students.
“It is definitely a missed opportunity that our teams do not perform well,” said Ajahnae Raven McClarke, a junior. “If teams play well, people will come out and support and school spirit will grow from that.”
John Jay’s sports teams are not performing as well as students would like, but the Department of Athletics and Recreation has looked to improve the program from the ground up to recover from the chaos left behind by former Athletics Director Dan Palumbo.
“It was a problem,” Kashow said. “When I came in the department was not much of a department, there was resentment and we had a lot of cleaning up.”
Kashow came to John Jay with a long and successful history in sports. From 1979 to 1991 she was the head softball and badminton coach at Drexel University. After coaching at Drexel she moved on to coach softball at Temple University from 1991 to 1997. She ended her coaching career at the University of Pennsylvania, where she coached softball from 1997 to 2003. Kashow also served as Hunter College’s athletics director from 2005 to 2008, and Hostos Community College from 2008-2013.
Senior goalkeeper Andrea Antoni, has played for the women’s soccer team under both Palumbo and Kashow. Antoni, who was recently named a CUNYAC all-star, says the difference between the two is night and day.
“As a freshman, my first impression of the athletics department was that it was unorganized, unmotivated, and unproductive. My biggest concern was that the treatment of teams was unequal. Fortunately, with Carol Kashow as the current athletics director, the goal is to provide John Jay Student-Athletes with a positive, Division One-like experience; each team in the department is given the same opportunities.”
The unfair treatment that Antoni mentions is one of the many accusations against Palumbo, who is remembered for providing a big chunk of resources to the baseball team. The team that he was also the head coach for.
Since she took over the John Jay program, Kashow has looked to change the culture of the athletics department. She has hired new coaches, new personnel, and emphasized recruiting quality players from around the country, who produce on the court and in the classroom.
Athletes have a support team of academic counselors they are required to regularly report to in order to maintain good grades.
“We believe that success in the classroom translates directly to success on the court and beyond,” said Brandon Fieland, the sports information director for the athletics program.
Fieland, who was hired by Kashow, notices the progress of the Athletics Department and the change of culture and philosophy within the program.
“Students have bought into the program’s philosophy of recruiting. They are succeeding in the classroom and competing harder than ever,” he said.
For John Jay students, this change is starting to show on the scoreboards. John Jay College had a heavy presence in the postseason in a variety of sports.
Men’s soccer defeated Baruch 1-0 in the quarterfinals to reach the semifinals, where they fell to the College of Staten Island. The women’s soccer team made it to the postseason for the first time in two seasons. Woman’s volleyball hosted their first playoff match ever after tying the program’s best number of wins in the regular season. They also made it to the semis, where they fell to Baruch.
John Jay athletes are also being rewarded individually within the CUNYAC. Graysen Carlson, a senior forward for the men’s soccer team, was named CUNYAC player of the year. Andrea Antoni and Kimberly Guzman of the women’s soccer team were named to the CUNYAC all-stars second team. Junior Richard Brienza of the men’s cross-country team was named Performer of the Year. Senior cross-country runner Tevin Brown was named a CUNYAC all-star.
Director Kashow is well aware of the challenge ahead of her and is up to the task. “The ultimate goal is to get all of our teams to the NCAA tournament. Are we there yet? No. Do I think we will be there one day? Yes. Becoming a good program is not an overnight process, but we come in here every day and we work harder, recruit better, and the results are beginning to show. Compare where we were five years ago and compare it now, and you will see that improvements have been made.”