MCLA’s new athletics director, Laura Mooney (right), with student-athlete Amanda Meczywor ’15 (left) after the women’s softball team won the MASCAC championship.
New athletics director eyes bright future for Trailblazers
MCLA’s new athletics director, Laura Mooney, had an exciting introduction to campus as the women’s softball team’s successes led to them becoming the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) champions.
It was a great time to be at MCLA, Mooney said, and to be able to support the members of the softball team in this accomplishment during her first two months on the job.
“I am confident in saying that the future of the MCLA men’s and women’s athletic programs is limitless,” Mooney said. “I have very dedicated coaches and staff members who want to be successful and get to that next level within the conference and at the national level.”
A former Division III student-athlete and coach, Athletics Director Laura Mooney knows that little things can make a big difference between a few wins and a winning season. As a result, the Athletics Department will take a new, intentional approach.
“We will look to adjust our recruiting tactics, as well as enhance our student-athlete support system as it relates to academics and life skill development,” she explained.
Mooney’s main goals in her plan to strengthen Athletics’ programs and enhance the student-athlete experience tie directly into a 3-2-1 approach:
3 – Every student-athlete will reach a GPA of 3.0 or better
2 – Every team will finish in the top 2 of the conference
1 – Staff and student-athletes will function as 1 team
To accomplish these goals, Mooney intends to develop an academic support coordinator within Athletics.
In addition, “We will shift our recruiting efforts and seek out stronger student-athletes, both academically and athletically. Teams will hold tryouts so there is an expectation that you have to work to be part of a team. Providing more opportunities for the staff and teams to work together to create a family feel will create a more positive experience for all,” Mooney said.
“Wrap all of this up with policy and procedure updates, and cross-campus and community collaborations, and I feel confident that we will strengthen the Department and get to the next level on the field – in the classroom, and most importantly, in life,” she concluded.
Mooney also would like to enhance some facilities, create a long-term plan to rehabilitate the baseball and softball fields, and to provide adequate spectator viewing for all of the College’s sports at the Zavattaro Athletics Complex.
“I would like to construct a building near the tennis courts that would provide bathrooms, locker room space, sports medicine access and concession options,” Mooney explained. “We need to develop a plan to pave the road and parking lot, and update the press boxes as we strive to keep our facilities at the highest level among our competitors.”
According to Mooney, “Athletics at all levels – youth to professional – are an incredible platform to teach the necessary life skills that prepare individuals for success.” She stressed the importance that our student-athletes lead by example.
“I want them to learn to do the right thing, even if it isn’t the most popular decision. I hope that, through their interactions with my coaches and staff, they learn the valuable life skills needed to be successful and become respectful and welcoming global citizens as it relates to equality and inclusion.”
Going forward, MCLA Athletics will use #trailblazerpride and #oneteam to send out the Department’s message.
“I invite everyone to come out and catch the Trailblazers in action this year!” Mooney said.