By HAYLEY HOFFMAN – STAFF WRITER
One of the most identifiable parts of Centre College is the athletics program. This year, Centre gained a new Athletic Director, Brad Fields, who came to Centre from Eastern University, a Division III school in St. Davids, Pa.
Fields grew up in Ashland, KY, and was a three-sport athlete in high school.
“Like most kids, I played a lot of different sports growing up, but I really latched onto basketball, football, and golf,” Fields said.
While in high school, Fields was a Governor’s Scholar and attended the Governor’s Scholar Program (GSP) at Centre College.
“I wasn’t familiar with Centre at that point,” Fields said. “I got my assignment stating, ‘You’re going to Centre College in Danville, KY.’ I went to see what this place was all about.”
After spending six weeks on campus with the program, Fields fell in love and later decided to come to Centre as a student. While working toward his degree, he didn’t play any sports.
“I like to think I had the knowledge and the heart and the desire to play, but I knew I wasn’t a college-caliber athlete,” Fields said.
Fields graduated in 1998 with a degree in Economics and hoped that his career path would bring him back to his alma mater.
“Centre is a great place to work,” Fields said. “John Roush is a wonderful leader and if you’re connected with this college, you can’t help but feel excited about its future. For me to be able to come back and be a part of that…was a perfect fit.”
Working with Centre’s student athletes is a daily perk of being the Athletic Director.
“I really believe that we attract the best and brightest kids,” Fields said. “That extends beyond the classroom. These kids want to become better leaders, great athletes, musicians, etc. They’re very well-rounded.”
The students help make Centre’s athletics program unique. “Our kids are student-athletes,” Fields said. “We believe and support that. The kids that come here want a first-class education and the Centre experience. They also want to be in a highly competitive athletic program for whatever sport they play.”
As the Athletic Director, Fields has many different responsibilities, including: public relations; alumni relations; balancing a budget; and of course, working with and motivating Centre’s sports teams.
Fields’ plans for the athletic program include a continuing effort to make Centre more recognizable.
“I think that Centre can be a model Division III program,” Fields said. “I think we can be nationally competitive and help spread the name of Centre College.”
Faculty and staff are already seeing a change in the program since Fields’ arrival in May.
“I think it’s been good for the athletic department,” head football coach, Andy Frye said. “I think it’s been good for everyone to jump on board with him. He’s steering the ship where he wants it to go and we needed that.”
Jamey Gay, the Assistant Athletic Director, notes that Fields has a love for Centre that comes through into everything he does.
“He listens and gathers input from an experienced staff and leads by working to help us formulate a plan to move forward in a way that increases our athletic success on the field while also improving our recreational offerings for the campus,” Gay said.
Fields says that one of the best things about working at Centre is the feeling of a true campus community.
“People here are genuine,” Fields said. “They care about the mission of the school and each other.”
The most important part of that community is the student-athletes.
“They make you feel good about where the world is heading,” Fields said. “I have a young family, so they get to grow up watching these kids and have great role models. Watching the student-athletes is the best part of my job.”