The Bridges Between Admissions and Athletics

The Bridges Between Admissions and Athletics

By: Michael Johnson

Gilman has a storied career in athletics in large part due to the consistent presence of great student-athletes. This year, two Gilman faculty are working to streamline the process of acquiring more talented student athletes to the school: Assistant Athletic Director and Upper School English Teacher Mr. Russell Wrenn and Varsity Basketball Coach and Middle School Social Studies Teacher Mr. Owen Daly are acting as liaisons between athletics and admissions.

While they will be working together, Mr. Wrenn and Mr. Daly differ in their roles as liaisons. Mr. Wrenn explains, “I am the athletic liaison for admissions … The two of us are in charge of trying to handle [the communication of athletics to admissions] in an organized way.” Mr. Wrenn focuses more on the athletic end of the spectrum; on the flip side, Mr. Daly is concentrated in admissions. Daly clarifies, “ … I am going to be a liaison primarily from the admissions standpoint of giving coaches updates on applicants and where they are in the process.” Additionally, Daly will help organize the visitations or "shadow days” of athletically-gifted students to Gilman.

The method and scope of Gilman’s efforts to bring talented individuals remains unchanged, for “...the current effort is similar to the past effort. We look for talented students in all areas. That has been going on [at Gilman] since … maybe the 1920s,” notes Director of Athletics, Mr. Timothy Holley (‘77).  As Mr. Holley went on to explain, the advent of these new positions aims to create a “more consistent and organized effort across the board [and] between the divisions … upper [school], middle [school], and lower [school],” which is necessary because “We want the best boys in our area to come to Gilman.” Mr. Holley describes the process of this search for superior academics and athletics, which entails venturing into local communities and advertising Gilman: “We market to families. We market to all entities where kids are looking for a place to go to school for Lower School, Middle School, or Upper School.”

With these new positions comes the opportunity to observe the process of Gilman admissions, aiming to attract the finest students to Gilman. When asked about the goals of the two liaison positions, Mr. Daly reiterates that the roles are in place to “streamline [the admissions process for talented students],” but also to “have transparency.” This transparency, Daly believes, will aid in assuaging the perceived mixed reviews or negative press regarding athletic recruitment from the student body in previous years: “for whatever reason [recruitment] got some buzz of a negative connotation as if people who were recruited here would somehow take the place of people who were already here.” However, the liaison positions may clear the air, remove any negative connotations, and define athletic recruitment at Gilman, as Daly adds, “[For example,] you’re a really good volleyball player and we’ve got [a student] who is very interested in volleyball. Let’s set you up. We want this family and this boy here.”

As Mr. Daly and Mr. Wrenn work with Mr. Holley to organize the overall recruitment process, they will prove to be valuable resources to not only the athletic department but also admissions and the entirety of the Gilman community.