By Alberto Gilman
Within a field primarily dominated by men, athletics and sports management is experiencing an ever-changing shift where women are becoming a more powerful presence. For athletics at Mount Saint Mary College, this powerful presence is now embodied through the newly hired Athletic Director Jessica Mushel.
Jessica Mushel has been an active member of the Mount Saint Mary College community, bringing new perspectives and visions which will lead to new developments for the athletic department.
She was a Division I softball player at Siena College, as well as the former assistant to the athletic director and a Skyline Conference champion as head coach of the women’s softball team.
After graduating from Siena in 2010, Jessica came to Mount Saint Mary College to obtain a master’s degree in secondary literacy. While studying for her master’s, she worked as a graduate assistant in the Student Activities department, planning student-based events and programs.
Upon completing her degree, she was approached with an opportunity to become a leadership development coach for students. She was then offered the position of assistant to the athletic director full-time, and from there she became the new women’s head softball coach with an impressive coaching career.
With the retirement of the former director and her former mentor, Dan Twomey, Mushel has entered into this new position prepared and ready to bring about new changes for the department, the athletes and the overall school community.
Mushel stated that her biggest challenge was the transition. Many of her players from her first year of coaching had previously known her as the graduate assistant, so her change in position made her approach slightly difficult. Through determination and hard work, she brought her team to the Skyline Conference championship every season and has maintained a great relationship with all of her players and her coaching staff.
Student athletes, at any level, have to remember that education is a main emphasis. “A small percentage [of student athletes] go pro,” Mushel said, “so go pro in something other than your sport.” She urges for an emphasis on education, especially within the student athlete community, as Mushel wants all of her athletes to succeed upon their year of graduation. Additionally, Mushel hopes to encourage alumni involvement and relations this year.