NEW LONDON, Conn. – Director of Athletics Fran Shields will become the inaugural Director of the Camel Athletics Network and Athletic Director Emeritus at the end of the summer.
Shields will partner with Kim Verstandig, vice president for College Advancement. Contributing to the leadership teams of both departments, he will work to build collaboration between these two critical areas. He will transition into this role next fall.
A national search for a new director of athletics will launch this summer.
"As we work toward the public launch of the most ambitious campaign in the College's history, Athletics will have greater visibility, strategy and support within the division of College Advancement," President Katherine Bergeron said.
"Fran will be able to tap into the enthusiasm of generations of scholar athletes whose love for the College goes hand-in-hand with their athletic experience," Bergeron said.
The extensive relationships with alumni, parents and friends of the College that Shields has developed over the course of nearly 40 years at Conn puts him in a rare position to garner even more support for the College's students, coaches, mentors and facilities. Shields has served as the head coach for men's lacrosse, as the assistant coach for men's ice hockey, as the head women's soccer coach and, for the past 16 years, as the director of athletics. In his new role, he will have the opportunity to take those efforts to a whole new level, building on a legacy that has meant so much to the College community.
"I have always felt a personal connection to Fran since he was my coach during my time playing varsity lacrosse at Conn," said Chair of the Connecticut College Board of Trustees Fritz Foltz '82.
"Just as that experience was such an important part of my Connecticut College experience, I am confident that under Fran's leadership and through his personal connections with so many of Conn's student athletes through the years he will be able to solidify and expand the Camel Athletics Network which is a strategic priority for the College."
Excited to grow the Camel Athletics Network, Shields said that with a key goal of the College's strategic plan to make Conn even more competitive within the NESCAC, "this is an exciting time to be a Camel."
"I can't wait to partner with all of our constituents to make a difference for our coaches and student-athletes as we work to execute our strategic plan, strengthen our athletics program and prepare our scholar athletes for great futures. I look forward to supporting Conn's next Athletic Director in my new role," Shields said.