D’Arcy Ryan Drops Interim Tag, Becomes Permanent Athletics Director
Ryan Lands Position After a Nine Month Stint as Interim and a Departmental Review
Patrick Boivin stepped down from his position as Concordia’s athletic director, three years after his appointment, to become the CEO and President of the Montreal Alouettes in December of 2016. D’Arcy Ryan, director of residence life at the time, was there to step in as interim.
Both Ryan and Boivin reported to Concordia’s deputy provost, Lisa Ostiguy, who felt it was natural for Ryan to assume the position.
“She asked me around the end of December if I wanted to take on the interim role,” said Ryan. “I was familiar with recreation and athletics due to the structure of our reporting, and we had previously worked closely, so I was in the right place at the right time.”
When he made this decision nine months ago, Ryan never imagined he would end up becoming the full-time athletic director.
“I don’t think it’s ever the plan for an interim to assume the official position, you step in to fill the space in hopes of finding someone to take over for real,” he said.
The decision for Ryan to take over as athletic director came after an official process in which the school decided to do a complete review of its athletic department. It was noted that one had not been carried out in over nine years, despite fundamental changes in the school’s landscape, including an increase in the size of the student population.
Ryan said that the recreation and athletics components that students are interested in these days have changed drastically in this period.
“We decided to take a step back and see what was needed in the department to follow the strategic directions of the universities and really become that next-generation department within the student services,” he said.
The review, done both internally and externally, highlighted areas in the department that needed change. It was through this process that they discovered they needed to make some changes in the department, including a change in direction.
As interim, Ryan was tasked with ensuring the department maintained its daily operations, and that student recreation components were satisfied and continued to grow. He also dealt with scheduling, as well as keeping the varsity component up and running. He carried out the same tasks that Patrick Boivin had been doing, minus more large-scale projects, such as making changes to which teams are considered varsity or club.
Now that he has officially taken over, Ryan’s priorities include examining the review that was done during his time as interim and to find solutions to the issues highlighted within it.
“On a personal level, I want to strengthen partnerships with student groups like the [Concordia Student Union], and [the Arts and Science Federation of Associations], to help engage the students and really be impactful during [their] undergraduate experience,” he said.
Additionally, he wishes to promote health and wellness to students across campus, and to get them engaged with the program during their time at Concordia, trying to increase student support of varsity teams.
Ryan knows that this will be a more difficult task, given that Concordia is a commuter university where the majority of students are on campus for their classes but, for the most part, live off-campus.
“Our varsity sports teams are fantastic, I mean look at our women’s hockey team. They’re ranked fourth in Canada, and under their leadership with Julie Chu, are looking to be competitive this year,” said Ryan.
There is a lot of excitement this year within the varsity program, and Ryan believes it’s necessary to get students excited and more involved. By focusing on partnering with student groups, he feels that this will be possible.
For those outside of the varsity program, Ryan has plans to expand upon intramural sports within the school. He feels it is important to make athletics available to a greater percentage of the student body, and to have options for students to blow off steam and engage with each other.
“We have access to the dome, and the arena,” he said. “There’s a lot free time for students and a lot of empty time slots that we can be taken advantage of, and these partnerships with the student associations, perhaps they might be interested in creating a [recreational] league of their own.”
Despite the ongoing discussions of Concordia’s baseball team potentially going varsity, Ryan believes that it’s unlikely given the department’s tight budget. There simply aren’t enough funds to adequately support it through their endeavors as of right now, according to Ryan.
There is also the issue of having to examine all other club teams looking to become varsity, and even groups looking to become clubs.
“Right now, I don’t think we’re in a position to say yes or no,” he said.
“I think as part of the review it was highlighted that we need to do an in-depth study of all of our programs to evaluate and see where we’re at with each and every one of them, and to see how we can move forward.”
Now the full-time athletic director, Ryan will step down as director of residence life. He’ll serve as interim until the university finds a suitable candidate to take over the position, at which point he will be able to fully concentrate on the recreation and athletics department.