Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer coach Jennifer Scanlon was named P-P’s interim athletic director last week to facilitate the department’s transition as it searches for a full-time replacement for outgoing AD Lesley Irvine.
Scanlon has been a coach and physical education professor since 2003, and took on additional responsibilities as the physical education coordinator over the last three years. The presidents and deans of faculty at Pomona College and Pitzer College consulted with Irvine and faculty across the joint athletic department in order to determine who would be successful as the interim director, Irvine said.
Irvine had initially planned to remain in Claremont through the school year, but will now leave May 1. She will work alongside Scanlon through the month-long transition and help her learn the ropes.
“We are being thorough about our planning,” Irvine said. “I’m sharing anything I can to help her out and tie up loose ends to continue the momentum here.”
Irvine is not the only key member of the P-P athletic department to announce their departure this semester.
Her No. 2, senior associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator Angel Mason, also recently announced she is leaving for Berry College, where she will serve as athletic director. Even with those losses, Scanlon is confident that she can work with faculty to support the program’s continued success.
“We will be able to absorb the losses of [Irvine and Mason] because we have a strong infrastructure within the department, which is partially because of what [they] have both really developed [in the] department during their time here,” Scanlon said.
Irvine believes she is leaving the department in capable hands.
“[Scanlon] has a natural ability as an administrator,” she said. “She will keep the ship pointed in the right direction.”
Scanlon will continue to serve as head coach of the women’s soccer team, and her new position will also place her in charge of varsity sports teams, club teams, intramurals, health and wellness, recreation and physical education.
“I’m quickly finding out how many things [Irvine] is involved with on campus, and even beyond campus, in terms of alumni relations and community engagement, so it’s a lot of pieces,” Scanlon said.
Throughout the search for a permanent director, Scanlon plans to lean on the rest of the athletic department for support. “We have people in place to step up and figure out the puzzle pieces of this transition time well,” she said.
Part of Scanlon’s challenge will be to balance her work with the soccer team and with the department at large; she said changes to soccer coaching personnel make her confident that the team will receive the attention it needs. Associate head coach David Nolan was given more hours and responsibilities to support Scanlon as she takes on her new role.
Following her stint as interim director, Scanlon sees herself going back to coaching full-time.
“I’ve been the coach since the day I graduated from college, and have played soccer since I was 5. It’s been part of my life for 40 years, and it’s the sport that I love,” she said. “Coaching the program here is something I’m really proud of.”
The timetable for putting together a search committee and hiring a candidate, as Mason told TSL back in January, is yet to be established.
The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps athletics department is also still without a permanent director. Terry Tumey left last summer, and former director Mike Sutton has been filling the role in the interim. Last month, the program announced its search was narrowed to three candidates.