By Joe Pinter, @JPinter93
Many times, Larry Sudbrook said, Rick Trietley has stopped by practice to see how the team was doing. Or walk down to Sudbrook, the baseball coach’s, office to chat about everything that was going on.
“Rick was always somebody that cut through the Reilly Center and its offices upstairs,” Sudbrook said. “He’s got an athletic background. He likes athletics. He has the army background of competition and working out, and being in shape was something that always led Rick to certainly being seen and being present in the building.”
The athletic coaches better get used to seeing a lot more of Trietley.
Since being named vice president of Student Affairs at St. Bonaventure University, Trietley has added the athletic department to his Student Affairs division which also includes: the Damietta Center, Career and Professional Readiness Center (CPRC), Center for Activities, Recreation and Leadership (CARL), Residential Living and Conduct, Safety & Security and the Wellness Center.
He has taken the time to meet with every coach and athletic staff member. He said getting to know the issues the individuals face is essential to his new position.
“Taking over the responsibility for athletics is just a huge thing,” Trietley said. “Our athletics department is very large. And really when you look at NCAA DI athletics, it’s a very large operation. And until I have a few months under my belt of overseeing athletics and learning about our athletics program at an in-depth level, (his position) is going to remain real busy.”
One decision that Trietley was a part of shortly after beginning his new position was what to do with the two vacant Sports Information Director posts. Once Jason MacBain and Matt Moretti left for Florida Gulf Coast, the decision was made to bring in a new senior associate director of athletics for external communications who will oversee all of the fundraising and communications in the department.
Steve Mest, the current associate athletics director for external relations, will also become the new associate director of communications, overseeing the sports information department. The full reorganization also includes a few graduate students and interns that will assist Mest and the yet-to-be-hired new assistant AD.
Pertaining to the student-athletes, Trietley said the department is continuing to focus on drug and alcohol issues, and this year started a program called Alcohol EDU.
“We’re pretty excited about this program because what this program does is it’s an online program that every one of our incoming freshmen had to complete prior to coming on campus,” Trietley said. “And Alcohol EDU is proven scientifically by studies the national government has done to work. So we’re very happy that out students now have that training, are able to look hard at the results of the surveys of that training and now program at that level to help our students avoid binge drinking.”
For part two of the program that tries to shed the “Bonaventure is a party school” phrase, students fill out another survey five or six weeks after coming to campus to see if their habits have changed.
Trietley also spoke of how the school has recently changed its student health care provider, switching from Dr. Shake’s office in Olean, N.Y. to Champion Corporation, which is based in Coudersport, Pa. He said the new provider has been a “big hit” so far on campus.
Trietley’s role in strategic planning has helped himself improve at making adjustments for the students, he said.
He reviews most of the judicial cases at Bonaventure and helps Vito Czyz, director of Safety & Security, provide the safest environment for the students.
Trietley said without the great individual directors in the Student Affairs division, his job would be much more difficult.
And Steve Kuchera, the former associate director of CARL, had his work at Bonaventure thought highly enough of to get a promotion and move down to work at a school in Virginia. After he left, Abby Cohen, former associate director of First Year Experience, interviewed and received the associate director of CARL position. Chris Brown, former coordinator for housing and residential education, was then named the new associate director of First Year Experience.
All the reshuffling of the decks has left an opening at the top of the Residential Living and Education office.
“What we’re doing at this time is totally revamping the job description,” Trietley said. “We wanted to take our time and rework the job description then start the recruitment process. Our goal is to hire a person for the start of the spring semester. In the meantime we’re taking the two RDs and giving them interim additional responsibilities, but we definitely intend to fill that position.”
When he’s not revamping titles and reorganizing departments, Trietley is extremely friendly and personable, Sudbrook said.
“Everybody likes a chance to hear their boss’ thoughts and for their boss to hear their thoughts; whether you agree or whether he agrees,” Sudbrook said. “When you hear each other’s thoughts you know where you’re coming from. This is my 29th year at SBU and it’s the first time anybody at that level has come and spoke to each coach individually to hear them out. It was certainly something that got everybody off on good footing.”
Potential plans for renovations of Robinson and Falconio halls are currently being discussed, Trietley said. A renovation that could pay major dividends.
“As a college prospect is looking at schools, though it’s not going to be at the top of their list, certainly where they live is going to be important,” he said. “We’re thinking renovation to Rob-Fal could make a major difference.”
The Richter Center has no renovations on tap after receiving nearly all new workout machines this past summer. Trietley said Bonaventure is the only school in the nation with the high-tech equipment. The machines have been replaced every three years.
Trietley will, however, not become complacent with any aspect of his division.
“We spend our summers constantly reviewing what we’re doing, how we’re doing and in what ways can we do better,” he said. “While there may not be major changes in each department, each year you are going to see changes. We’re just trying to offer a better service and program with the student body.”