After a nationwide search that took nearly six months, Stony Brook has finally found its new athletic director. Shawn Heilbron, senior associate athletics director for Development at Oregon State University, has been given the position and was officially introduced Friday at a press conference.
“I’m ready to begin the process of moving Stony Brook athletics forward so we can represent this fine university in a way that all Stony Brook alumni, Long Island, and this country can be proud of,” Heilbron said at Friday’s press conference. “The road ahead is an exciting one. What is in place at Stony Brook right now allows us to have an incredible launching pad forward.”
Heilbron replaces former Stony Brook Athletics Director Jim Fiore, who had his contract bought out by the school on Nov. 19, 2013.
Donna Woodruff has served as Stony Brook’s interim athletics director for five months since Fiore was let go. She will now go back to her former position as executive associate director of Athletics.
“I am very excited to welcome Shawn Heilbron into the Stony Brook family, to lead our outstanding athletics program into the next chapter of its compelling and competitive Division I history,” President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said in a statement released on Thursday.
For the past three years Heilbron has been leading the OSU Athletics development program and serving as a member of the management team for both the OSU Foundation and OSU Athletics.
“His experience in Division I athletics, his interest in preparing student athletes, and his demonstrated success growing Division I programs offers Stony Brook the winning combination of attributes needed to take the Seawolves into the next era of competition and excellence,” Stanley said.
On Friday afternoon Heilbron took the podium at Stony Brook Arena to address his aspirations and goals for the program. One of the things he put a heavy emphasis on was the importance of improving the school’s football program moving forward.
“I believe football’s success is critical,” Heilbron said. “(Football) connects people with the university in the way that other sports don’t, because of just the sheer volume. So certainly that is something I will be working on with Dr. Stanley as we move forward, which is to get football where it needs to be.”
He also mentioned that finding the program’s new Women’s Basketball head coach is on the top of his to do list.
“We’d obviously like to have that coach hired today,” Heilbron said. “We plan to talk Monday to discuss things and the process moving forward. But, obviously time is of the essence.”
When asked to speak on his predecessor Fiore, Heilbron did not seem interested about bringing up what took place last November, but instead wanted to look ahead towards the future.
“Really I’m just excited to be here and move forward,” Heilbron said. “I’m gonna work with Donna to really move forward, and make sure we’re doing the right things.”
The biggest thing Heilbron stressed was his eagerness for Stony Brook’s athletics program to eventually be well known on a national level.
“The Seawolves are coming,” he said. “You might not know what a Seawolf is now, but you will.”