After 14 months on the job, Stony Brook Athletic Director Shawn Heilbron, along with the rest of Stony Brook Athletics, unveiled their “Together We Transform” five-year, eight-part plan to further develop the athletics department on Monday.
“Together We Transform is more than just the name to our five-year vision,” Heilbron said in a press release. “It is the engine that will power our program to unprecedented heights.”
The first element includes the “transformation of the student-athlete experience.” It is geared toward giving the student-athletes every opportunity to succeed on the field, but also making sure they are prepared for a future beyond sports. Outlined in this element are goals to raise the average GPA of all athletes to 3.15 and preparing them for jobs or graduate programs in their respective fields.
Of the on-the-field goals, winning a national championship is first on the list.
Athletics would also like to advance any five programs into NCAA Tournaments annually. Heilbron wants these programs to advance past the first round as well, which teams in mid-major conferences struggle to do against the Power Five conferences, which include programs in the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC.
“Together We Transform” also outlines magnifying the importance of football. This includes the introduction of the College Football Playoff, a new way of deciding a champion in which the top four teams are seeded and then play for a championship, and autonomy granted to the Power Five Conferences, meaning when it comes to scholarships and giving their players stipends, they have almost no restrictions. It also includes an initiative to increase student and community participation on game days.
Heilbron and his staff also want to revamp Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium to increase capacity to at least 15,000, add an indoor practice facility and install lights to both Joe Nathan Field and University Field.
Regarding softball and the eight other women’s teams, “Together We Transform” encourages celebrating diversity and gender equity. It illustrates a desire to create more cooperation and a steadfast commitment to gender equity throughout the campus. Along with this, Heilbron wants to achieve the “highest standard of excellence with regard to Title IX beyond athletic participation,” according to the initiative’s website.
Other parts of the proposal are to also develop the a culture of philanthropy and financial support, amplify the Stony Brook brand and maintain the internal integrity that Stony Brook has built and developed in its 58-year history.
Athletics’ budget will be a primary factor in determining how much will be achieved by the year 2020. The money will be raised through Seawolves United, a fundraising initiative designed to “build significant personal relationships with contributors to the department and align their interests with Stony Brook’s future strategy,” according to the press release.
However, according to Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley, “Together We Transform” is aimed at improving all aspects of the student-athlete experience.
“Ambitious, and rightly so, this plan for Stony Brook Athletics is 100 percent about our student-athletes and how they can perform at their best, both in the classroom and in the competitive arena,” Stanley said in a press release.
The athletics department was not immediately available for comment.
This is the first story in a six-part series looking into “Together We Transform.” Check back every Tuesday this summer for more stories on the Stony Brook Athletics five-year plan.