Owls have new helm of the athletic department

Edward Rudman Sports Writer

The start of the 2021 spring semester will see a new face at the helm of Southern’s Athletics. Vice President for Student Affairs, Tracy Tyree, has announced that Southern’s very own Matt Letkowski, associate athletic director of compliance, has been named the Interim Director of Athletics, effective as of Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.    

“This opportunity means a lot to me.  I think as we get into athletic administration, when you start to get in, you start as interns with an initial goal, at least for most of us, is to eventually be an athletic director or you want to know what that’s like,” said Letkowski.  “To get this opportunity means I’ll get the experience that I’ve been thinking about since I got into this business.” 

The position became vacant after Southern’s former Director of Athletics, Jay Moran, resigned from his position at the end of 2020 and has since returned to the University of Bridgeport.  

He was hired as Vice President of Athletics and served as athletic director from 2004-2014, according to the CTPost.   

The university has decided to go with someone familiar with athletic program to serve in the interim position, as Letkowski is in his ninth year at Southern, having climbed the ranks since first starting out as assistant director of compliance in 2012. 

“Matt has played an integral role in the department’s success during his time at Southern.  He is well respected by his colleagues in athletics as well as the entire university community and the Northeast-10,” said Tyree during her announcement. “I trust that Matt will excel in guiding the athletic department during this transitional phase as we lead up to the search for our next director of athletics.” 

Letkowski is well qualified for the posting, as he was a staff member of the Fairfield University athletic department from 2009-2011 and was followed by a two-year stint at the University of Hartford, having the responsibility of daily compliance oversight of 18 athletic programs, according to Southern’s athletic website.   

“Tracy Tyree had a discussion with the athletic administrative staff and kind of got our input on what we thought what route she should take,” said Ken Sweeten, associate director of athletics and athletic communications.  “Through her own decision making, her own evaluation, she landed on Matt, who she felt would be best to serve in an interim role until a permanent athletic director is hired, and that’s an opinion held by many in athletics, they think he’s going to do a great job.” 

In the coming months, a national search for a permanent director of athletics at Southern is expected to be fully underway.   

Until then, it will be up to Letkowski to steer the ship as director during a spring season that will have challenges due to circumstances set by the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Letkowski said, “Our goal is to play spring sports.  They’re on our schedule and whatever we can do within the COVID environment to ensure we’re reaching that goal, it’s gonna be day by day, week by week.  It’s going to be complete buy-in from our athletes, coaches and staff to be always cognizant of COVID, whether it be wearing a mask, social distancing and everything else that we’ve experienced for the last year, we really need to emphasize for the next couple months.” 

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