Centre College athletic director Brian Chafin announced his retirement Thursday after nearly a quarter-century of service to the school.
Chafin came to Centre as its men’s soccer coach in 1989 and has served as athletic director since 2002.
“Brian’s positive impact on the Centre athletics program will be felt years into the future, and he can be proud of his legacy,” Centre president John A. Roush said in a news release issued by the school.
Chafin will retire Aug. 31. Assistant athletic director Gina Nicolettiwill serve as interim athletic director beginning Sept. 1, and the school will conduct a national search for a permanent successor for Chafin this fall.
Chafin said in the release that what he will miss most after four decades of involvement in Division III athletics is “seeing young people enjoy what they’re doing and being successful.”
“D-3 allows student-athletes to be involved in the total college experience,” he said. “Coaches train athletes to be their best, but after practice and games they are students who fold seamlessly back into the campus. Most important, our student-athletes graduate as extremely well-rounded men and women, able to meet individual challenges and work together as a team.”
Chafin coached soccer, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s tennis at Clarkson for 16 years before coming to Centre. He applied for a job as Centre’s men’s soccer coach soon after leading Clarkson’s women’s basketball team to the NCAA Division III Final Four at Centre in March 1989.
Since assuming the athletic director’s role in 2002, Centre has enjoyed both team and individual postseason success in a number of sports. Women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, and football have all participated in NCAA postseason action. Men’s and women’s swimmers and track and field athletes have also enjoyed postseason competition, including four-time national long jump champion Chrys Jones.
The most noticeable change in the athletics program under Chafin’s leadership has been the renovation of Sutcliffe Hall, which doubled in size with the addition of the 15,000-square-foot Hazelrigg Gymnasium and the Buck Fitness Center and featured upgraded gymnasiums, offices and classrooms and the Hall of Fame Cafe.
The program will soon add its second artificial turf field, part of the south campus expansion that includes a softball field and a multipurpose playing field. Artificial turf field and lights have been added in recent years to the field at Farris Stadium, which hosts football, field hockey, lacrosse and track and field and was dedicated as Joe McDaniel Field last year, and lights were also added to the baseball team’s Gary Wright Field.
“(Chafin’s) legacy includes his own achievements as a coach and leadership that has transformed our facilities and put in place the men and women who have enjoyed their own coaching accomplishments,” Roush said in the release. “Those who know Brian and have followed his successful career will readily admit that he has something of a Midas touch, borne of talent as much as hard work.”
A native of Chappaqua, N.Y., led the Centre men’s soccer team to three straight NCAA tournament appearances from 1997-99. He later coached the men’s and women’s golf teams to NCAA tournament appearances in 2010 and ’11 and coached 2011 men’s national champion Chris Morris.
Chafin was also a key figure in the creation of a new athletic conference, the Southern Athletic Association, in which Centre will begin competing in the 2012-13 school year.
SAA commissioner Jay Gardiner credits Chafin as “absolutely instrumental and a key player in all aspects of the conference’s creation.”
“I’m sorry to see him go,” Gardiner said in the release, “and I know all his fellow ADs will miss his friendship and wise counsel. We’re proud of his numerous accomplishments and wish him every happiness.”