CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Nathan Fry, senior associate director of athletics at Harvard, is one of 25 senior-level administrators from around the country that will participate in the NCAA’s 2017 Pathway Program sessions.
These senior-level athletics administrators, who have committed to becoming directors of athletics and will experience a year-long experiential learning opportunity, have been selected by a committee that includes current athletics administrators and past program attendees, across all NCAA divisions. Steve Potts, Director of Athletics at Pepperdine, will serve as Fry’s athletic director mentor for 2017-18.
“Nathan is invaluable not only to our athletic department, but also to Harvard,” said Kathy Delaney-Smith, head coach of Harvard women’s basketball. “He immersed himself in every aspect of the College, from athletics, to academics and more. He is a wonderful resource, not only because of his knowledge and love of sports, but more importantly because he listens and there is always a feeling of support”
For the senior-level athletics administrators who participate, the Pathway Program provides an unprecedented opportunity to gain insight into every facet of an athletics department, preparing them to become well-rounded leaders who are equipped with the tools an effective athletics director needs. Each program participant is mentored by a current NCAA athletics director and a current university chancellor or president who have committed to helping the Pathway participants grow during the program and after completing it.
“The positive influence Nathan has on Harvard Athletics is remarkable and inspiring,” said Pieter Lehrer, The Virginia B. and James O. Welch, Jr. '52 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Soccer. “His ability to connect with student-athletes, effectively communicate with coaches and administrators and drive academic integration with Harvard University make him a deserving recipient of the NCAA Pathway Program.”
Fry arrived at Harvard in 2003, when he joined the department as Director of Compliance. He was subsequently promoted to Assistant Director of Athletics in 2005, Associate Director of Athletics in 2008, and Senior Associate Director of Athletics in 2014. Fry serves as the primary sport administrator for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s rugby and men’s and women’s golf. Additionally, Fry oversees the admissions and recruitment process for athletics, the compliance department, academic integration, and campus relations.
The timeline of the yearlong program was altered for 2017 to maximize the participants’ exposure to senior leaders in college athletics. Programming starts in late June with a weeklong session at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis, continues with quarterly meetings throughout the year, and culminates in June 2018 at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention in Washington, D.C.
These in-person sessions will include opportunities to engage with university and college presidents, who will shed light on the role of athletics directors, reinforce the value of athletics on campus and provide candid answers to participants’ questions. Along with NCAA governance meetings, program participants will participate in a simulation of their first staff meeting as a director of athletics, receive advice on beginning their first 90 days in an athletics director chair, participate in case studies on campus-relevant topics and learn best practices from current and former athletics directors.
“The Pathway Program is an unmatched opportunity, exposing highly qualified athletics administrators to the latest information and robust experiences, delivered by practiced experts in the field,” said Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president of education and community engagement and chief inclusion officer. “Administrators who complete the program not only gain technical knowledge but graduate with confidence and quality decision-making skills.”
NCAA leadership development, located in Indianapolis, coordinates and facilitates education and training for college athletes, coaches and athletics administrators. The staff annually hosts programs, at little or no cost to members, using expert curriculum designed to enhance the well-being and personal development of college athletes. The staff also provides ongoing education and topical training to athletics professionals who identify and serve student-athlete needs. For more information, visit ncaa.org/leadershipdevelopment.