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Athletics Unveils New Academic Center

Nov. 8, 2013

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Seton Hall Athletics recently opened the doors of the all-new Charles W. Doehler Academic Center for Excellence, greatly expanding the academic support options available to the more than 200 varsity student-athletes currently representing the university.

Named for Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Famer and alumnus Charles Doehler, the space is more than double the size than that previously dedicated to academic support and is replete with amenities aimed at facilitating the educational process.

“The opening of the center is another significant landmark in the multifaceted renovation plan that we have enacted,” said Patrick Lyons, Director of Athletics. “With the center in place, we have furthered a longstanding commitment to academic success within Seton Hall Athletics and there is no more appropriate name to adorn its walls than that of Mr. Doehler, who was a proud Pirate and dedicated most of his life to serving the university and its student-athletes.”

The completely renovated area includes two group meeting rooms, two private tutoring areas, a set of study lounges and offices for the academic support staff as well as the director of student-athlete development. Each section features a sleek design and is filled with modern furniture as well as a host of Seton Hall-specific branding.

Also included are branded plaques with inscriptions honoring past Seton Hall athletic and academic award winners that are hung prominently along the center’s corridors.

“We have a very distinct vision of the type of the elite student-athlete experience we believe Seton Hall Athletics can provide and in order to make it a reality, we had to first lay a foundation,” added Lyons.

“Our principal function as stewards of this department is to make decisions that are in the best interest our student-athletes,” he continued. “The safeguarding of their health and ensuring that they are provided every resource to succeed not only athletically but academically as well are our primary concerns. With the completion of the Center for Sports Medicine and now the Charles W. Doehler Academic Center for Excellence – we have addressed two of the most fundamental components of a successful athletics program.”

The center has debuted to rave reviews as student-athletes and academic support staff members alike have praised the tremendous transformation the space has undergone.

“The new space is a great fit for us as student-athletes,” said Ryan Flannery, a sophomore on the men’s cross country team. “It can be challenging after a day of practice and classes to go to the library and fight for a place where you can do your work. Here, we can come in on our own time and we really have a number of different options that are at our disposal, allowing us to choose the best one based on what we have going on that day.”

“Seeing the final product and the reaction the student-athletes have had has been a rewarding experience,” added Matt Geibel, Director of Academic Support Services, who is in his 18th year as a member of the academic support staff. “As long as I have been here; academics have always been a major point of emphasis but I think the construction of this space signifies our desire to reach new heights and we would like to express gratitude to all those who helped make it possible.”

Student-athlete academic performance had already reached an all-time high in 2012-13 as the cumulative grade-point average (GPA) for all current Pirates rose to a new record mark of 3.251 at the end of the Spring 2013 semester; while ranking higher than that of the general student body as well.

Seton Hall also had 171 representatives selected to the 2012-13 BIG EAST Academic All-Star Team and across the department, took home a multitude of academic awards at the conference and national level. You can read more about the Pirates’ academic exploits HERE in the 2012-13 Seton Hall Athletics Annual Report.

The academic center was also constructed directly adjacent to the Jack and Charlotte Lavery Coaches Center which houses the coaching staffs for 11 of the university’s 14 varsity athletic teams, prompting several Seton Hall coaches to note the immediate effect the center has had and its potential impact on the future of athletics at the university.

“It is a very impressive space,” said women’s golf head coach Sara Doell. “I have been in there a couple of times and already seen our girls making full use of it. I think what makes it so unique is that the design is so inviting that our student-athletes will be inclined to spend more time in there but it does not compromise the purpose of the facility. I think it is a great representation of our commitment to excellence in all areas that will send a strong message to potential student-athletes as well.”

Head swimming and diving coach Ron Farina echoed those sentiments, saying “I think it’s fantastic. Right when you walk in, you see that it is very conducive to the work the academic support staff does. As with the Center for Sports Medicine, I think our athletes will be more inclined to seek that area out than they were in the past and when they are in there, good things can happen. I have already seen a number of athletes on our squad in there and I think it will be a valuable addition for our university.”

A priority action item, the center was constructed and readied for use in under four months and was primarily funded by donations made to the Pirate Blue Athletic Fund as part of the ongoing Pride & Excellence Campaign.

Naming opportunities remain as the project receives the finishing touches and those interested in supporting the completion of the project are asked to direct all inquiries to Bryan Felt, Associate Director of Athletics/Development & External Affairs at 973-275-6445 or bryan.felt@shu.edu

“This is just another step,” said Lyons. “Our attention turns to the new Fitness Center, Varsity Weight Room and constructing sport-specific locker rooms for each one of our varsity teams. These are the type of things that are needed to make Seton Hall a perennial leader in the BIG EAST Conference and with the generous support of our donors; we continue to make meaningful strides in the name of providing a first-class student-athlete experience.”