PAWTUCKET – If everything goes according to plan, St. Raphael Academy will have a new athletic director in place by month’s end, says President-Principal Maryann Donohue-Lynch.
Such a finite timeline speaks to the confidence Donohue-Lynch has in the five-person search committee she herself handpicked. The committee will recommend candidates and advise school administrators about a successor to Bruce Gammell, whose departure in August created an opening.
“They (the search committee) have met to review resumes and they have the criteria in what we are looking for in the next athletic director,” was the update Donohue-Lynch provided Tuesday. “For the next two weeks they will be conducting initial interviews, then the committee will make their recommendations for the final two candidates to the administration for consideration and appointment.”
The search panel entrusted to find Gammell’s replacement comprises members with strong ties to the St. Raphael community and Interscholastic League athletics. Included are:
-- Ted Quigley, director of athletics at La Salle Academy who is fulfilling the role of search committee chairman.
-- Dick Lynch, past RIIL executive director and SRA alum.
-- Michael Drake, physical education department chair at SRA.
-- Mike Sassi, head varsity football coach, faculty member and SRA alum.
-- Ashley Femino, head varsity girls’ soccer coach at Saints.
St. Raphael and La Salle Academy are considered sister schools founded under the same St. John Baptist de La Salle’s ideals, hence why Quigley’s involvement.
“If look at the makeup of the committee, you’ll see a variety of backgrounds representing a number of constituencies,” Donohue-Lynch said. “Having Mr. Quigley’s background and expertise in terms of the Catholic mission of our schools was something of importance to everyone concerned with this process.
“I know we have a wonderful committee and I have great confidence in their capability and commitment to work for this process. I’m looking forward to the results of the deliberations.”
Asked specifically about the qualifications she specifically is looking for in the next athletic director, Donohue-Lynch answered, “Everyone’s job is important in and of itself, but the role of athletic director is someone who not only is here at St. Raphael Academy and organizing our sports through the Interscholastic League, but as somebody who is the face of the proud legacy and tradition at St. Ray’s.”
The role of SRA athletic director will continue to be a part-time position, which was the case when Gammell was overseeing the various varsity and junior varsity programs. According to the school’s website, St. Raphael plans to introduce a boys’ volleyball team to the RIIL lineup next spring and follow suit with girls’ volleyball come the fall of 2012.
Though Donohue-Lynch refrained from commenting when asked about a finite number of applicants, she did offer, “I was very encouraged by the number of resumes that the committee did receive.”
Those believed to have thrown their hats (and resumes) into the ring include Frank Iannetta, the former head varsity football coach at Seekonk and Cumberland and onetime assistant under late SRA football mentor Dennis O’Brien, and Kyle Ivey-Jones, the ex-URI-hoopster who currently serves as the varsity boys’ basketball coach at Woonsocket. Ivey-Jones’ two daughters, Kytresa and Kyanna, attend St. Raphael where they play on the girls’ soccer team.
Donohue-Lynch went out of her way to express gratitude and appreciation for the job Fred Saunders has done in an interim capacity while the search to fill the athletic director’s post moves forward. Saunders, also SRA’s girls’ varsity basketball head coach, is familiar with Quigley dating back to his days of coaching girls’ hoops at La Salle.
“I’m very grateful for coach Saunders stepping in and he has done an outstanding job,” Donohue-Lynch said. “Now the process of appointing a permanent athletic director is in progress.”