The 2018-2019 Dal athletics season is over. It’s been a successful year with nine out of 16 varsity teams winning conference championships, and women’s curling winning a national bronze medal.
Six out of 15 club teams won regional championships as well. Tim Maloney, Dalhousie University’s executive director of athletics and recreation, talks about the season. The interview has been edited for style and clarity.
Dalhousie Gazette: Another year has come to a close, what are your thoughts on this athletic year?
Tim Maloney: It’s been an exceptional year. I think for nine out of our 16 teams to win conference championships is something for us all to be excited about. I was really pleased
I think the other thing I’m exceptionally proud of is for a second-year in a row that one of our student-athletes is named a top-eight Academic All-Canadian in the country. And 98 of our student-athletes achieving Academic-All Canadian status; which I think really rounds out what we’re trying to be here. And is proof that our student-athletes are excelling in the classroom and their respective sport while finding time to do things in the community.
DG: It’s the first school year since the Dalplex and Sexton gym renovations took place. How has the first year gone?
TM: It has been amazing, we obviously have lots to learn, and there are some wrinkles we’re ironing out, but the usage rates from our students and faculty and staff have increased significantly.
I truly believe the expanded version of the Dalplex and soon to be finished Sexton are going to be destinations on our campus where a couple of years ago it was not that. Now it is a place to come be active, be social, to engage in outside of the classroom in a space that quite honestly it’s beautiful and I think we’re really lucky to have a facility like this.
TM: I think both men’s and women’s AUS conference are incredibly competitive and no one seems to be getting worse, so it is really us finding ways to close those gaps. Not having a rink certainly doesn’t help (they play at the Halifax Forum) and poses significant challenges on a couple of fronts, recruiting being one. But it is trying to get some key players in the door that we can build around and I think we have some of those pieces on both teams to move forward.
DG: I haven’t heard of anything about a possible new hockey arena in two years. Are there any developments on that?
TM: There are slow-moving developments; and it is being discussed on our board level about how we can go forward, but there are not any concrete plans in place. There is a significant fundraising component if we were ever going to get the go-ahead and that is what we would need to tackle first.
DG: The club teams had a lot of success this year too. What do you guys do to support the club team?
TM: (The clubs) are very self-sufficient in a sense that they find their coaches and they manage their operations, but we do provide a number of services in house and financial incentives to let them run, as well as finding them facility time to train.
I don’t think people understand the commitment level those student-athletes bring to the table. They take their sports very seriously, they represent our school with great pride, and they’re competitive. I think it’s an important engagement opportunity.
DG: This is your fifth year as athletic director at Dal, what has the past five years meant to you?
TM: Well I feel really privileged to be able to hold this role and work with the people I do on campus and in the community. My role is not just working with varsity athletes; it’s working with another 1,000 student-athletes that play club sports and almost 5,000 that participate in intramurals.
I enjoy playing a small part in trying to provide students with an exceptional experience through athletics and recreation. It has been exciting to have some success with our varsity athletes. The addition of the fitness centre and renovations to the field house have been fun to be a part of and really see the impact athletics and recreation can have in a community.
I’m privileged, I love my job and I love coming to work.