Five with Andrea Golden, Rochester Athletics
Andrea Golden, associate director of varsity programs, joined the University of Rochester in 1996 and has been a key player within Athletics ever since. Here, she talks about her job, career, and life.
As an Associate Director of Varsity Programs, what do you do?
I work closely with many wonderful people to make sure that our athletic programs run as seamlessly as possible, such as the 150 home events that we host every year, all of which I strive to attend. I am fortunate that I work at what I set out to do in college, which was to be a teacher and a coach in health and physical education. Over the years, teaching and coaching has afforded me the opportunity to instruct at Smith, Ithaca, Harvard and now Rochester.
What are the biggest challenges of your job?
When you are in an administrative role, you must be all-in. You live for each day, but you must project six, nine, and even 12 months in advance. Each day is different and surprises happen. For example, once in bidding to host two postseason men’s and women’s soccer events, we were assured by NCAA that we would not receive two bids on the same weekend. Then suddenly a venue adjustment was made and we ended up hosting both events on the same day, which involved six teams. The unexpected can happen so it is important to stay flexible.
What’s changed over time here?
The attention to athletics has definitely evolved over time. From renovation and construction programs—including, most notably, the Goergen Athletic Center and the Prince Athletic Complex—the University has made serious investments and improvements to our facilities. Another big change has been with technology. Students and parents have vastly different ways of communicating than they did 20 years ago, and very different expectations. We have to be on top of this, by knowing about the latest technology, from using social media to live-streaming games. We will always do what is needed to provide a rich, top-notch and well-rounded educational experience for our students and coaches.
Why are sports important to offer in an academic setting?
I think of sport as a performing art. Sports are live and closely mirror what happens in music and in theater; that is, you are performing in real time with each contest. And, creativity happens when events are live, be it on the soccer field or in the concert hall. The team or orchestra make the magic happen; the coach or conductor must move things along; and the spectators and audience add energy and excitement. In all of these live “performances,” our students learn how to play well and they learn how to improvise—skills that serve them well later in life.
With such a busy job, how do you relax?
I enjoy running and cycling along with studying the strategy of sports. With a master’s degree in sports history, I am fascinated in what defines a “sport.” What qualifies it to be a competitive activity, what are the challenges and the rules, and what happens when you are challenged by nature, a person, or yourself. I am interested in wilderness sports, such as hiking, backpacking, canoeing, and kayaking.
What do you love about sports?
Sport has this tremendous ability to energize us, and to help us feel alive. This is as true for basketball as it is for backcountry skiing and marathon running. The power of sports continues to sustain why I am here and do what I do. I thrive on being a part of creating an experience for our students that fuels them today and triggers great memories tomorrow.
Kristine Thompson, September 2017