Meet the AD
Vaughn Williams took up his new role in September
What drew you to Bentley?
I’ve known about it since the late 1990s, when Boston College was using some of Bentley’s athletic facilities. I stayed connected with [Athletics Director] Bob DeFelice and watched the program evolve in so many ways.
The university was also on my radar as a top-notch business school; the Bentley alumni I had met were always very thoughtful leaders. My first week on the job, I talked to Max Adler ’17, the number one faceoff specialist in Major League Lacrosse, about why he chose Bentley. For him, the difference was the education and career preparation; having coaches who understood the importance of balancing sports with internships and classes.
Another thing that resonates with me is Bentley’s work on diversity, equity and inclusion, including initiatives to add diversity not only to sports teams but also to our broader community. It’s important because the world is seen through so many lenses.
Are there mentors or role models who have inspired you?
There weren’t a lot of people who looked like me in college athletics leadership roles when I started my career in 1992. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had already learned certain leadership traits from my parents. I got my servant heart from my mom, who worked as a physical therapist at a veteran’s administration hospital and would always take people in. My execution, decision-making and risk-taking characteristics come from my dad. As my career has progressed, so many people — from coaches and administrators to colleagues who work alongside me — have been impactful. A big village has helped me get to where I am.
How do you run an athletics program around the challenges of COVID-19?
Mental health and engagement are a big focus of helping student-athletes navigate the pandemic. This is particularly true for first-year students, who haven’t had a normal opportunity to develop a tight network of teammates while also learning the ins-and-outs of the college experience. Coaches and established players need to do their due diligence to make sure no person is left behind.
This is also a good time to reflect on what is important to you. Reconnect with your why and your purpose. You can’t control the pandemic, but you can control your attitude.