About half-a-year after the University of Regina’s athletic review recommended the hiring of an athletic director, Lisa Robertson has been formally introduced as the person filling the position.
Robertson makes the move to Regina from Calgary where she spent two years as an associate director at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, but before that she worked 18 years in the athletics department at the University of Calgary.
The job, she said at a press conference, allowed her to return to where her heart is: student athletics.
“I had the urge to go on and get back to where my real passion is,” Robertson said.
“I’m a former student athlete so I look back on my time and what it taught me, what I learned outside the classroom through sport and I really realized what a value athletics brings to a young person’s development as a human being and a community member,” she added.
Robertson will officially start her position on Sept. 1 and said she will spend her first few months on the job listening and learning about the university community before she begins acting on anything outlined in January’s athletic review.
“I will definitely be verifying some of the findings. I have read it through several times and I think there are some opportunities that are at hand and possibly some low hanging fruit, but having said that, I think the first six months on the ground will be listening and learning,” she explained.
Robertson demurred when asked about some of the more controversial review findings if the Rams, the U of R football team, should have to change its name to the Cougars to match with the school’s other sports or if certain athletic programs should be cut.
“It’s something that will be looked at, but I need to learn. I can’t make any decisions (now),” she said. “I haven’t seen any budgets yet. I don’t even know how the budget is here. That’ll be part of my learning process.”
“I am a big believer in ensuring we resource our programs to a proper level and making the student athlete experience the best it can possibly be.”
Roberston said the challenges that face the U of R are no different than the challenges that face all of the Canada-West universities, but believes the U of R has a strong commitment to its athletics programs that sets it apart from other universities.
“This university has made a solid statement about the value of athletics. It’s in their strategic plan and I can say that that’s unusual for a university of this size to actually mention athletics, so that means it’s on their radar, that they care,” she said.
“I think that one of the things that I hope to do is leverage those written words.”