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Andy Jennings: Dirty Laundry

[ photo: Andy Jennings ]

Dirty Laundry

One of Andy Jennings's first innovations as athletic director at Vassar was to hire a full-time laundry person.

That might not seem like a big innovation, but the ripple effect was transformational. With someone in place to take charge of collecting and distributing uniforms, the equipment managers were suddenly free to do what they were supposed to do - take care of the fields, prepare sites for upcoming competitions, and maintain the equipment. And once the coaches no longer had to worry about whether the field would be chalked, they could focus on what they were supposed to do - coach. "We have some excellent coaches, and they should be coaches," Jennings told the Quarterly (Winter 1990). "They shouldn't be laundry people, they shouldn't be equipment men, they shouldn't be bus drivers. They should be coaches."

At the end of 2003-2004, Jennings stepped down as A.D. and is now back to his first love, coaching men's soccer full time. But during his 14-year tenure as A.D., he oversaw an 18-million-dollar renovation and expansion project, including the new Athletics and Fitness Center, the Weinberg Field Sports Pavilion, six international standard squash courts, the acquisition of Hudson River shoreline property for the rowing program, and field renovations. Operating with a budget that tripled under his tenure and with fundraising support that has increased 15-fold, Jennings added five varsity sports, 10 full-time coaches, and 11 full-time assistant coaches to a 25-sport program that has produced N.C.A.A. All-Americans, national qualifiers, state, regional and conference champions, as well as many scholar-athlete award winners.

VQ Winter 1990
Poughkeepsie Journal, May 31, 2004
VC press release, December 5, 2003
Photo credit: Will Faller