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Andy Coughlin – a man for all seasons

Andy Coughlin, the Athletic Department’s coordinator of athletic and recreational facilities, was recently recognized by the Professional Staff Association at RIC as its 2008-09 Staff Member of the Year. The soft-spoken, hard-working Coughlin has been a key member of the department for nearly 14 years.


Andy Coughlin
It was the first week of April in 1995 that I first came in contact with Andy, a slim, cross-country and outdoor track & field student-athlete. I had arrived on campus just a few days earlier for the first time to start in my position as director of intercollegiate athletics, intramurals and recreation. In addition to being a student-athlete, Andy was also a student worker in the athletic department. He was very polite, shy, and you could see right away that he was literally willing to get his hands dirty. Little did he know he would have a career getting his hands dirty on behalf of the athletic program.

It was a hunch at the time, but after meeting Andy’s parents, you knew he had solid genes. Though Andy was pursuing a degree in community health, his heart seemed to be in athletics. Though his career as a student-athlete would end in 1995, Andy would be on campus for another year finalizing his degree.

The Athletic Department of today bears little resemblance to what I encountered back in 1995. One thing I knew for sure, though, was there would be a common thread to whatever we did, and that was that everything would be done professionally, in an organized fashion, and we would concentrate on the importance of details, especially at athletic events.

This was a key factor because it would be of critical importance to how people on the outside perceived our program. These were very lofty goals considering the staff was small and already working to their limits. Enter Andy Coughlin. I asked Andy if he would consider increasing his visibility as a student worker and be a kind of “junior staff member.” Thankfully, he agreed and he has made me and our athletic facilities look good ever since.

For that first year, Andy ensured that every detail was carried out as it related to game preparation. He made sure the little things that may not be as important to others, but were paramount to coaches, student-athletes, and to the perception of the program we were trying to build, were carried out.

Following graduation, Andy joined the staff as a contracted employee, which meant he got paid for each hour he worked, but received no benefits. For a few years that was his status, but meanwhile, Andy took on more and more responsibility. He was the game manager, supervised outside events and when the physical plant notified us that due to their own staff shortages they could no longer maintain the outside facilities to a level of expectation for a growing athletic program hosting a multitude of events, Andy basically took over the maintenance of all outside athletic facilities.

Thankfully, in 2001 and with the support of then-President John Nazarian and Vice President Gary Penfield, Andy was appointed as coordinator of athletic and recreational facilities. He was now full-time, but more importantly, he was about to start a family and would now have benefits.

In addition to all of his athletic duties, Andy is always willing to help out at other college events. He assists in the set-up of commencement, has helped with golf fundraising tournaments, managed the set-up for the governor’s inauguration, and was behind the scenes for the sesquicentennial gala, to name just a few things. He gets along well with the athletic staff, but more importantly, he gets along well with the departments he has to interact with in order to be successful.

In addition to his parents, Jim and Nancy, Andy now has a family. He has been married for seven years to his wife Danielle, and has two sons Scott and Matt.

I continue to be thankful, and everyday I realize what an incredible asset he is not only to athletics, but also the college as a whole.

Congratulations Andy and keep up the good work. You are an inspiration to others!