August 6, 2016 7:36:02 PM
Jason Trufant is going to have to talk to someone in information technology at Mississippi University for Women very soon.
As The W's athletic director, Trufant is going to have to make sure his email account has enough space to handle the flood of resumes and files from applicants intrigued by the opportunity to start a NCAA Division III program from the ground up.
On Friday, The W announced it is beginning a nationwide search to fill head coaching positions for men's soccer, baseball, volleyball, and softball for the 2017 seasons.
"We are extremely excited to begin the first step of developing quality intercollegiate teams here at The W," Trufant said in a statement released by the school. "A thorough and exhaustive search for the right fit for our staff will be conducted for each of the new postings to ensure a high level student-athlete and collegiate experience will be brought back to campus."
Trufant said The W's athletic department also is "not too far away" from starting the process to post a job position for a coach for the men's and women's cross country program. He said the process for posting that job description is a little different from the others in that the individual will be responsible for two sports, but he anticipates moving forward with it pretty quickly.
The announcement is the next step in The W's move to re-build an intercollegiate athletic department that was discontinued in 2003 by then-President Claudia Limbert after a November tornado destroyed the school's gymnasium.
The hiring of Trufant from Dowling College, a Division II school in Long Island, New York, in May set the process in motion in earnest. Since he started at The W on June 6, Trufant has been working to get a feel for what sports will fit at the school and in the community. He said the core four sports have a lot of interest for the university and the area.
"These sports will be great sports to start the energy with," Trufant said.
Trufant said the sports hadn't been selected prior to his arrival, and that the selection of men's soccer, baseball, volleyball, and softball hadn't been made recently. He feels all of the sports will play a "vital role" in the growth of the university.
Trufant was responsible for the day-to-day operations of compliance, game operations, fund raising and marketing, sport supervision, team and departmental budgets, and purchasing at Dowling College. Prior to that, he served as associate director of athletics at Molloy College and as head assistant baseball coach at Frostburg State. He also served as baseball coach at the State University of New York at Cobleskill.
Trufant's background reflects the diverse skills he hopes The W's next coaches have. He acknowledges the vetting process will be time consuming and that it won't be something the school rushes through just to find people for the launch of the athletic department in 2017.
"We want to find the right fit, and to do that we have to make sure we have a quality match," Trufant said. "It is important for people applying to know who we are and for us to find out who they are. It is a unique situation. Not many coaches have a chance to start a program from the ground up.
"We have to do it right the first time. There is no point bringing people in here who don't fit the ideals of the institution and the athletic department. We want people who want to be part of The W."
Trufant said The W didn't have a timetable for the length of the searches. Instead, he said the school would go through a "rolling posting" that would enable it to look at the resumes and move forward with the ones that spark an interest. He said The W welcomes any and all applicants to join the process, but he said he is going to emphasize the need for everyone to have experience as a coach and running a program. He said he and The W also are looking for people who have a plan, will be able to stick to that plan, and who can convey that plan.
Applicants also should be able to recruit and develop student-athletes who seek to excel in an academic and athletic setting, Trufant said. The coaches will be responsible for NCAA compliance, community involvement, fundraising, and game-day operations.
"It is a daunting task," Trufant said of starting a program from the beginning. "If you look at this as an opportunity that is too much or too much work, this is not a position for you. That's OK. I think it's a great opportunity for an up-and-coming or a veteran coach to put a stamp on a program."
The W also will consider adding women's soccer, men's golf, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's basketball, and women's lacrosse for 2018.
All candidates are required to have at least three years of prior coaching and/or playing experience at the collegiate level with knowledge and adherence to NCAA rules and university policies. All candidates are required to have obtained a bachelor's degree. A master's degree is preferred.
For more information or to apply, visit the MUW employment link at http://www.muw.edu/hr/careers.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @cdispatch.com
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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