Aug 18, 2017
Splitting Roles

At Knox College, two athletic trainers have been appointed as interim co-directors of athletics. This shift was made after the college’s athletic director left to join another school’s department. Scott Sunderland, MS, ATC, EMT-B, and Lexie Vernon, MS, ATC, are splitting the role.

According to an article from The Register-Mail (Galesburg, Ill.), Sunderland has been the Head Athletic Trainer at Knox since 1991. Vernon has been on the administrative side of the department since August 2016, when she took over the role of Assistant Director of Athletics. She is also the athletic department’s Senior Woman Administrator.

The search for a new athletic director is underway, with the goal of having someone in place by the Spring 2018 semester. One of the highlights for Sunderland as an interim athletic director has been getting to interact with a variety of offices on campus.

“There are a lot of people that are helping us get it all figured out. It’s been a lot of fun but a lot of work,” Sunderland said. “It’s been fun reconnecting with some of the offices that I don’t normally have communication with as the head athletic trainer.”

In order to ensure coverage in the athletic training room, Shana Sewick, MS, ATC, EMT-B, has taken on some extra duties and Sunderland has been splitting his days between both offices. The college will also be bringing in more hands.

“We are bringing in another athletic trainer that will cover the sports I cover,” Sunderland said. “It’s certainly going to be important that we have a good athletic training staff on hand. I plan to spend my early mornings and my afternoons and evenings in the athletic trainer’s room, and in the day from 9 [a.m.] until mid-afternoon, I will be in the athletic director’s office. I will be trying to wear both hats for the home football games, so [we] will see how that works.”

Another challenge is making sure that everything is coordinated.

“Obviously taking on all the responsibilities – [of] the athletic director and splitting them up with Lexie means her and I need to have communications on a regular basis and make sure we are on the same page,” said Sunderland. “This time of the year is busy getting ready for students, and our staff, orientations. We have had a few staff positions that we have had to fill, and we are working hard to [get] them filled. There was a lot in the month of July that normally as the athletic trainer I wouldn’t have had.”

Although it has been a lot of work, both Sunderland and Vernon are enjoying the new role.

“It’s been a good transition. It’s been great,” said Vernon. “I don’t want to speak for Scott, but I think we are both excited to serve in this capacity. We are excited to be a bridge for the next [athletic director]. We’ve got a good system worked out. The department is in good hands, and we should continue normal business as usual.”

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