“The old phrase about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts perfectly describes Acadia’s varsity athletic program when you consider our athletic performance, academic achievement, and community involvement,” said Kevin Dickie, Acadia’s Director of Athletics. “This combination is what truly sets our program apart and makes us special.”
This is Dickie’s sixth year as Athletic Director, The 2015/16 seasons marked the final year of a five-year plan his department put in place in 2011. “We saw a lot of things come to fruition,” he said of the plan’s original goals. “The renovations to the arena, the newly outfitted fitness facility, the new bleachers in the gymnasium and the Stevens Centre, a high-performance athletic complex addition that will provide room for training and new locker rooms for football and hockey, are just some of the aspects of the plans that have fallen into place.”
New, or upgraded facilities are only part of the plan. This year, Acadia will host the CIS Women’s Soccer National Championship in November. These championship events help build profile for Acadia and bring people to campus and to the Valley. And raising Acadia’s profile, locally and nationally is part of the plan.
Acadia’s partnership with Kinduct Technologies means Acadia student-athletes are using the same training, injury recovery and nutrition programs that are employed by many professional teams. A partnership with the Canadian Sports Centre Atlantic will allow high-level youth athletes between Windsor and Digby to travel to Acadia rather than Halifax for elite training. Acadia’s partnership with Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program is a means of getting more youth involved with sport. Through a cooperative agreement with the Annapolis Valley School Board and the generosity of Canadian Tire, children will be able to attend sport development camps that were previously out of reach for them financially.
“We’re having success across the board,” said Dickie. “But what separates our program is how deliberately we try to ensure we are achieving success in all three program pillars: athletics, academics, and community. We want to win, but we want to win the right way, through sportsmanship and with good people. Academically we brag about our Academic All-Canadians -- 110 from last year which is the highest Acadia has ever had -- but what I’m most proud of is that all of our student-athletes continue to improve academically. For example, our student-athlete academic average is approximately 75 percent and our graduation rate is approximately 96 percent.”
With the third pillar, community, Dickie is equally effusive. “What our student-athletes do in the community is unbelievable. Through coaching, mentoring and causal fundraising, we’re reaching more community members than ever before. In return, our fan support is tremendous. There’s no place like this in the country. None. We’re the big game in town and I think that’s part of the thrill of being in Wolfville and what makes Acadia special."
“Our present student-athletes are aware that they’re standing on the shoulders of our alumni,” adds Dickie. “Our present student-athletes connect directly with the history, legacy and tradition of the people that came before us, in all sports, whether they’re builders, teams, or individuals. This rich history, rather than being a wave that sweeps over us, propels all of us forward.”
Submitted by Cameron Davidson - 2nd year Acadia student-athlete (Football)