“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 Executive Director of Athletics and Community Events. “This combination is what truly sets our program apart and makes us special.”
This is Dickie’s seventh year as Athletic Director, and the 2017-18 season marks the first year of a renewed strategic 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, that includes a high-performance athletic complex addition that will provide room for training and new locker rooms for football and hockey are some of the key changes that were outlined in the 2011-2016 strategic plan.”
In addition to directing the Department of Athletics, Dickie will be managing a new division that will capitalize on the continued growth of sport tourism and on-campus events, making Acadia University the "destination of choice".
New, or upgraded facilities are only part of the plan. This past season, Acadia hosted the U SPORTS Women’s Soccer National Championship in November. This season, Acadia will host the U SPORTS men's basketball championship. 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 partnerships with several external groups have benefited the University as a whole and our student-athletes in areas of high performance, community development and academic acheivement.
“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 -- 114 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.”