By Chris Baldwin
Both coaches and athletes play a huge role in the success of a college athletic program, but behind the scenes are the administrators who work day in and day out to make athletics run smoothly.
At the head of the College’s athletic administration is executive director of athletics Amanda Demartino.
Demartino, a Toms River native, played basketball at Brandeis University where she majored in economics. She also worked as a student assistant employee on the Brandeis’s athletic staff, which is when she discovered the possibility of making a career out of working in college athletics.
Immediately after graduating college, Demartino moved on to be an assistant basketball coach at Northwood University in Florida and coached there for almost 4 years while completing her master’s degree.
She then decided to move back home to New Jersey, and worked in administration at Raritan Valley Community College for 5 years before being hired as the College’s athletic director. She is now in her fourth year at the College.
“When I started, coaches had a lot on their plate in terms of administrative responsibilities,” Demartino said. “My philosophy is that we try to eliminate all of that stuff off of our coaches’ plates so that they can focus on recruiting top athletes that are a good fit for the school and for the team.”
Being the head of an entire NCAA athletic program comes with a multitude of responsibilities. Demartino oversees operations for all of the College’s 20 varsity athletic teams. Her job includes handling logistics, scheduling, travel, budgeting, athlete’s compliance, NCAA eligibility and much more. She also works closely with all of the other members of the athletic administrative teams such as assistant athletic directors, sports information specialists and training staff.
Since being hired at the College, Demartino has taken charge of multiple improvements to the athletic program. Demartino and her staff have also been “chipping away” at ways to improve facilities and acquire better equipment for the athletic teams in an attempt to constantly improve athletes’ experiences at the College.
“Everything we do, we think about ‘How can we improve the student-athlete experience?’” she said. “The two things that set us apart most from our colleagues and our opponents at other institutions is first our student-athletes. I’ve been blown away in my four years by not only the talent of our athletes but also their character. Also our coaches… Everyone is tremendous and everyone is committed to the student-athlete experience.”
Demartino said the thing she loves most about the College is the people she is surrounded by. Since she began working at the College, she has been “blown away” by the supportiveness of her staff. She also loves being able to see the teams that she works so closely with be successful at their sport.
“I really think that the people make TCNJ a very special place,” she said. “There’s nothing that you love more than seeing the kids win a championship or go to the postseason. Again, it’s all about the student-athlete experience… When our kids leave us and have great things to say about us, that’s the ultimate goal.”
As with all jobs at the College, Covid-19 has completely changed the ways things are done. As the College remained fully remote last semester, many other institutions within the NJAC division were up and running to some extent, which was cause for concern for the athletic department. However, Demartino is very proud of how her department has bounced back from last semester.
“It takes our coaches, it takes our trainers, it takes our staff, it takes everyone working together to really make this happen,” she said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we were able to get back this year to offer some experience to our student athletes.”