Student Athletes, Hockey, and UAH’s Search for a New AD

UAH President Dr. David Williams wrote recently about the proper consideration of intercollegiate athletics at a research university like UAH.

In some ways, a student athlete might seem to be the very antithesis of the archetypical research-university student – the clash between the safety glasses and the helmet, the library and the stadium, the geek versus the jock. But these concepts reflect the extremes. There is another side to this contrast; the presence of nationally ranked athletics programs at nationally ranked research universities such as Stanford, Duke and Georgia Tech. At many other universities, there are examples of individuals who excel at both academics and athletics.

Dr. Williams goes on to discuss Sen. Bill Bradley, Craig Breslow, Myron Rolle, and Maya Moore. Bradley and Rolle were Rhodes scholars. As Business Insider notes, one of the original criteria for applicants given in Cecil Rhodes’ will was the “energy to use one’s talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports.”

I’d like to add two college hockey examples to Dr. Williams’s list:

  • Princeton’s Landis Stankievech, who was a Rhodes scholar in 2008.
  • UAH’s James Kodrowski finished an aerospace engineering degree in three years. In addition to being a walk-on defenseman for the Chargers, Kodrowski worked at the Propulsion Research Center, was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and served as Student Government President. [Disclosure: I was VP during Kodi’s term as President and was the guy who figured out how he could finish in three years. Crazy man.] Last time I walked through Huntsville International Airport past the gift shop before descending to the baggage claim area, I noticed that a photo of him working on a turbine is still a part of the UAH ad.

As Dr. Williams noted, academics is a vital thread in all of the University’s athletic teams, and all four captains for hockey this year had GPAs above 3.0. The coaching staff demands good performance in the classroom as well as on the ice. We should care as much about the academic performance of these young men as their athletic prowess.

UAH’s search for a new Athletic Director presents a number of challenges to the University. You’ll note that Dr. Williams mentions bringing all varsity sports on campus, which is something that all of us would certainly welcome. The search committee to replace Jim Harris is certainly representative of the entire Athletics community at UAH, but there are a number of hockey aficionados involved.

We all want the best for our University, and here at, we believe that this begins and ends with expecting academic excellence.