Being an athletic director for a big school like CSUSB requires experience and a passion for all sports.
Shawn Farrell, who was hired as the new athletic director in May of last year, after nearly nine years at Division I Seattle University, happens to have tons of experience and a genuine love for sports.
Not just sports, Farrell has a genuine love for the students first.
When you come across Farrell, you can sense that he genuinely cares for his student-athletes. He believes when you truly care for someone, positive results will be brought about naturally.
Whether it is a league championship or the maturation of a young adult, Farrell believes in focusing on the little things and building a strong foundation.
He touts a strictly student-centered approach as his vision for the entire program.
“Academic and personal development is our main priority,” said Farrell. “Our main goal is to develop young adults while using sports and competition as a driver.”
While most athletic directors seem to focus strictly on the number of championships within their program, Farrell’s mission and vision simply focus on building student athletes into successful, productive human beings who are ready for the real world.
Farrell heavily emphasizes the importance of being successful in the classroom.
“Our athletes are students first, so we have to stress the importance of succeeding in the classroom,” said Farrell. “We strongly believe success in the classroom is directly correlated to success within our teams.”
Being the athletic director of a Division II school takes a lot of work and Farrell is a busy man. He leads Student Athlete Affairs, controls the school athletic budget and personally manages 40 employees.
Farrell is also in charge of personally selecting head coaches when a position opens up. His first hire was men’s baseball coach, Mike Nadau, whom he knew from Seattle University.
Farrell stresses a couple of qualities he believes are important for college coaches to possess.
“I look for someone who is a good teacher and has experience with kids in college,” said Farrell. “I believe it is important for a coach to know how to relate and understand the ages of our students to the kids they are coaching.”
That ability to discern what a certain team needs is vital for a position as important as an athletic director.
Farrell does not take any shortcuts and emphasizes building strong, formidable foundations such as character and hard work. He believes in passion and that loving what you do are key components into running any athletic program.
While Farrell holds a doctorate degree in law from the University of Washington, it was passion that ultimately led him to take this opportunity.
“While doing stuff related to my law degree may make more money, it is being passionate about helping develop student athletes reach their full potential which drives me and ultimately makes me happy,” said Farrell.
To him, it is a huge honor and privilege to have his values and beliefs be the foundation of an entire sports program. Most of all, he appreciates competition and seeing the students athletes compete and excel in intense environments.
Farrell personally aspires for the sports program to be known around the country.
“We want to develop a nationally competitive program,” said Farrell. “We want to be known for building a strong foundation doing it the right way all while focusing on the student development first.”