Most people around the Marist College campus are unfamiliar with the exact number of students involved in intramural and club sports. But, Brandon James who was most recently appointed as the new Interim Coordinator of Club Sports, Intramurals, and Summer Camps is in charge of making sure these activities are running smoothly and successfully. However, with approximately a third of the entire Marist undergraduate program participating in at least one intramural sport, the position definitely has its challenges.
The twenty-four year old Poughkeepsie native has always had a passion for sports. He played basketball his entire life, including his years studying at Colgate University. He graduated from Colgate in 2013 with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and Anthropology as a double major. When he finished college, he had no intention of working in college athletics. Instead, he followed his collegiate career by playing professional basketball overseas in Italy for a couple years before returning.
Upon his return, he became the Facilities and Operations Assistant for Marist College. His main duties required him to maintain game day operations as well as event operations. Most of his days at work were revolved around setting up for different sporting events. As the Facilities and Operations Assistant, he was also a supervisor to the student workers involved in the department.
So how did James end up in the position that he is in today? “It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time,” James said. “The job opened up and I wanted to see a different side of athletics in the college atmosphere.” As for the position being only interim, it is to determine whether James can maintain the stability of intramurals, clubs, and summer camps before making it permanent. James is definitely open to taking on the job permanently because he enjoys being around the college sports atmosphere.
The previous Coordinator of Club Sports, Intramural and Summer Camps was Omar Sandimanie. Sandimanie held the position for two years before stepping away on Wednesday August 19th, 2015. His decision to leave Marist came from his desire to attain his Masters Degree in Sports Management at Drexel University. Once James found out about Sandimanie’s decision, he offered to help Sandimanie out with different camps in hope that he would be asked to fill the vacated spot. He talked to Sandimaie almost every day on how he ran things as the Coordinator. The Colgate alum looked to Sandimanie for advice that he thought would be beneficial to learning the position.
James pointed out that there were many differences between his current position and his job as the Facilities and Operations Assistant. The main difference for him is that he is basically running his own miniature athletic department. His position has all the aspects of a full-time athletic director. He has to worry about budgets, facilities, scheduling, hotels and travel for club teams, as well as payroll for his employees. Other duties include hiring coaches for club teams and ordering apparel for those teams. On top of all of these tasks that James must address and maintain, he is the Head Coach of the men’s club basketball team. Another major difference that he discussed was the hours that the two positions required. He now is working five days a week from nine-five, but he also has to be available to his student workers late at night and on weekends when the games are being played.
This is one of the areas where Joseph Recchia, the captain of the Marist men’s volleyball club team and the Commissioner of intramural volleyball, believes James excels. “Brandon has been very helpful thus far this year,” Recchia said. “For a person who was given this position on such short notice he has adjusted well. Even making himself easily available to help and answer questions students have has been really beneficial.”
Like anything else, this position has its ups and downs. One of the harder things for James about being the Coordinator is that he is practically running a one-man show. He is running ten different club sports, ten different intramural sports, and fitness classes. “In order to be successful you have to be dedicated to stay on top and make sure everything is running properly,” James said. “You have to stay organized in order to have this job.” A second challenge for James that he touched on is that while he is working with so many people, he wants to ensure that everyone is happy, but he knows that this is nearly impossible to do. The most difficult thing for James is to draw an imaginary line between age differences. It was hard when he started at Marist because he was twenty-two and some of the students on campus were also twenty-two. This wasn’t easy for James because he realized that he needed to be professional and focus on his work while other people his age were going out and having fun.
Nonetheless, there are also different aspects that James loves about his position. The most enjoyable feeling for him is that he gets to be apart of the college sports atmosphere, while seeing how all the departments work together to create a sporting event. James also appreciates being able to see an entire event or program come together that becomes a great experience for the students and fans. “A lot of people and fans don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes. When you see people enjoy what you helped organize, it makes you feel good,” James noted.
When James landed his first job at Marist, he discovered an interest in learning how things work in college athletics. Coming out of college he had no desire to work in college athletics. Today, his ultimate goal is to become an athletic director at a Division I collegiate athletic program. I’d say that Brandon James is certainly on the right path to achieving that goal.