Norton, Mass.- Our new Director of Athletics and Recreation, Gavin Viano, will be our first spotlight as the Wheaton Lyons will be zoning in on staff, student-athletes, and alumni that help make Wheaton Athletics such a special place. Be sure to check out our next spotlight on Wednesday.
Name: Gavin Viano
Position: Director of Athletics and Recreation
Years at Wheaton: Started on February 17th, 2020
Hometown: Walpole, MA
Schooling: B.A. Clark University '01 (M.S. Drexel University '11)
Question & Answer
What do you love about working at Wheaton College?
First, I love being back in the NEWMAC, the league where I was a student-athlete. Great schools, great people, and Wheaton has the chance to be nationally competitive in every sport as a member of such a strong athletic conference.
While I've only been on campus for less than two months, from the first day I met our students, I could tell how authentic they are. Their curiosity and passion makes this campus a great place to work.
Finally, the staff and faculty around campus have such a strong bond with our coaches and athletic staff. That is a rare thing in college athletics and one that I'm incredibly grateful to be a part of at Wheaton.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
I enjoy running, it helps me focus and work through the challenges of the day, while out on the road. I'm also into audio production and a bit of sound engineering, which is leftover from being pretty involved in music during the 2000s. Music (listening, recording, or anything in between) will always be something I enjoy immensely.
What was your path to end up at Wheaton?
The relatively short version is that in 2005 I had a chance to join the athletic development office at St. John's University in Queens, thanks to a Clark alum who hired me. After about six months at St. John's, I knew I wanted to become an athletic director at some point in my career.
I moved on from St. John's to Fordham and eventually to Drexel University athletics, where I got my master's in sports management. From Drexel, I spent almost five years up at Dartmouth College and then nearly five more years down at Davidson College.
It's funny to remember back to 2006 when I set a 7-year goal in motion to become an athletic director. But, that 7-year plan turned into a 13-year journey, instead. Wheaton College has provided me with an unbelievable opportunity to "live the goal" I set back at St. John's.
How do you enhance the student-athlete experience?
First, my job is to partner with our coaches and staff on their goals to create a vision to enhance the student-athlete experience. If I know what our staff thinks they need to help our students, then I can get to work on how to help their vision become a reality.
Next, getting to know our students and their personalities is really important to me. We don't want to be guessing about what's going to improve their experience, we want to get to know them and have conversations that involve their suggestions and feedback. While we can't always wave a magic wand and deliver on everything, the ability to take their feedback and then try to make incremental strides to improve their experience is something I enjoy doing very much.
What is your most memorable memory at Wheaton?
Well, I haven't been at Wheaton that long, but I refuse to say that COVID-19 is the most memorable moment. We've had some great moments already though, with an NCAA qualifier in women's indoor track, four women qualifying for NCAA's in swimming, a senior hitting a buzzer-beater on senior night in men's basketball to beat my alma mater, the synchro team winning another regional title, the baseball team being ranked in the top 25 in the nation after a 7-1 start… Wheaton student-athletes have been "bringing it".
So, to me, what sticks out is that anything is possible for our programs. There is no limit for the success everybody is capable of at Wheaton if we all stick together and make each other better, every day.
Rapid Fire Questions
Favorite place to eat in Norton? The Best Sandwich Shop & Deli (can't beat their bread)
Favorite event to attend at Wheaton College? The Martin Luther King Legacy event was fantastic this winter.
Favorite sports team? Wheaton Lyons
Favorite place on the Wheaton College Campus? I don't know, yet.
Favorite Movie? Too many favorites to list only one.