New Albertus Magnus athletic director Mike Kobylanski’s unique career path: ‘Covered the full gamut’

Mike Kobylanski is the new athletic director at Albertus Magnus after serving as AD at UConn Avery Point.

Mike Kobylanski is the new athletic director at Albertus Magnus after serving as AD at UConn Avery Point.

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Mike Kobylanski’s last day as UConn-Avery Point athletic director was Tuesday, marking the end of his tenure in a position as unique as his career path.

“During the course of my time here, I did everything from cleaning vomit out of the pool to washing uniforms to planning meals for teams to bringing in revenue and strategic planning, and everything in between,” said Kobylanski, 43, who grew up in North Haven and has raised his family in Cheshire. “It really covered the full gamut, and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

The book is closed on Kobylanski’s four-year run at Avery Point in Groton, time spent leading a National Junior College Athletic Association program of three teams. On June 6, Kobylanski was named athletic director at Albertus Magnus, an NCAA Division III school in New Haven with 16 athletics programs and more than a dozen full-timers on staff.

He will begin his job at Albertus in mid-July, replacing former UConn basketball player Jim Abromaitis, who announced his retirement in January. Kobylanski applied for the AD job at Albertus three times — in 2010, in 2013 when Abromaitis was hired and again early this year.

“I’m a Connecticut guy, a Greater New Haven guy,” Kobylanski said. “Certainly I understand these things take time and I was hoping the third time would be the charm and, lo and behold, it will be. With the breadth and depth of the staff, some of the resources the department has, there will be some opportunities there that I think will be very beneficial. I’m excited.”

Kobylanski is now a couple of strides into the second phase of his shift from one area of athletic administration to another, a career path not unheard of but still rare.

A longtime sports information director at Quinnipiac and later Southern Connecticut, Kobylanski once dreamed of taking the same position at, say, Notre Dame or Michigan. Instead, he has weaved his way around the state for the education and experience needed to become an AD.

After earning a bachelor’s degree at UMass, he got master’s in journalism at Quinnipiac while working there. He later earned a master’s in sports management at New Haven, where he still teaches an Applied Collegiate Fitness and Athletics course each spring.

“After a few years I got the bug,” Kobylanski said. “I said, ‘I don’t want to just lead the sports info department. I want to lead the whole department.’ Right, wrong or otherwise, sometimes SID’s get pigeon-holed with this specific area of expertise. It’s communication, dealing with a wide range of personalities and troubleshooting. Those are at the core of pretty much any college athletics position. They were prevalent in the SID world and I had a lot of practical on the job training and correlating experiences.”

A sports information director is, technically, an assistant or associate athletic director, primarily responsible for game day operations, scorekeeping, media relations, press releases and messaging.

An athletic director, of course, runs the whole show. The nature of such jobs can vary, though.

Avery Point and Albertus have roughly the same amount of staff members, about 40, but different profiles. At Avery Point, Kobylanski was the only full-time staffer, with support from those with part-time position and very specific responsibilities.

At Albertus, he’ll be one of more than a dozen full-timers. Where at Avery Point he oversaw the baseball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams — as well as the school’s waterfront program — he’ll lead at Albertus an ambitious athletic program that has gained great momentum in Division III over the past 10-plus years. There are six full-time administrators alone.

“It’s just grown exponentially,” Kobylanski said. “The resources are there. The support is there. I’ll just try to take the needle and move it a little further.”

Albertus has added five athletic programs over the past nine years and continues to add staff in areas of marketing, training, student support and beyond. Most facilities have also been upgraded. There are now about 200 student-athletes.

Albertus conducted a national search before offering Kobylanski the job.

“As the strong pool of potential candidates took shape, Mike Kobylanski from his first interactions with our community demonstrated an authentic passion for the student-athlete model we champion Albertus,” president Marc Camille said in a statement.

Vice president for enrollment management and marketing, Andrea Kovacas, will be Kobylanski’s director supervisor.

“This is an exciting moment of transition and opportunity for Albertus Athletics,” she said. “With Mike we have the right individual to continue growing our programs, their competitive successes, and our commitment to graduating student-athletes prepared for meaningful careers.”

Kobylanski said one perception of Avery Point presented to him upon arriving in 2018 was that student-athletes weren’t performing and retaining on part with the rest of the student body. He considers dispelling that notion among his greatest achievements.

“Furthest thing from the truth,” Kobylanski said. “I would not have been as well rounded as a candidate if I did not have this position [at Avery Point], having worked with municipalities, rental revenue, strategic planning, and compliance. I didn’t have the full scope of that in my experiences at Southern or Quinnipiac. I felt like Albertus wrote the job description for me. I felt like I had checked off every box because of what I had done over time.”

Kobylanski, who has three sons with wife Kristen, will take vacation and begin at Albertus in mid-July.

“If a student-worker calls out and can’t make a shift at the athletic center, it won’t be me they’re calling and it won’t be me who will be sitting down and overseeing the desk in those emergency situations,” he said. “I know there are priorities from an enrollment perspective and a fundraising perspective, I will have time available to concentrate on those areas. And the biggest goal for me is to make sure the student-athletes are having the best experience possible.”; @ManthonyHearst