by Tyler Roaix
Central Connecticut State University Athletic Director Paul Schlickmann, is leaving the school after being hired at Fairfield University for the same position.
Since being hired in April 2010, Schlickmann has led the athletic department to improvements in seemingly every fashion.
CCSU athletes have been successful on the field and in the classroom during Schlickmann’s tenure. With 17 Northeastern Conference championships over the past seven years, Central ranks tied for second in the conference during that time period.
But academic success was a focus for Schlickmann as well. An incredible 168 student athletes placed on the most recent NEC honor roll, according to the CCSU Athletic Department’s website.
“CCSU is a great school with a lot of great kids,” Schlickmann said. “I can’t describe how amazing it feels to have developed relationships with these people along the way.”
Christopher Galligan, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at CCSU, shared what Schlickmann has meant to the university.
“He has done so many great things for us,” Galligan shared. “Our involvement with the community has been the highlight for me. We stress this as a university, but our athletes have been incredible in that aspect. And obviously Paul is a huge part of that.”
Schlickmann shared the same sentiment about working with the community in and around New Britain. He admitted that seeing how young kids looked at student-athletes like heroes, being able to better their lives was very rewarding. So much so, that he was moved to tears at times.
With Schlickmann’s departure, Central now has to go about finding a new Athletic Director to take over. According to Galligan, there is no timetable as to when the search will begin.
“It’s tough because we have to take the economic climate of the state into consideration. Let’s not forget that Connecticut still doesn’t have a budget,” Galligan confessed. “We have to do what’s best for the university so we won’t rush into anything.”
Galligan also admitted that the university will rely on the entire staff within the athletic department to run the day-to-day operations. An official announcement regarding the future of CCSU athletics could come as early as this week.
The most interesting part, is that Schlickman never thought something like this was in the cards. In fact, he was shocked to get the call from Fairfield and hearing they were interested in him.
But when he was introduced as the new Athletic Director at Fairfield in front of his father, who is a Fairfield alumnus, he described the feeling as “purely special.”
“It’s amazing how life has an amazing way of coming full circle when you least expect it.”
Despite looking forward to a great opportunity at Fairfield University, Schlickmann couldn’t help but look back and feel sentimental.
“This was my first shot at being an athletic director. I will forever be grateful for my time at CCSU. The camaraderie and spirit these kids have shown. It just goes to show you that we really take pride when we talk about what it means to me a Blue Devil.”
Schlickmann’s first day at Fairfield University will be Monday, Sept. 11.