From Field to Front Office: Albion College’s New Athletic Director

On March 13, Albion College posted an announcement on the Albion Athletics page with a photograph, naming Jennifer Rushton as its next director of athletics. Rushton joins Albion after spending 27 years in a variety of athletic administration roles (Photo courtesy of Marissa Smego).

On March 14, Jennifer Rushton was announced as the new director of athletics, a position previously held by interim director of athletics Eric Scott since August 2023. 

Set to transition into the role on June 1, Rushton currently serves as Director of Athletics at Young Harris College in Georgia. Despite the distance, Scott said Rushton has experience with Michigan because she worked at Saginaw Valley.

“Her ties to Michigan, her understanding of Division Three and her experience in the conference makes us excited,” Scott said.

Rushton’s journey began through her involvement with Trine University’s basketball team. When Rushton graduated, she stayed on in the coaching department. 

“That really got my foot in the door from that standpoint, and I eventually decided to go full-time into administration,” Rushton said. “I was doing some administrative work while I was coaching and just decided that was a better way for me to make a larger impact on a number of student-athletes.”

Scott said that Rushton’s appointment was influenced by input from a panel of student-athletes. 

“We handpicked the students, but they were certainly engaged student-athletes who had the best interests of other students in mind,” Scott said. “I appreciate how steady she was throughout the whole grueling interview process.”

Rushton attributes her ongoing commitment as an athletic director to prioritizing the growth of student-athletes during their college years. 

“I tell our students (at Young Harris College) all the time: You should not be the same person when you leave here. In four years, as you were when you started as a freshman, we hope that we’ve been able to invest in you and help you learn and grow,” Rushton said. 

Part of Rushton’s daily routine, she said, is, “trying to balance a lot of different things.”

“It’s working with your coaches, working with your staff and working with your student-athletes. You have facilities you’re trying to manage, you have fundraising you’re trying to accomplish,” Rushton said. “Just all those are different things that you have to keep in mind.”

For Scott, “athletic directors have to also be able to operate short-term rates so that the short-term decisions help with the long-term budget.” 

Scott added that part of Rushton’s responsibilities will be to establish a long-term vision for athletics at Albion throughout her appointment.

Though her role is centered in the world of athletics, Rushton added that she finds collaboration to be an important part of the visibility of athletics. 

“Collaboration is key. We have to be great partners with everybody, including admissions, student development, you name it. I think all that is critical for our success,” Rushton said.

Beyond being visible on campus, Rushton is one of few women in the world of athletic directing. Zippia, an employment platform focused on demographics, reports that as of 2024, “21.8% of athletic directors are women and 78.2% of athletic directors are men.” 

Furthermore, Rushton, who used to direct Division I sports, is part of the 15% of female athletic directors in that category.

Rushton is looking forward to collaborating with athletes and faculty to ensure a supportive environment on campus. 

“I want to make sure our student-athletes have a great experience when they’re in the classroom, in their sport and beyond,” Rushton said. “Our job is to help grow and mentor young students.”

About Killian Altayeb 24 Articles
Killian Altayeb is from Novi, Michigan and is a second-year student at Albion College. They are a Biochemistry Major with a journalistic interest in all things public health. Contact Killian via email at NA12@albion.edu.

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