Krist named Brock’s new AD
For the first time in school history, Brock Sports will have a female athletic director.
On Wednesday, the university announced it had selected Melissa Krist to be in charge of Brock’s athletics department and its 900 student/athletes. Krist will assume the position June 1.
Chris Critelli and Emily Allan have served in the role as interim athletic director at Brock, but Krist is the first without any tag in front of the title.
Previous athletic directors at Brock include Bob Davis, Garney Henley, Paul Dupre, Lorne Adams, Robert Hilson, Critelli (interim), Robert Cargenelli (interim). Neil Lumsden and Allan (interim). Arnie Lowenberger was never officially an athletic director at Brock, although he played a key role in developing athletics at the St. Catharines university.
The athletic director’s position at Brock has been vacant since Lumsden retired in January 2019. Associate directors Allan and Steve Lidstone headed up the department until Allan was named interim director in December 2020.
Krist, a University of Toronto grad, has spent the past 25 years in a variety of positions at her alma mater, most recently spending the last 11 years as the manager of intercollegiate sport within the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. A Brock press release stated she is experienced in strategic planning, policy development and revenue generation and serves on several Ontario University Athletics and U SPORTS committees.
Krist feels Brock has the elements to become a centrepiece in the Canadian university athletics landscape.
“Having a school of 19,000 students and 900 student/athletes in competitive sports is phenomenal and not seen anywhere else,” she said, in a press release from Brock. “I’m impressed with the breadth of programming at Brock, including intramural sports. The programming available for the student/athlete at Brock is exceptional. I look forward to continuing that and looking at other opportunities that we can add as our international student base becomes a driving factor.”
Krist has declined to give any interviews with the media until she completes her last day at the University of Toronto on May 20.
“Melissa is a seasoned leader with a proven track record in athletics. Our student/athletes will benefit from her world-class experience and dedication to both athletic and academic excellence,” said Anna Lathrop, Brock’s vice-provost and associate vice-president students. “Melissa is the perfect fit to lead Brock Sports, and I know she will bring stability and vision to the role — making a profound impact both in support of our coaches, staff and student-athletes and also as we align the vision and mission of Brock Sports with the university’s strategic plan.”
Krist, who earned a BA in sociology at the University of Toronto, played varsity basketball while pursuing a sport administration diploma at Durham College.
“When I was a student/athlete, I saw first-hand the impact a high-performance culture can have on a program and what’s required to get to the next level,” she said.
Krist is a first-generation Canadian whose parents immigrated from Croatia. The Toronto native credits her career in sports to Maureen Dugo, a former point guard for the Brock Badgers women’s basketball team, who taught and coached at Loyola Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga for 34 years.
“Brock has had a special piece of my heart for most of my life,” Krist said. “Growing up, I didn’t know my post-secondary sport pathways until I was recruited by my high school coach, Ms. Dugo, to play women’s basketball. She motivated and encouraged me to be a leader throughout my student/athlete development. She played an important role in how I ended up pursuing a career in sport.”
At Toronto, Krist was mentored by former director of athletics and high performance, Liz Hoffman, and current executive director of co-curricular athletics and physical activity, Beth Ali.
“There are not too many people who can say they reported to two female athletic directors during their career. Their mentorship had a remarkable impact on my professional career,” Krist said. “People stay at U of T for a long time because of the culture built by those two. That’s the culture that I want Brock to have; a family culture of ‘Everybody is a Badger.’ ”
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