Fairfield University’s President Mark R. Nemec PhD named Paul Schlickmann the program’s seventh Director of Athletics on Monday, Aug. 28. Schlickmann previously held the same title at Central Connecticut State University for seven years before coming to Stag Country. It has been a hectic first week in the office for Schlickmann, but he has thrown himself into the culture here at Fairfield and is eager to get to know everyone.
“I’ve been trying to get out and talk to as many teams as I can right off the bat. I think it is very important for me to get to know the student-athletes,” Schlickmann said. “It is going to take a while for me to get to know them but it is important for us when we see each other walking around we can at least say ‘hi’ and have that familiarity. I have been bopping around Walsh and popping into offices talking to coaches all week.”
A love for Stags sports was in Schlickmann’s blood when he was born. His father graduated from Fairfield in 1962 and an affinity for Fairfield sports began to grow as he became older and started watching the red and white.
“Since I was young my dad was telling me about Fairfield and how special it was to him. I became a sports fan of Fairfield and followed them from a basketball perspective going to games here and there especially the Fairfield-Holy Cross rivalry games in Worcester.”
But it was not all about the sports for Schlickmann. Despite heading to Trinity College for his undergraduate degree, he always held Fairfield in a high regard. So when the opportunity came to take the job as Director of Athletics, it was a resounding yes for the lifelong New Englander.
“It all evolved for me looking at it through a different lense in terms of a personal perspective. I always felt as though the quality and caliber of the institution was really high and very well respected. It continues to go on a trajectory that is upward. The emotional ties was at the core but the caliber of the institution was huge,” he said. “Does it fit your core values and your philosophy, and for me it is a home run and it all goes back to my dad and mom. President Nemec and his leadership team is great so to be surrounded by that and work with them was a huge draw for me.”
At the helm of Fairfield Athletics, Schlickmann cannot help but admire what he has inherited here at the school. With the school now looking better than ever, the desire to become part of the herd has never been greater.
“There are some spectacular things in place here. It is a spectacular institution with great leadership. Beautiful campus, great place to get an education, great town, great place to be. There are so many things that are attractive about Fairfield and the surrounding area.”
With that said, the hard work is just beginning now for Schlickmann as he knows that Fairfield’s ceiling is endless with the resources available.
“I think it is a matter of coming in and trying to use athletics as a vehicle to continue to advance the trajectory of the institution. Athletically, we have some really good facilities. We have some really good student-athletes. We have some really talented coaches,” he said. “ It is a matter of coming in and assessing everything program by program and how we can take Stags Athletics to the next level. I am really excited about the possibilities here.”
The Fairfield community cannot wait to see what Schlickmann can do for the program. With new blood in the athletic department, Stags fans have much to look forward to with an experienced, motivated and poised man ready to take Fairfield sports to new heights from the get go.