In the past week, three of Fairfield University’s Division I athletics coaches re-signed contracts that would extend their time as Stags. Men’s basketball head coach Jay Young, baseball head coach Bill Currier and women’s lacrosse head coach Laura Field, all signed new deals with the University.
Young, the leader of the men’s basketball team for only two years, has major plans to keep last year’s momentum rolling while transitioning into his third year. With previous experience in coaching at Rutgers University, Stony Brook University and the University of New Haven, Young is a seasoned veteran in his work and was able to lead the Stags to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship last year, where the squad ultimately fell to Iona College.
Young’s original deal with Fairfield was for a five-year contract, which, as of last week, was extended through the 2025-2026 season. Director of athletics Paul Schlickmann reached out to Young for an extension, which Young planned on doing anyways. “They [The athletic department] offered, and I was going to extend it before they changed it,” Young confirmed, referencing his contract.
Young has enjoyed his two years at Fairfield so far, and has already created fond memories with his student-athletes. “The best moments are really every day in practice when I get to work and coach and be around these guys,” Young said.
As Young and company are working together to make the final preparations before their season begins in November, the Fairfield University baseball team has been working hard to prepare for their spring with leadership from head coach Bill Currier.
Coach Currier, who will enter his 11th season as head coach of the Stags, cannot wait to continue to turn heads in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. As the first MAAC baseball team to ever secure an at-large bid to the NCAA regional tournament while also boasting an impressive 33-1 record in conference play last season, the Stags cemented themselves as one of the most powerful college baseball programs in the nation.
Currier is proud to have supported the Stags for the last ten seasons and is thankful to Fairfield University for allowing him another opportunity to continue to improve the organization.
“Basically, they’re believing in what I’ve been doing for the past ten years, and I think I’ve earned that. And I think they see that, which is appreciated,” Currier stated.
His signing situation, however, was a bit different compared to Young’s. As his former contract was coming to a close, he felt that it would be important to approach Mr. Schlickmann and deputy director of athletics Zachary Dayton about extending his contract by five years as opposed to the three-year deal he signed previously.
Another important aspect of this five-year contract extension is the fact that it facilitates the recruiting process, not only for Currier but for the recruits themselves that are coming in. “It’s good for recruits to know that you’re locked in for five years,” Currier mentioned. “It’s important for both parties to realize, ‘hey, I know the coach I’m going to be playing for.’”
As the recruitment process has gone relatively quiet as of this week, it allows for both the baseball’s coaching staff and players to mentally prepare themselves for the road ahead. This consists not only of practicing and training, but also goal setting. Currier explained that the team keeps their goals very concise, and only looks as far as the season ahead. For his next five years as a Stag, the only general goal is consistent improvement, whereas the more specific details will be ironed out at a later date.
Sharing the spotlight in the spring with coach Currier will be head coach of women’s lacrosse Laura Field, who also signed a contract extension of her own this past week. This renewal will extend her tenure as the women’s lacrosse head coach through the 2024 season.
With her seventh season looming over the horizon, she took the chance to renew her old contract with Schlickmann, where both parties had a discussion about what was next for the Stags. This discussion led to the mutual agreement of Field returning for three more years. “I think I am fortunate to have a great relationship with Paul and with the university at large,” Field mentioned.
As a next step for the extremely successful women’s lacrosse team, Field wants to continue to build and improve upon where they finished last year, which saw the Stags in the first round of the NCAA playoffs.
“We have a lot left on the table in terms of winning that NCAA game, and putting ourselves in a better position to win that NCAA game,” Field said.
Sharing a similar mentality to both Young and Currier, Field believes that the most memorable moments are created off the field, citing “the smaller human moments” as some of her favorite times with her student-athletes. “We went out and played in Denver and we had a little bit of team time after that, right before we shut down,” Field said.
The stop-and-go environment of last year in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic was frustrating, but to Field, that only made the return to Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium that much better, especially as it allowed her athletes the opportunity to play again.
“You’ll have a lot of wins and losses in your career, but you’ll really remember the people that populated your world for your coaching career and your playing career,” Field stated.
In the Fairfield community, the athletic program is only as strong as the fans they cheer the teams on. Young, Currier, and Field all urged fans to come and cheer on their respective teams in their respective seasons. “The Stags are here to compete and the Stags are going to put on a good show mostly every day, and I think they’d be excited to watch that,” Currier mentioned in regards to the fans of Fairfield’s athletics.
With the contract extensions of these three head coaches, Fairfield University is able to rally around these high-caliber leaders who have all proved their talents in some of the highest stages of competitive play last season. In the meantime, however, they will continue to coach their athletes until their seasons begin again shortly.