In mid-August, we had a chance to sit down with Craig Pintens, the athletic director of Loyola Marymount University.  When we scheduled the interview, it was our intention to discuss the changing landscape of collegiate athletics in a time when athletes were beginning to enjoy greater ownership of their personal and commercial identities, and how leaders could maintain connectedness and community with their athletes in the midst of this change.  This seemed particularly relevant to Loyola Marymount, a small but strong Jesuit institution in the middle of the world’s largest and loudest entertainment marketplace.  Then, things changed, and Loyola Marymount became one of many athletic departments attempting to manage the welfare of their programs and student athletes during a global health crisis, and our conversation changed with it.  Specifically, our interest was in how to lead through a crisis of any kind.  What is lost during times shared adversity?  What is gained?  As leaders, how do we balance hope and caution?  How do we best advocate for the safety of our athletes, and for the health of sport as a whole?  And how do we bring the lessons we’ve learned to whatever comes next for our communities?

More on Craig Pintens can be found here.

“At all levels of college athletics, we have the same issues.  They’re just separated by commas.  The issues are all the same.  You have student athletes who are trying to find their way in life, and our ultimate goal is to have them make an impact in whatever they’re going to do after graduation.  And the stats are true, 98% of our athletes are going to go pro in something other than their sport.”

– Craig Pintens

Episode Highlights:

– The importance of asking questions as a leader

– Communication and leadership

– Listening and leadership

– Problem solving and leadership

– The differences between the needs of student-athletes in large and small programs

– Cura personalis.  Care for the whole person.  Developing student-athletes’ minds, bodies, and spirits

– How to show leadership remotely during a pandemic

– Connecting with athletes on a different level during a crisis

-Name-image-likeness and its impact on athletic departments

– How student-athletes are handling Covid-19

– How coaches can support their athletes through challenges and potential cancellations

– Transitions and forced transitions out of sport

– How motivation is impacted by pandemic

– Winning the wait

– Managing the stress of leadership

– Balancing the need to gather information and the need to be decisive as a leader

– Leaning on relationships as a leader