Jacobs enjoys role as athletic administrator
YSU associate AD updates coach search
By Greg Gulas
As Youngstown State University’s associate athletic director and senior woman administrator, Elaine Jacobs says she is blessed to be able to get up every morning and go to a job that she enjoys.
She added that while things can get hectic at times, her position affords her an opportunity to interact with some of the finest players and coaches on any level and is still very rewarding at the end of the day.
Speaking to the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly meeting at Avion Banquet Center, Jacobs said working with 19 varsity sports does, however, at times have its challenges.
“I can never articulate enough how blessed I feel that I am in my hometown, working for my alma mater, I’m getting to deal with sports and I get to work with good people,” she said. “I get frustrated like everyone else, but it passes. I couldn’t imagine a better career than the one I have chosen and am grateful that I had the opportunity to work my way up and am still working.”
A four-year letterwinner in softball player during her undergraduate days, Jacobs first served as an assistant basketball coach under former women’s head coach Ed DiGregorio before taking over her administrative post where and is currently in her 24th year of service.
Of the 19 varsity sports that are currently offered at YSU, 11 are women’s programs and with gender equity at the forefront of her tenure, she has taken the lead and assisted in the implementation of women’s soccer, swimming and diving and golf programs.
“We’ve been blessed to have the support of athletic director Ron Strollo and a Board of Trustees that has funneled extra monies to us that has helped support the addition of those programs,” Jacobs said. “We used to have part-time coaches, partial scholarships and teams would use locker rooms that they shared with the general student population.
“Year-by-year, month-by-month we’ve really been able to really bring those to full-time positions, trying to make them equitable with the league that we’re a part of and in doing so, have been able to enjoy some successes.”
Prior to aforementioned program additions, the athletic department had close to 320 student-athletes. They now monitor the classroom progress and matriculation of over 400 varsity team members that sport a cumulative 3.1 grade-point average.
With Jerry Slocum’s recent retirement as the school’s men’s basketball coach, Jacobs said that the goal was to have his position posted by the end of Monday’s work day.
“Ron’s phone goes from full battery to zero battery twice a day, every day as he gets hammered by search firms, etc.,” Jacobs said. “Some schools do hire search firms, but we’re not doing that because one, it’s extremely expensive and secondly, we feel like it is our responsibility because we’re going to be held accountable for the coach at the end of the day.
“On this current basketball search, Ron is taking the lead and will keep President [Jim] Tressel very much aware of who has been reaching out. Once posted, then we will be able to see who is sincerely interested.”
One drawback to the search is that some interested parties are still alive in tournament play.’
“There are candidates out there right now still competing and some that aren’t, so there’s no particular background we’re specifically looking at,” Jacobs said. “We just have to find the right fit and the right fit for somebody at one institution might not be the right fit at ours.”
Next week, WBBW 1240-AM sports director Mark Means will serve as the Curbstone Coaches guest speaker.