Gehling to Step Down as Director of Athletics and Take on New Responsibilities at Tufts

MEDFORD - Effective July 1, 2015, William (Bill) Gehling will step down as director of athletics to take on new responsibilities as senior advisor to University Advancement.

Bill Gehling has been part of the Tufts community for more than 40 years

Gehling has been part of the Tufts community for more than 40 years — as a student-athlete, coach and administrator. He was an all-star soccer player, graduating in 1974 with a B.A. in child development; he also earned a M.Ed. from Tufts. In 1979, he began a 20-year tenure as coach of the new women’s soccer program, guiding the Jumbos to the NCAA national quarterfinals in 1998, his final season. He was appointed Tufts’ fifth director of athletics in 1999.

"In addition to caring deeply about the success of our athletes, Bill has promoted sports as a transformative experience for our students, using the games they play as opportunities to develop leadership, teamwork and other skills that will benefit them well after they leave Tufts," said Jim Glaser, Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. "I have known Bill for nearly twenty years, and I can tell you that he is the very embodiment of the values of leadership and character that he espouses."

Currently in his 16th year as director of athletics, Gehling oversees a program that has grown in all dimensions.

Tufts teams and athletes have achieved on the field, in class and in the community under Gehling’s leadership. The Jumbo varsity sports program has consistently ranked among the best in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup, which awards points to schools based upon their finishes in NCAA events. Out of more than 400 NCAA Division III institutions, Tufts placed seventh for 2013-14 and has been among the top 10 seven times overall. The Jumbo men’s lacrosse and softball teams won NCAA Championships in 2013-14, while diver Johann Schmidt and hurdler Jana Hieber won NCAA individual titles.

Outstanding facility improvements have also marked Gehling’s tenure. The Bacow Sailing Pavilion was dedicated in October 2013. The Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center opened in 2012 featuring a larger fitness center and sports medicine room along with new locker rooms, meeting rooms, and department offices. The University renovated Cousens Gymnasium in 2009, enhancing the playing and viewing experience while maintaining the ambiance of the historic venue. Shoemaker Boathouse on the Malden River, a sparkling home for the Tufts rowing teams, opened in 2006. Bello Field, the artificial turf venue which serves as the home for field hockey and lacrosse along with several other purposes, opened in 2004.

Among the initiatives he introduced was the Tufts Personalized Performance Program to help students, faculty, staff and community members attain their personal fitness goals and understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The F.I.T. pre-orientation program was started to promote physical and personal development to incoming freshmen.

Jumbo student athletes are also champions in class and in the community. With nearly one-fifth of the student body participating in varsity athletics, Tufts has student-athletes who annually maintain a cumulative grade point average that is equal to the overall undergraduate grade point average. Softball All-American Jo Clair was the New England Small College Athletic Conference’s nomination for NCAA Woman of the Year in 2014. Among many community service activities, Jumbo teams help improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses through Tufts’ relationship with Team Impact, which pairs these children with college teams.

"In 45 years at Tufts Bill has done it all," said Branwen Smith-King, Senior Woman Administrator in Athletics. "From being one of our top student-athletes, to becoming a successful coach and then leading the department into the 21st Century, he’s been at the forefront of Tufts Athletics’ contribution to our vibrant campus life."

In his new role, Gehling will be responsible for building a modern network of athletics alumni and will explore fundraising opportunities in support of Tufts Athletics and other university priorities in the next capital campaign.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed each of the roles I have had the fortune of playing at Tufts," Gehling said.  "As an athlete, coach and administrator I have seen Tufts from different perspectives and grown to deeply appreciate this unique and outstanding institution.  I am really looking forward to my new role where I see a wonderful opportunity to put my experience, knowledge and relationships to use in support of Tufts."

A search for the next director of athletics is currently underway.