The University of Alaska Anchorage’s incoming athletic director addressed the media on Friday for the first time. He made clear that he views his job as being about more than just athletics.
Arriving in Anchorage for the first time ever on Tuesday evening, Keith Hackett has already spent a lot of time reaching out to community members, ranging from alumni to the media, even taking part in an open house this afternoon where he got a chance to meet the public.
Hackett says his community outreach efforts will continue because, as he puts it, a significant portion of his job is to be the face of Seawolf athletics.
“That’s gonna be a critical role for me, because it’s one of the things that people told me, that we need to get more involved in community events and community activities,” Hackett said.
Hackett comes from an extremely varied background with 37 years of experience in higher education and athletics; including time as a coach, a dean of students, a provost, an executive vice president and – for the past nine years – the senior associate athletic director at the University of Nevada.
Even though he isn’t officially a “coach” anymore, Hackett says he hasn’t stopped coaching.
“I coach my staff now; and I coach young men and young women that aspire to work in our profession; I coach our coaches,” Hackett said. “And I think that we’re all coaches because we do this on a daily basis.”
“We may not be coaching kids that are wearing helmets or wearing cleats, or wearing soccer shoes, but we’re coaching people to help them to get better at the specific skills they have.”
Hackett replaces Steve Cobb, who was fired in May after questions arose about his handling of a 2011 incident where former hockey coach Dave Shyiak struck a player with a stick during practice.