OUA: Hilson at the helm in St. Catharines

News out of St. Catharines today is the Brock Badgers have named Rob Hilson their new Director of Athletics. The decision came after a year with Chris Critelli stepping in as interim AD for previous boss Lorne Adams, who stepped down last summer.

To many in the OUA community, this is a bit of a surprise. Hilson, who spent 12 years as Director of Marketing and Media Relations with McMaster Athletics before being let go last spring, had just taken a post at the University of Western Ontario as a Communications Specialist (with his old boss, former Mac AD Therése Quigley).

It's also a bit of a surprise, however, given that Hilson is moving up from a somewhat limited background in communications to the pretty big role of AD. He also worked at McMaster's department of University Advancement as well as Basketball Ontario and as a communications co-ordinator at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Now, a bit of disclosure: I worked with Hilson a lot in my first year as Sports Editor of the McMaster Silhouette and he was great to me. Whenever I needed photos or contact info for a coach or player, Rob was the guy to call, and he was without a doubt a big help. Still, it's a bit of a wild card selection for the Badgers to go with Hilson in what was (from what I'm told) a pretty competitive race.

One of the biggest implications of Hilson's selection is another job search: that of the Brock men's basketball coach. After Ken Murray stepped down last year, former point guard and assistant coach Brad Rootes stepped in as interim bench boss. But now, the search has been re-opened and with Hilson at the helm (that sounds like a badass book title or something), one has to figure that the door is wide open for former Mac coach Joe Raso.

Hilson and Raso, who is one of the frontrunners for the Brock job, obviously worked together a lot at Mac, and it's not hard to imagine the two working together again (albeit in different roles). Raso has got as decorated a resumé as any available coach, and you've got to think this would make for a pretty fun Brock-Mac rivalry. This, of course, is entirely speculative, but will nonetheless be an interesting storyline that plays out over the summer.

With Hilson, the face of Brock Athletics has changed. We'll see soon just how drastic that change is.
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1 comment:

  1. Brian,

    Just wondering how might Robert have a limited background? Because he does not come from a coaching background? Most hirings in the past 5 years have come from those people with marketing and communications backgrounds and not that of someone who has a coaching background - those days are over.

    Darren Cates at RMC, Gord Grace at Windsor (marketing, alumni development, coaching) and myself as head of the RSEQ. It's more of a surprise these days for those who come from a coaching background to become AD than it was in the past.

    Hilson is incredibly well respected, knows how to get the most out of relationships with people and businesses so I think this is an outstanding hire for Brock. It's not easy to replace someone of Lorne's ilk and Chris did a good job this past year, but BU's future is very bright under Robert Hilson's leadership