The Western Mustangs are pleased to announce that Catherine Ireland (CJ) will be starting in the role of Director of Sport in Sports & Recreation, Student Experience on May 29, 2023.
CJ has been immersed in the world of sports for many years, starting with her journey as a student athlete. The experiences that shaped her during her NCAA D1 hockey career at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania have helped her to understand the many elements that are tied to student athlete experience including effort, success, and failure, and the power of a common team goal.
After graduation from Mercyhurst CJ attended Manhattanville College, a small D3 NCAA school in New York, in a coaching role that introduced her to the unique challenges and nuances of coaching within an academic environment. Concurrently, she also pursued a master's degree in Gender Studies, allowing her to take a deeper dive into the realm of sports, doing her graduate thesis on gender roles in sports.
Upon completion of her studies CJ returned to Canada and began serving two National Sport Organizations, most notably working with Wheelchair Basketball Canada for seven years. Her role there included comprehensive support and administration of the sport across Canada. She also worked with the Coaching Association of Canada, leading the creation of the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model and managing the transition from the old NCCP levels to the new. She also spent some time working with Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada.
For the past six years, CJ has worked here at Western University with the Careers department in the Ivey Business School. She spearheaded a significant overhaul of the career curriculum to align with Ivey's strategic plan, with an emphasis on lifelong learning and inclusivity. Her holistic approach, considering the diverse and inclusive needs of our students, will help to serve her well as our new Director, Sport.
Her involvement in sports today is multifaceted and includes coaching youth teams and serving on executive committees within minor sports associations. Her dedication to sports and advocacy for athletes remains unwavering. She has a strong appreciation for how sport helps to impart life lessons, fosters an environment that encourages development and growth, and promotes a sense of belonging and inclusion.
We are very pleased to have CJ join Sports & Recreation in this instrumental role. This role reports into Christine Stapleton, the Director of Sports & Recreation, and will help to further our strategic priorities, working with the coaches and Sport staff to continue to develop a transformational student athlete experience.
We look forward to welcoming CJ to the Western Sports & Recreation team later this month.