By: John Sorce
Brookdale Director of Athletics & Recreation Shawn Noël is leaving Brookdale, effective March 17.
"There's been a lot of great memories here and I've met a lot of great people," Noël said. "A lot of great student-athletes have come through here. We have won four national championships in my time here and we have a chance for a fifth with men's basketball. Working with Katie, Trish, Dave and Pete and going back a few years to Shannon, Bo and Jim I have been very fortunate to be able to surround myself with good people."
Noël is leaving Brookdale to take a similar position at Frederick Community College in Frederick, MD. The move, he said, was a family decision.
"We just felt it was the right move and what we needed to do for our family," Noël said. "I will still be able to interact with student-athletes, which is what I love to do."
Noël came to Brookdale in November 2012 after serving as Director of Athletics at Garrett College.
"Brookdale has such a good reputation of being a strong athletics program," Noël said. "When I started, there was six people here. It was a healthy, full-time staff. Brookdale cares about and is willing to invest in athletics. The winning culture is what drew me here."
Under Noël's guidance, the men's basketball team won a national championship in 2012-13 and the women's soccer team three-peated in 2013, 14 and 15.
Noël credits the success of Brookdale's athletic programs to the longevity of its coaches.
"We have some of the best coaches at Brookdale," Noël said. "Their longevity and commitment is hard to find. Most of our successful sports are tied into that longevity and you just don't see that at the Junior College level."
Noël praised the student-athletes that he has gotten to know and work with over the past five years. They do a lot on the field, in the classroom, and outside of school.
"A lot of these kids also have full-time jobs and work really hard off the field." Noël said. "To see them compete is one of my favorite things and it is neat to get to know the students on and off the field as well."
Noël was instrumental in reviving the department's Hall of Fame in 2015, which hadn't had a class inducted since its inaugural class of 1979.
"We've had so many good student-athletes go through here and we wanted to bring that back," Noël said. "We got a group of people together, rewrote the bylaws and pretty much took a wing and a prayer that first year and luckily, it took off from there. That first class was a huge success. It really shows how athletics and Brookdale, in general, touches people and how they became part of the culture at Brookdale. It's also one of the biggest events that we have that truly connects with alumni and brings people back here. It's important to reconnect with your past and those people are honored to be inducted."
Noël has also overseen the rebranding of the Brookdale logo and the athletics website, among other changes.
"We've made a lot of great improvements with our indoor facilities, launched a brand new website and redesigned the athletic logos," Noël said. "Team's take charter buses now for their transportation to games. It's important to listen to who you work with and take their feedback. We're here because of the student-athletes. When they put on that Brookdale jersey, they do so with pride and they know what they are getting into."
Noël had nothing but positive things to say when reflecting on his time at Brookdale.
"The last five and a half years has been great," Noël said. "The Athletics Department is the heartbeat of this college. The teamwork, sportsmanship and pride that our student-athletes display is so crucial. It all starts with the coaches and them being so involved and being proud to represent Brookdale.
"The one thing I would tell everyone is thanks for the memories."