By Angel Ospina | Posted on November 19, 2015
Behind every great team is a great leader, and Kean University’s athletic program has officially found its leader.
Jack McKiernan was officially named as the schools seventh Athletic Director this past October.
“The number one goal for the athletic department is to have student athletes who graduate within 4 years playing here,” said McKiernan over the phone. “We want to be highly competitive on the field, we want to compete for conference championships, we want to finish towards the top of the conference, and when we have the opportunities, compete for national championships.”
The university has employed McKiernan for the past 15 years, where he was hired as the Sports Information Director and five years later was promoted to the Associate Athletic Director.
Former Athletic Director Chris Morgan resigned at the end of the Spring 2015 semester after accepting the same position at his alma mater, Elizabethtown College.
In search for a new athletic director, the university turned to the man embedded with knowledge of Kean’s athletic program and named him as the Acting Athletic Director.
“I have a deep love and passion for the school,” said McKiernan. “I devoted a long part of my life to this and to have the opportunity to hopefully have a positive impact on the university going forward is what I’ve wanted for my professional career.”
McKiernan’s role as a leader stems from when was in the trenches as an offensive lineman for Rutgers football team and was named team captain his senior year in 1997.
“Being a leader on a team sport, there’s a lot of carry over into real life, putting your own ego behind the goals of the team is what you need,” said McKiernan.
Now McKiernan is leading several teams as athletic director and his staff is eager to follow. “He has the universities and athletic programs best interest at heart, so that’s a great thing for our program,” said Leslie LaFronz, Head Coach of Kean’s field hockey
LeFronz is in the midst of her seventh season as head coach and throughout the years has got to known McKiernan quite well.
“He was actually the person I interviewed with when I was hired,” LeFronz said. “He loves Kean University, he’s invested in our program and our student athletes and we’re really excited to have him as our athletic director.”
McKiernan is not looking to make any drastic changes in his honeymoon stage as athletic director, as he has already been steadily involved in the shaping of the program over the past 15 years.
“I’ve been part of hiring over half the staff that’s already in place here. I’ve seen them at their highs and I’ve seen them at their lows so there’s a good trust built up with the coaching staff,” said McKiernan.
Head Coach of the women’s lacrosse team, Jordan Trautman spoke of that trust.
“He is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure we as coaches have all the necessary tools to be as successful as possible, and to take care of each and every athlete so their experience here at Kean as a student athlete is extraordinary,” said Trautman.
McKiernan’s hard work and dedication is displayed not only at Kean, but also throughout the entire nation, as he is currently the chair of NCAA Division III National Football Committee and NJAC Football Sport chair.
In 2011 he received a Service Award for his outstanding working and contributions to interscholastic athletics by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.
McKiernan has all the accolades, but it’s his deep passion for sports that makes him so equipped for the job.
“It’s what I do, its what I love, sports is who I am,” said McKiernan.