|Title:||Director of Athletics|
Paul Schlickmann is in his seventh year as the Director of Athletics at Central Connecticut State University. Schlickmann was introduced as the Director of Athletics in April of 2010 and under his leadership, Blue Devil Athletics has achieved unprecedented academic and competitive success, has been integrally involved in community engagement, completed one of the finest outdoor college athletics complexes in the Northeast and has established record setting growth in fundraising.
At Central, Schlickmann has established A Commitment to Excellence in all aspects of Blue Devil Athletics with a primary objective of providing each and every student-athlete with a positive educational experience. Building Champions; in the classroom, in competition, in the community and in life, is at the core of his expectation to build a premier FCS athletics program.
Shortly after Schlickmann was hired, he launched a new era for CCSU and Blue Devil Athletics with a comprehensive re-branding initiative, highlighted by 11 unique marks, a new Blue Devil mascot and a custom font developed for the department. This was a critical step in honoring CCSU’s rich athletics tradition while re-defining elevated expectations and aspirations for the athletics program. The new looks are visible representation of the department's core values, but have had a dramatic impact as galvanizing agents in the spirit, pride and identity of the university family.
Blue Devil student-athletes are performing with unprecedented academic achievement by a myriad of measurable standards. In the most recent APR cohort (2014-15), the Blue Devils recorded an average multi-year APR score of 970, seven teams with perfect single year scores of 1,000 and two teams (women’s basketball and women’s golf) recognized by the NCAA for finishing in the top 10% nationally. The current average team GPA for all 18 Blue Devil programs is a 3.1, with 13 of 18 teams finishing the 2015-16 academic year with team grade point averages above 3.0 and 60% of all student-athletes (246) reaching the same mark. Central placed a record number (168 student-athletes) on the most recent NEC Honor Roll (GPA above 3.25) and 28 on the NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll (GPA above 3.75).
Competitively under Schlickmann, Blue Devil programs have experienced the most successful stretch in their history. CCSU has won 17 NEC Championships since 2010, tied for the second most among all NEC schools during that period and the most in any similar time frame in CCSU’s Division I tenure. In 2014-15, CCSU set a program record with five teams capturing NEC Championships and 11 teams achieving a top four NEC finish, both the largest single year totals in school history. In addition, the Blue Devils have posted their four highest Northeast Conference Commissioner’s Cup finishes in the last decade including a 4th place overall finish in the 2014-15, the best since 2001-02 and a 3rd place Women’s finish in the 2014-15, the best in CCSU history
Throughout his time at CCSU, Schlickmann has placed the highest priority on providing a holistic educational experience to all student-athletes. He comprised and implemented a scholarship plan to fully fund eight priority sports, achieve the requisite level for football GIA equivalencies to be eligible for FBS competition in 2017 and to significantly enhance equivalencies for all sports. The department has implemented a comprehensive series of educational workshops and guest speakers in areas such as drug and alcohol use, mental health, professional development, social media, healthy relationships and nutrition while also retaining the services of a Sports Psychologist to conduct individual and team sessions for all programs.
In a continuing effort to carry out a core aspect of the University mission and develop well rounded men and women, Central Athletics and Blue Devil student-athletes have had a dramatic impact on the community in the last seven years. During that time, the student-athletes and staff have completed close to 30,000 hours of community service. In 2011, Blue Devil Athletics secured an unprecedented $50,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation to fund a Community Service oriented “Education through Athletics” program focused on elementary school children in the city of New Britain.
An additional key in the department’s community service efforts has been a comprehensive marketing plan focused on fan development and enhanced mediums to tell the CCSU Blue Devil story. This plan has resulted in a new-look website, increased high definition video streams for fan viewing and a mobile app in conjunction with Presto Sports, the official website provider of the Blue Devils. In addition, CCSU launched an online ticketing platform for the first time in 2012-13, facilitating access to tickets for CCSU football and basketball. All of these strategies have translated well as the Blue Devils have been in the top-two in NEC attendance in football and men’s and women’s basketball each of the last six years.
The Blue Devil physical plant has also seen dramatic changes since Schlickmann began his tenure at CCSU. He has overseen the critical stages of a $12 million transformation of Central's outdoor athletics complex. Blue Devil student-athletes now train and compete in some of the finest facilities in the country among our peer conferences. Features of the new complex now include;
• Football stadium with 5,500 seats, Field Turf playing surface and state of the art video scoreboard/billboard.
• Soccer/Track stadium with an eight lane track, Field Turf playing surface, covered grandstand seating for 500 spectators, press box and state of the art video scoreboard,
• Baseball stadium with seating for 500 spectators, Field Turf playing surface, enclosed dugouts, press box and new scoreboard.
• Softball stadium with seating for 300, Field Turf playing surface, enclosed dugouts and new scoreboard.
Externally, armed with the exceptional progress that now tells the current Blue Devil Athletics story, Schlickmann established a comprehensive annual giving and fundraising plan that has yielded record setting results in each of his first six years. A rebranded Blue Devil Pride Fund has yielded a 295% increase in annual donors and a 71% increase in annual giving revenue since 2010. Donors to the Blue Devil Pride Fund accounted for 35% of all annual donors to CCSU in FY’16. In addition, the value of the Athletics endowment has increased by approximately $1 million since 2010, partially as a result of five new endowed scholarship funds and two new endowed operating funds. Effectively supplementing these fundraising efforts has been an increase in corporate sponsorship revenue of 85% since 2010.
These exponential increases in donors and revenue generation have afforded continued growth and improvement in key aspects of the program including scholarships, program operating budgets, recruiting, facility renovations and student-athlete support services.
Always active in conference leadership and NCAA circles, Schlickmann served a two year term as the Chair of the NEC Athletic Director Committee and is currently in his fourth and final year (2013-2017) on the NCAA Division I Football Championship Committed, serving as Vice Chair in 2016-17. He was a member of the FCS Athletic Director Association Executive Committee from 2010 -2014. Schlickmann is also integrally involved in campus life at Central, having served on the University Master Planning Committee and the University Faculty Senate. While at Stony Brook, Schlickmann was selected to a four term on the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Committee from 2004-2008, serving as Chair in 2007. He was also a member of Stony Brook's institutional Steering Committee during their NCAA Certification process.
Outside of Central, Schlickmann is an active leader in the Men Make a Difference, Men against Domestic Violence Campaign, working closely with the Interval House in Hartford to promote their cause in the fight against domestic violence. He also serves as a Corporator with the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of New Britain.
Before arriving at CCSU, Schlickmann spent seven years as the Executive Associate Director of Athletics/COO at Stony Brook University, where he managed the daily operations of a 20 sport Division I program. Prior to his tenure at Stony Brook, he spent ten years in senior administrative roles at Yale University, eventually rising to Associate Director of Athletics for Sports Administration and Football Operations. Prior to Yale, Schlickmann served a year in the prestigious Asa Bushnell Internship with the Eastern College Athletic Conference. He got his start in college athletics as an assistant basketball coach at Worcester State College, where he spent two years before accepting a graduate assistant coaching position at Springfield College.
A native of Worcester, MA, Schlickmann is a 1989 graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies and was a four year student-athlete on the Men’s Basketball team. Schlickmann went on to earn a Master of Science Degree in Physical Education/Sport Management from Springfield College in Springfield, MA in 1995.
Schlickmann and his wife Kristin reside in West Hartford with their daughter Mackenna and son John.