Five Qualities Athletic Directors Should Possess


Top 5 Characteristics That Can Lead to Success as an Athletic Director

  • Excellent Analytical and Budgeting Capabilities
  • Outstanding Communication Skills
  • Interpersonal Leadership Abilities
  • Organizational Abilities
  • Commitment to a Healthy Lifestyle

If you’re interested in pursuing athletic director jobs, it’s important to be sure you possess both the right credentials and the right personality for this type of work. The necessary credentials are clear-cut; you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a closely related field such as sports administration, sports management or physical fitness. Some athletic director jobs require master’s degrees. But what about personal qualifications? What qualities are most important for athletic directors to possess? Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that can lead to success in an athletic director’s career.

Excellent Analytical and Budgeting Capabilities

Most athletic directors are in charge of creating and adhering to their department’s operating budgets, so analytical expertise is essential for individuals in this role. The larger and more prominent the institution, the more important it is for the athletic director to have financial competence. There are universities with hundred million dollar athletic department budgets. Athletic directors in these positions need all the financial expertise that the chief financial officer of a major corporation would have. Even high school athletic directors need to be capable of fundraising and responsibly spending the funds allocated to their departments.

Interpersonal Leadership Abilities

Most athletic director jobs require supervisory experience. In particular, an athletic director must be able to successfully manage all the coaches in the department. At prestigious universities where athletics are a prominent part of the institutional culture, the coaches are usually powerful celebrities with huge egos and matching paychecks. Managing this bunch is no easy task. A certain degree of personal charisma is an absolute necessity, as is the strength of character to lead such a group.

Outstanding Communication Skills

The official job descriptions for virtually all athletic director positions require an individual with strong communication skills, both verbal and written. It’s obvious why an athletic director would need excellent verbal skills. Written communication skills come into play because the athletic director will often be entering into important contracts on behalf of his or her hiring organization. Many university athletic directors need to be able to negotiate big-budget football related media deals.

Diplomatic conflict resolution skills are an essential facet of this qualification. In any athletic department, conflicts are likely to arise on a daily basis. The athletic director must be able to keep things running smoothly when internal or external crises arise.

Organizational Abilities

There’s a lot to keep track of in an academic athletic department. Athletes’ insurance and other paperwork has to be maintained and up-to-date, and all the recreational facilities also must be suitably insured. The sporting equipment must be maintained, and all facilities must be kept sanitary and safe. These responsibilities typically fall to the athletic director to manage, so it helps for the person in this role to be well organized and detail oriented.

Commitment to a Healthy Lifestyle

The athletic director serves as a highly visible role model to all the student athletes at the school. It would be in poor taste for any individual in this position to fail in his or her responsibility to lead a healthy lifestyle.

These are five important qualities for directors of athletic departments at either the high school or college level. If you’re interested in applying for athletic director jobs, be sure to showcase these qualities to the best of your ability in your application and during your interviews.