COLCHESTER, Vt. - Matt Akins has been hired as an associate director of athletics at Saint Michael's College, Director of Athletics Chris Kenny '86 announced on Tuesday. Akins held the same position at The College of Saint Rose, a Northeast-10 Conference counterpart, for the past four years. He will be responsible primarily for NCAA compliance and sport supervision while succeeding Tacy Lincoln, who retired after more than 30 years in higher education in June.
"From an outside perspective, Saint Michael's has a tremendous appeal to me in its Catholic mission and athletic mission, and its holistic approach to building the entire person," said Akins. "That's what I'm looking forward to being a part of. I'd be remiss not to acknowledge Chris Kenny's leadership and belief in me, and the rest of the hiring committee, and I'm extremely thankful for the opportunity. I'm very excited about staying in the NE10, where I started as a student-athlete. The NE10 as a conference has a great appeal to me."
Akins was the associate director of athletics and recreation at Saint Rose, which boasts 19 NCAA Division II programs, since June 2017. He was not only the department's compliance officer - verifying the eligibility status of current and prospective student-athletes and providing compliance oversight and training for staff - but oversaw the athletic department budget, supervised the assistant athletic director for operations, and was the direct report for six head coaches. Akins was involved with countless committees, including the Golden Knights Golf Outing Committee, Life Skills Programming Committee, AOD Programming Committee, Golden Knights Club Committee, Athletic Management Team, College Compliance Committee, Athletics Recruitment Committee, and the college's Data Privacy Committee.
"We are excited and feel very fortunate to have Matt joining our Purple Knights leadership team," said Kenny. "He is a talented administrator who brings an impressive collection of skills and experiences to his new position with us. His well-rounded knowledge and perspectives gained as a Northeast-10 Conference student-athlete, an accomplished NCAA Division II head coach and most recently as a senior athletics administrator in the NE10 will be invaluable in leading and supporting our student-athletes and staff. When you add that he's a native of New York's North Country and that his two brothers were student-athletes here, his connectedness with Saint Michael's College and Purple Knights Athletics feels almost destined."
Akins spent a decade at Barton College in Wilson, N.C., serving as the men's soccer head coach throughout his tenure while also gaining experience in athletic administration. As the associate athletic director and compliance coordinator between January 2015 and his departure in 2017, he aided the operations of a department that counted 21 NCAA Division II sports, 12 head coaches and more than 300 student-athletes. Akins also worked with his athletic director to employ the 4 C's, which were based around classroom, community, campus and competition. Between his arrival in 2007 and December 2014, Akins was the athletic admissions coordinator, operating as a liaison between the Office of Admissions, Financial Aid, Athletics and prospective student-athletes.
During Akins' 10 seasons as Barton's men's soccer coach, he turned the Bulldogs into a consistent contender, leading them to their first NCAA Tournament in 2014. Barton made the postseason in 2010 for the first time in five years, tied for third in the Conference Carolinas regular-season standings the next season for its best finish in 13 falls, and was a league tournament finalist in 2012, garnering its first postseason victory since 1998 in the process. The Bulldogs again tied for third in 2013 before advancing to the first of back-to-back Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals. Barton was third in the league in 2014 en route to a 13-7 record, its best since 1998, and its debut NCAA appearance. Akins and the Bulldogs went 41-31-3 overall and 25-14 in league play between the 2011 and 2014 seasons. In his time on campus, Akins also worked with alumni and local business donors to upgrade the soccer facility with spectator seating and a new press box.
Akins served on numerous committees while at Barton, including the United Soccer Coaches Southeast Regional Rankings Committee while working as a site representative for the first and second rounds of the 2015 and 2016 NCAA soccer tournaments. He was also involved as a member of the Student Conduct Board, Strategic Planning Committee and Professional Development Committee at the college. Locally, Akins was on the Wilson Chamber of Commerce - Beyond 21 Leadership Team, served as North Carolina Olympic Development Program soccer head coach for nearly eight years, and was the director of coaching and a board member with the Wilson Youth Soccer Association for almost seven years.
Prior to his time in North Carolina, Akins spent two years at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., assisting the men's and women's soccer teams while teaching kinesiology as an adjunct professor. The Railsplitter men were a combined 30-5-4 between the 2005 and 2006 seasons, advancing to the NCAA Division II Final Four his second fall. The women were 16-3-1 overall and 9-1 in the Gulf South Conference in 2005, winning the league tournament and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. Between Akins' four seasons as an assistant coach, Lincoln Memorial's teams were 55-14-6.
Akins' familiarity with the NE10 dates back to his undergraduate years, as he completed his degree in psychology at league member Le Moyne College in 2002 before earning a master's degree in sports management at the University of Kentucky in 2004. During a dual-sport career at Le Moyne, he played one season with the Dolphins' Division I baseball program and four with the men's soccer team. Akins appeared in 62 games on the soccer pitch, totaling four goals and five assists. Akins' brothers Andrew '06 and Dean '11 both played soccer at Saint Michael's.