U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our interview series “Getting to know…”
- Name: Sheila-Ann Newton
- School: Carleton University
- Position: Student-Athlete Services Coordinator
- Seniority: 2 years
- Previous job/position: 27 years as Manager, Events & Programs, U SPORTS
- Hometown: Buckingham, Que.
1. How did you get to your current position, and what do you enjoy most about our job?
Having worked in university sport for most of my life, I have many connections with athletic departments across this country. A friend and colleague of mine reached out to ask if I’d be interested in helping him out with a contract position in Athletics at Carleton. Working in university sport is a no-brainer for me so of course I wanted to help. It didn’t take me long to realize this was a place I wanted to work. The opportunity to work more directly with student-athletes was the biggest draw for me along with a great team of coaches and administrators.
2. Who has had the most influence on your career?
There are many who have influenced me along the way. I’ve been fortunate to have had the privilege to work with such great female leaders in sport. People such as Coleen Dufresne, Theresa Hanson, Liz Hoffman, Jennifer Brenning, Pat Murray, Marg McGregor, Angela Orton and Manon Simard to name but a few.
3. What is your greatest sporting moment or achievement?
Having spent most of my years working in the national office for U SPORTS, every opportunity I had to meet a student-athlete and hear more about their successes were moments I cherished. Also seeing a coach win their first national championship title always makes for great memories. These are the moments that have meant the most to me.
4. How would you define a Carleton University student-athlete?
Dedicated, hard-working, persistent and committed.
5. What does success look like for the Carleton University athletics program?
- Student-athletes who feel supported not only by their teammates and coaches, but the entire athletics team - a community of support for each student-athlete to be successful.
- A program built on integrity and hard work.
- Playoff contenders annually
6. What’s the biggest challenge you face in today’s sports world?
- Number of hours in a day.
- Limited resources.
7. Where would you like to see Canadian university sport in the next three to five years?
- Increased attendance at all games. All student-athletes deserve support and recognition for how hard they work. A vibrant, exciting atmosphere is part of that.
- Increased media coverage for university sport locally and nationally.
- A national sponsorship program that supports and enhances what each university is doing (not one that ties their hands).
8. If you could sit down for dinner with one person in the sports industry (athlete, coach or manager), who would it be? Why? What would you talk about?
Don Cherry - Any conversation with him would have to be informative (while being entertaining). He publically supports amateur athletes and inspires pride in being Canadian. Mr. Cherry exudes passion.
I’d also love to hear his take on Canadian university sport.
9. What would you say to a sports fan who’s never watched a U SPORTS game/tournament/competition?
You’re missing out! The caliber and quality of university sport is underrated. Go to a few games. Watch the intensity and commitment of the athletes and then remember these are students who are managing their academics while competing. Then tell me why we continue to place pro athletes on a pedestal who are making enough money to help eliminate starvation in some countries while our hard-working university student-athletes go unnoticed.
10. What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from work?
I spend as much quality time as possible with my now grown up kids, which usually leads to watching a lot of sports!!