BEACON FALLS — In his 20thyear on the job, Woodland’s Brian Fell is on top of the Connecticut athletic directors’ world.
Fell is the new president of the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors, a group that works with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference to determine high school athletic policies throughout the state.
He began his two-year term this fall, becoming the first Naugatuck Valley League AD to ever assume the organization’s presidency in its near-35-year history.
Fell, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with degrees in oceanography, nuclear engineering and educational leadership, was a teacher and dean of students for 20 years before serving as the longtime athletic director at Rocky Hill High. He came to Woodland in 2008.
Fell’s prevalence in the organization is far from new. He has been among the CAAD’s leadership for more than a decade, first joining as a representative from the Northwest Conference when he was still at Rocky Hill before serving as a district representative and two years as the secretary.
The longtime educator and administrator hasn’t assumed his positions of leadership just because he’s wanted to — he also feels it’s his responsibility.
He says 70 percent of Connecticut’s athletic directors have less than five years of experience, and many school districts don’t employ full-time athletic directors. Those factors mean the veterans have an important role in state athletics.
“We have a vested interest — especially some of us older guys — to make sure our policies ensure continuity,” Fell says. “We have to protect our profession and the integrity of athletics. If the senior guys don’t do it then it won’t get done.”
The CAAD works with the CIAC to develop policies in Connecticut athletics. Each organization has member on the other’s Board of Control to gain input, and although the CIAC has the final ruling in most matters, Fell says they have a positive working relationship.
“We have a parallel relationship with the CIAC,” Fell says of the CAAD, which also has Naugatuck AD Tom Pompei as the NVL’s league rep and former Woodland AD Dan Scavone as the vice president. “They rarely make any major decisions without getting input from us and we won’t make a change of direction without consulting them. They have the final say but we have a good mutual relationship.”
As president, Fell is responsible for coordinating meetings, forming agendas and facilitating discussion on a number of topics.
“We have a meeting this week and our major topic of discussion will be the out-of-season coaching rule,” Fell says. “We try to have input on anything and everything that affects high school athletics in Connecticut. At times the president has gone to Hartford to be involved in the legislation that governs athletics in Connecticut.”
His duties as CAAD president are added to his job at Woodland, where he’s in his fifth year. Fell says the work in managing the school’s, league’s and state’s athletics is more than people may see.
“My job description is different every day,” Fell said. “There are days when I’m just doing schedules, just reviewing policies, just doing supervision or a mixture of everything. It’s a lot more than just ordering officials and buses and then going back to gym class like it used to be. It’s a juggling act to keep all your policies and procedures fit into all the state regulations.
“Tournaments don’t just happen by themselves,” he said. “It’s that type of behind-the-scenes stuff that people don’t realize.”