By Ryan Fennell
Tinton Falls – On November 15, the Ranney School hosted parents, coaches, and student athletes in Panther Hall as it officially launched its new athletic vision in preparation for next year’s entry into the Shore Conference.
The school welcomed Columbia University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dianne Murphy, Ph.D., who spoke on the importance of creating an atmosphere where both academics and athletics are equally emphasized.
“Sports can play an important part in young peoples’ lives whether at the intramural, recreational, or interscholastic level,” Murphy said. “It is a mistaken idea that academics and athletics are mutually exclusive.”
Murphy proposed that athletics be co-curricular rather than extra-curricular.
“Only then can we value athletics in a different way,” she said. “Learning about leadership, cooperation, and teamwork and how that can apply in your career, in your personal life, and in your relationships.”
Ranney’s Head of School Lawrence S. Sykoff, Ed.D., called the newly instituted vision for the future of Ranney athletics “the beginning of a new era.”
“We’re trying to bring together the hallmark of excellence of our academic programs with our athletic programs,” Sykoff said. “We’re doing it by looking at the common values of leadership, perseverance, commitment, character, and contribution.”
“Those qualities prevail in the academic world for us,” Sykoff added. “Now, we’re going to talk about those values in the world of athletics. Athletics will be an equal partner in the whole scope of educating a whole child.”
Ranney School has spent millions of dollars creating the infrastructure for a successful athletic program according to Sykoff and the participation in sports has been increasing year after year according to Ranney School Director of Athletics Thomas Moriau.
“The purpose (of the evening) is to launch our new athletic vision and strategic plan for joining the Shore Conference,” Moriau said. “We looked at our programs and feel we really need to get a new vision to put athletics equal to academics in our school’s mission and move forward that way.”
Ranney was accepted into the Shore Conference last spring and is eligible to participate in playoff tournaments if its teams qualify, but would become full-time members and compete in the B Central division beginning next September.
Moriau explained the steps toward the school’s new athletic vision include developing an intensified Lower School athletic program, promoting a specific set of standards for athletes to abide by, implementing a year-round training and athletic performance program, offering the highest level of coaching experience, and enhancing school spirit.
“Through growth and commitment, the school can rise to new levels of excellence and success,” Moriau said. “It’s a very exciting time for us.”