GREENPORT — Columbia-Greene Community College Athletic Director Richanna Lindo has decided to head south.
Lindo, who took over as director of athletics at the Greenport campus in 2015, has accepted a position as Associate Athletic Director with Santa Fe College, a Division I junior college located in Gainesville, Florida.
Columbia-Greene President James Campion spoke highly of Lindo’s time at running the show in Greenport.
“Richanna achieved many successes during her tenure at the college,” he said. “She guided the athletic program in a professional and thoughtful manner, always putting the best interests of the students first. Richy enhanced recruiting efforts, expanded summer camp offerings and widened the scope of our summer basketball leagues. We will miss Richy and wish her well as she moves to the next step in her career.”
Lindo came to Columbia-Greene in 2010 after earning her Bachelor’s Degree in sports management and business administration from Pfeiffer University in North Carolina, then completing her Masters at the United States Sports Academy with an emphasis on NCAA compliance.
She began working in institutional research and community services before moving on to academic support at C-GCC. Lindo left the college in 2013 to coach volleyball in Michigan, but returned to Greenport 10 months later when the Assistant AD job at C-GCC opened up.
“I spoke to Walter Rickard, who was the AD at the time, and he told me there would be an opening for an assistant and I jumped on it, especially since it has my background and that was definitely the direction I wanted to go,” Lindo said. “It’s always been my end game for my career. I always wanted to be in Athletic Administration.”
A year after accepting the assistant AD job, Lindo took over as interim athletic director for Rickard, who left to take a job at Pratt Institute. One year after that the interim tag was removed.
“Once Walter was leaving I pretty much tried to keep the office afloat and said ‘this is where I want to be,’” Lindo stated. “I had that timeline for myself where I wanted to be in athletic administration. I either wanted to be an assistant AD or an AD by the time I’m 35 and I got there before that, so that was a blessing.”
Once the position was hers, Lindo hit the ground running.
“It was definitely challenging at first, as it is with any transition, trying to fill Walter’s shoes because he did a great job and there were some things that I wanted to accomplish as well,” Lindo said. “Going into that and familiarizing myself with all of the conference responsibilities — regional, national, you name it. I had to dive right in there and still make sure I was taking care of my athletes on this end.
“One of the pet projects that I wanted to do is on the regional level. They kept talking about how they needed nominations for our athletes because they kept getting the same schools and nobody is really nominating. So I really wanted to focus on showcasing my athletes. We’re all busy, but it never really got done before, so that’s what I wanted to do, and it just so happens we have a great softball program, the basketball program — Tanisha Edge just did a great thing for us. It was nice that they got their shine, too. I wanted to make sure that we showcase the talent that we have here.”
There were a few bumps in the road along the way for Lindo, most notably the housing issue for student-athletes.
“The biggest challenge was having to recruit and then having nowhere to put those out-of-the-area students,” Lindo said. “Housing is a big factor, so we can’t necessarily compete with those community colleges that do have dorms, but at the same time we still have the quality of our programs and that was enough to keep a lot of our local kids here.”
Lindo is proud of the fact that many of the athletes that came to Columbia-Greene were good students, as well.
“A lot of the athletes that come through here did great academically in high school and they’re great academically here,” she said. “I think last year we were one of two baseball teams in New York that were All-Academic honorable mention. This year we had 6-8 make All-Academic teams, whether it was national or regional and they’re great players, too. We have people come in where getting a degree wasn’t necessarily their top focus, but sports got them here and got them to graduate.”
One of the highlights of her time at C-GCC was the friendships she formed, not only with colleagues at the college, but throughout the region.
“Working with all of the Region III directors, they’ve been a tremendous help, especially during the transition and just overall. They’re great people and it was a joy to work with them, collaborating,” Lindo said. “They weren’t just focused on just their schools, it was bettering our entire region and since we’re a part of that, we also benefit from that and it was good having nice compeititon because Region III produces a lot of national champions and runners-up, regardless of what sport it is. The athletes here get that exposure to high-quality competition and a lot of regions don’t have that.”
Lindo feels her time at C-GCC has set her up well for the future.
“Because the department is so small, we’ve had to wear many different hats, so I’ve had to do media stuff, I’ve had to do paperwork, I’ve had to wash gym floors. It’s all part of the job, so I’m comfortable doing all of these different little things and I think that will help me where I’m going.
“A lot of stuff I did here I’ll be transitioning to do there. A lot my family is also in Florida, so that was another thing that appealed to me. Instead of being a plane ride away, I’m going to be two hours away. As close a family as we are, we all hang out together and I’ve missed that the past few years. Since this opportunity arose I couldn’t pass it up.”
Lindo is excited for her new challenge and is eager to get started, but will always have a place in her heart for C-GCC.
“I am grateful to Columbia-Greene because this is where I got my start,” she said. “They are the ones that gave me the chance to do what I went to school for, to prove what I could do. I’ll still be rooting for the Twins no matter where I am.”
Current assistant athletic director, Nick Dyer, will be stepping in as the acting athletic director while C-GCC conducts a search for a qualified applicant to assume the role left by Lindo.