IAL Alumni Spotlight

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IAL Alumni Spotlight: Schad Richea

The Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership M.Ed. (IAL) program has been aiding in the development of aspiring graduate students for the past 10 years. We’re proud to say that our graduates have gone on to work in many different sectors of the professional and collegiate sports industry.  To continue highlighting the great work of our IAL alumni, we sat down with IAL Alum, Schad Richea, graduate of the 2009 cohort. 

Richea is currently the Head Athletic Therapist at Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. 

Alexis Glowka: First and foremost, can you describe your role as Head Athletic Therapist at Brandon University and what that entails?

Schad Richea: From the standpoint of intercollegiate athletics, in Canada I am a Certified Athletic Therapist which is the sister of a Certified Athletic Trainer (most people in the college sports medicine can relate too). My role is to lead all things medical for the student athletes here at Brandon University. This includes all pre-participation medical screening, organizing the physician medical clearances, and working with the coaches to ensure they know which athletes are available to practice/play each day/week.  I assess, treat, and rehab all orthopedic injuries and I have a group of allied professionals including doctors and therapists to refer to and work with for the benefit of the student athlete’s health.

My role here also includes being part of the Department of Physical Education Studies faculty and I teach 2 senior level courses. As well, I am the director of the Sports Medicine Clinic which services all varsity athletes, university staff, and the general population of the western Manitoba region up here in Canada.

AG: What drew you to the world of intercollegiate sports/education industry?

SR: The simple answer is I love working with student athletes. The motivation of student athlete is frankly unadulterated, especially in Canada. I have worked professional sports including the NHL, MLB, and CFL and find that world so results oriented, financially driven, and frankly unethical in some instances. University athletics in Canada is the epitome of amateur sport and the motivations to be a great student, a great athlete, and a great career citizen is appealing to athletic performance service providers like me and I want to ensure their student athlete experience is sustained.  

AG: What made you decide that the IAL M.Ed. program at the University of Washington was the right program for you and your career?

SR: I liked the detail of the program and the logistics of the program. My goal was to work in collegiate athletics and I felt this program offered me the best opportunity to learn more about the importance of leadership and all its “fixings” in the hot bed of college athletics. As well, the program offered me unique personal flexibility to combine working in university athletics and my studies with a minimum inconvenience.

AG: Additionally, you were well into your career as an athletic therapist before you went back to school for your masters. Did you have any apprehensions about going back to school?

SR: I have always maintained that doing graduate school studies should be done when you know what you actually are passionate about and what you actually don’t know! Solving these 2 issues then makes the work it takes to do further education more rewarding and most importantly, fun!  The only worry I had was that I would be the old guy in class, and I was! I also was the only Canadian and second ever in the program and I think that was most memorable by the IAL faculty and my classmates!

AG: Being several years out of the program, how do you think the IAL program aided your career?

SR: You never know when a previous topic or lecture appears in your work life. Just the other day I had a complicated conversation with an academic on my campus as to the importance of the Bobcats athletics to the whole university! I also work a lot with the fundraising people to come up with new and novel ways to engage “friendraising” and new potential fundraising streams. My knowledge comes directly from my IAL studies.

AG: What aspect of the IAL program has proven to be the most valuable to you since graduating?

SR: I am having trouble narrowing this down. Generally, I think how to conduct myself with integrity and be a leader, specially in tough or trying times, was my most valuable take home from the IAL program.  

AG: What’s one thing you wish you would had known prior to graduating? Do you have any tips for students that are about to graduate?

SR: Enjoy your time in Seattle! It’s a beautiful city and it’s tough to get back when you live  far away! Truthfully, absorb as much information from the experts that you can in class and with the guests who come in. You never know when this knowledge will be called upon later!

AG: You mentioned that you’ve had plenty of unconventional experiences since graduating that you’ve been able to use your knowledge from the IAL program. Can you elaborate a little on that?

SR: I worked in the NHL for 6 seasons and even an NHL All-Star Game (2012). I also worked in the CFL (Canadian Pro Football).  The whole time I ensured that I exercised integrity and good judgement to the best of my ability. I did what was right for the athlete. Also, I ensured that when an opportunity to bring in student interns that I was their best mentor.  In both previous situations I was the first to involve women student interns. I fought the stigma battles with ownership and management and each time showed that gender should never be seen as a limitation. I hope this legacy has continued after my departure.    

I also have recently completed a term as a public board member on a Provincial Government Public Health regulatory board. Timing of need and the fact that as a government appointed public board member, I am considered unbiased, created an instant opportunity, 2 months into my term, to lead an Executive Director search! This would be the equivalent of being hired as an AD at a top DIV 1 BCS school and by total surprise and emergency having to hire a new football head coach 2 months in to your job! Best part about my situation, the result was we found a way and we did it!

AG: You also mentioned that you look forward to contributing to the leadership and development of the athletics program at Brandon, can you explain how you’d like, or how you are already working to further the development of the program?

SR: This is currently occurring, I started a student athlete high performance expert group incorporating physiology professors, coaches, strength coaches, and myself. This group will use the latest evidence based and ethical science to create better athletes and hopefully in time we will see better performance results. Bringing all these stakeholders together provides us the best chance at success not only on the court or pitch but also in the classroom and in recruiting the best student athletes.

AG: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

SR: A bit of wisdom from your brother north of the border…The world is round, not flat, even if you feel you are right on the edge. The world will keep going, no matter what. You should take the next step and keep yourself going too! Remain steadfast to your convictions, critical in your thinking, and when needed be the “chancellor of positive change!”

Check out our other IAL alumni spotlights