After 16 years serving as Tufts’ Director of Athletics, William Gehling (LA ’74, G ’79) will officially step down from his current position on July 1 to assume the new role of senior advisor to University Advancement. According to Gehling, the search for a new director is currently underway.
In 1979, Gehling started working at Tufts as the first coach for the new women’s soccer program, continuing to coach the team for 20 years, he explained. During that time, he also coached for the men’s golf team.
Ten years into his term as women’s varsity soccer coach, Gehling took on the position of Assistant Director of Athletics, and assumed the role of Director of Athletics in 1999.
Gehling said that he has enjoyed the relationships he has developed with students, athletics department staff and Tufts faculty during his time as director.
“As director, I have enjoyed and cherished the continued relationships with students,” he said. “I love supporting our teams and representing Tufts in [the National Collegiate Athletic Association] and [the New England Small College Athletic Conference]. I love supporting our students, our coaches and our institution.”
In particular, Gehling explained that he has enjoyed having the responsibility to hire the staff that makes up the athletic department.
“My favorite part is hiring coaches and staff members,” he said. “I think it is by far the most important part. If he or she gets that right, a lot of good follows.”
Gehling has brought many improvements to the athletics department as a whole, including the Fitness & Individual Development at Tufts pre-orientation program and the Tufts Personalized Performance Program, according to Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences James Glaser. He added that Gehling has also played a major role in improving individual fitness and health in students.
“It’s not just being the champion,” Glaser said. “There are a lot of joyous moments around athletics.”
Gehling, a Tufts alumnus, noted that he earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the university. He received a bachelor’s degree in child development in 1974 and a master’s degree in education in 1979. Gehling added that during his time as a student, he also played soccer and was a member of the Beelzebubs.
“I have built a lot of relationships at Tufts,” he said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my years in athletics as coach and director, but I’m ready for this new challenge. I’m very excited.”
As University Advancement prepares for its next university-wide capital campaign, it has been working to build the capacity of its staff, according to Vice President for University Advancement Eric Johnson.
“We are very much looking forward to [Gehling] joining our staff,” he said.
According to Johnson, Gehling’s depth of experience, deep connection to alumni and proven passion for Tufts made him a good candidate for the role of senior advisor. He added that he thinks University Advancement will gain stronger alumni connections to the university and see increased fundraising when Gehling takes on this position.
“I’ve enjoyed so many aspects of [the position of Director of Athletics],” Gehling said. “After 16 years, I’m ready for my new challenge, and I think [Johnson’s] offer came at the perfect time.”
Glaser expressed his gratitude toward having Gehling serve as Director of Athletics.
“We’ve been lucky to have such a terrific [Director of Athletics],” he said. “I’m glad he’s been with us for so long and that he is going to continue to stay with us.”
Gehling said he is eager to take on his new position at the university.
“I am really looking forward to working with and learning from [Johnson] and his leadership team,” he said. “He has some really talented people working for him.”
Gehling added that he is excited to reconnect with students that he has met throughout his years at Tufts, and to meet other alumni through University Advancement. He said he also looks forward to developing relationships with others who love Tufts and want to see the university thrive.
“I think Tufts is an incredible institution very much worth investing in,” he said.