In The Office with Roney Eford

Photo by Lauren Canna/The Choate News

Mr. Roney Eford, Choate’s new Director of Athletics, aims to prioritizes good sportsmanship.

After Mr. Ned Gallagher decided to resume full-time teaching this year following his 21 year tenure as Athletic Director, the school was left with a big pair of shoes to fill. Candidates capable of handling the rigors of the position can be hard to come by, even in the time that the administration was given to search for a replacement. After sorting through the applicants, a decision was made: Mr. Roney Eford would be the next Director of Athletics.

When asked about how he came across the job at Choate, Mr. Eford commented, “It was very important to be aligned with the school that had the mission and the values that Choate possesses. Minus location, minus school-size, that was the main thing to align with that mission first.” He also stated that he had other opportunities at other prep schools and universities, but it was Choate’s mission that appealed to him most, particularly the school’s commitment to rigorous academics and character growth in all aspects of school life.

Mr. Eford has long been a part of the prep school community. He attended Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts where he is now a board member and then New Hampton School, in New Hampton, New Hampshire as a post-graduate. He went on to play basketball at Marquette University, where he was the president of the student-athlete society and also received a myriad of accolades for his success on the court. After graduation, he played professional basketball in numerous countries, including China, Japan, Germany, Belguim, Iceland, and Portugal, where his team won the championship in the Liga de Portuguesa Basquetebol. After retiring from professional basketball, he worked in different sport management roles for minor league teams. He then transitioned to working in schools, performing various roles. Mr. Eford also has his master’s degree in both sports management and educational leadership, and he is also a current doctoral student.

Mr. Eford was not hesitant in stating what he wanted for the athletic program. “I want to make sure that all of the student-athletes and all of the teams really feel supported and heard, but also that we are doing our best for all of them as opposed to only some of our senior varsity type teams.” He went on, “For me it starts with experience. I want the student-athletes to have the greatest possible experience.” For instance, he said, “If I was a thirds player, and maybe I played a bit, maybe I didn’t play a bit, but I want them to take away the life-long lessons that we teach them. So when they are in different areas of life, they can now use skills such as perseverance, tenacity, and teamwork.” Additionally, Mr. Eford stressed that the doors to his office are open for anyone who wants to voice their concerns about the any of the athletic programs.

In talking about the success he wants for the athletic program, Mr. Eford saw success as far more than wins or losses.“It’s important to win the right way. It is important to win with high character,” he said. “I am definitely looking for teams to be successful, but I am also looking for teams to have improvement, and it takes the roles of everybody, myself, our staff, our student athletes.” In rounding out his points, Mr. Eford added, “For me, if we can look into a mirror and say we did our best, then I think that everything else will be completed.”

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