New Director of Brock Sports signals commitment to academic, athletic excellence

The Brock Badgers’ new Director has more on her agenda than just winning.

Melissa Krist is starting her tenure as Brock University’s new Director of Brock Sports with the goal of prioritizing health and safety for student-athletes and coaches heading into the 2021-22 season.

“We have a goal of becoming one of the top university sports programs in the country, and it starts with emphasizing health and safety with the gradual re-entry of sport programming,” said Krist, who started the new role on Tuesday, June 1. “Our student-athletes are students first, and we have to ensure their well-being as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In the role, Krist oversees three significant departments: Athletics, which consists of more than 900 student-athletes across 27 sports; Brock Sports Medicine (BSM), a multi-disciplinary team of experts operating out of a modern sports therapy clinic; and Brock Sports Performance (BSP), the high-performance training arm of the Badgers.

Reporting to Anna Lathrop, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Students, Krist is looking forward to being a member of the Brock community.

“Brock has a strong community, and the programming that’s available for student-athletes at our university is phenomenal,” said Krist. “Something that came through loud and clear during the interview process was Brock’s love of the student-athlete and how important they are in overall student engagement.”

One of her top priorities includes supporting student-athletes and coaches as they return to campus soon through academics, training and mental health supports.

She projects that Brock Sports Performance will begin conducting small group, controlled workouts with student-athletes outdoors later this month and will be working closely with Ontario University Athletics (OUA) as the viability and parameters of a 2021-22 sports season comes into focus.

Krist is also looking forward to connecting with alumni and growing the Badgers community with a meaningful academic and athletic experience.

“The human development of our student-athletes is the best part of this role,” she said. “Knowing I can make a profound impact on the development of our student-athletes while they pursue a successful career in their field of study, is in turn, all of our success.”

Krist has been a mainstay in the OUA and U SPORTS realm for the past 10 years while working at her alma mater, the University of Toronto, as Manager of Intercollegiate Sport within the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education.

Her time spent on OUA and U SPORTS committees has given her deep knowledge of the Canadian university sports landscape and allowed her to hit the ground running in her new role.

“We’re all passionate about sport, so having the ability to sit on those committees and have influence as well makes it a huge opportunity to look through the lens of other universities and how they are dealing with situations,” she said. “Having those insights during this transition period are going to be important because that piece is ever-changing in the COVID-19 world.”

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Krist earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University of Toronto and played varsity basketball while pursuing a Sport Administration diploma at Durham College. She also coached women’s basketball in the Mississauga Monarchs competitive club system.

She’s looking forward to aligning Brock Sports with the University’s Institutional Strategic Plan.

“Sports transcends a lot of aspects of life. I’m grateful that Brock Sports is in a unique position to connect to the Niagara community through sport,” said Krist. “There are so many opportunities to be excited about where we can grow and foster a culture of inclusivity and equity. We have the means to broaden the scope of the Brock Badgers for years to come.”

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