Shana Levine, the Director of Physical Education & Athletics, will step down from the position on April 5.
When Levine first came to Lewis & Clark five years ago, she saw a graduate student write on a whiteboard: “You can’t spell champions without Pio.” Almost immediately, Levine saw potential in this statement. Shortly thereafter, she met with other members of the administration to decide exactly what being a “chamPIOn” should consist of on a daily basis. They defined it as being a champion in the classroom, in competition, in character and in the community. This slogan has become both emblematic of the LC Athletic Department and has simultaneously defined the impact Levine has had on the school during her tenure. Despite Levine’s resignation, the values she instilled in the LC athletic community will continue to make an impact.
Levine entered the Athletic Department with a very specific goal: to create a cohesive and collaborative culture.
“We had a lot of different teams with a lot of individual cultures, but I thought we needed a unified culture among all athletes at the school,” Levine said. “LC promotes a holistic culture and I thought our Athletic Department should represent that.”
When formulating the chamPIOns logo, she brought together all of the different teams and tried to pinpoint commonalities in each of their individual cultures. She discovered that each team embodied values of chamPIOns.
Levine was qualified to promote this culture based on her own college experience. She attended Washington and Lee University, another small NCAA Division III school, where she majored in biology and played soccer for all four years.
“Being a part of the Division III athletics is what got me into this profession,” Levine said. “I am super passionate about what (Division III athletics) stands for and the idea that playing a sport can be a part of your college experience, but it does not have to be your entire experience. I had a great experience being a part of a Division III team, and I came here to give students that same great experience.”
This background proved useful to her job as a leader at LC. Above all else, the Athletic Department under Levine promoted the well-being of student-athletes as individuals. She placed a strong emphasis on the importance of academics in addition to athletics. In order to do this, Levine instituted a strong assistant coach program so that students could have more one-on-one attention. For example, Sarit Gluz took on the role of the swim program’s Assistant Coach as well as the Athletic Academic Coordinator for the entire department where she supports all student-athletes’ endeavors in the classroom.
Furthermore, Levine aimed to promote an open dialogue between herself and students. Athletes are welcome to simply walk into her office and start a conversation.
“I felt that I allowed people to contribute to the culture,” Levine said. “It is not a top-down leadership approach. It is more about the idea that this program is for all of us, so we should all have ownership of it and come together to make it the best place it can be.”
Mark Pietrok, the Senior Associate Director of Physical Education & Athletics, believes that Levine has truly been instrumental in the formation of LC’s athletic culture.
“She (Levine) has been a great boss to me,” Pietrok said. “She allows us to have great conversations about what we are doing and she lets us work autonomously. She has been a really good leader and a great advocate for what we do here.”
Although Levine is stepping down, she hopes the culture she has helped create will continue to define LC’s athletics for years to come.
“We are happy for her to move onto the next phase of her life but it is a big loss for us,” Pietrok said. “We are going to follow her north star of prioritizing student-athletes, and we should be in good shape.”
Levine will continue her work with Division III athletic programs in the consulting business. While LC searches for a replacement, Pietrok will serve as the Interim Director of Physical Education & Athletics.