BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College has named Kosmas Mouratidis, currently the head men’s soccer coach at the school, as its new athletic director and chair of the physical education department. The announcement came Tuesday from Bethany president Dr. G.T. “Buck” Smith.
Mouratidis steps into the athletic director position that was vacated when Joseph M. Kurey, who was also a Senior Vice President, retired last week. In addition, he takes over as chair of the physical education department for Dr. Wally Neel, who was recently named Dean of Professional Studies at the school.
“Roughly 50 percent of our students participate in intercollegiate athletics, and Bethany’s program in Physical Education has received the highest commendation by national and state agencies,” said Smith. “The position of Athletic Director and Chair of Physical Education is thus of vital importance to the College. I am immensely grateful to Kosmas for taking on this key leadership role.”
Dr. Neel, who served in both capacities for more than 10 years before the roles were split in 2002, sees this as a beneficial change due to the current structure of the physical education and athletic department.
“Kosmas’ appointment to the position of Physical Education-Sports Studies Chair and Athletic Director highlights an important administrative structural change since it realigns the reporting guidelines for the instructors and coaches in the department,” said Neel. “It is necessary for the staff, most of whom have dual responsibilities for teaching and coaching, to report to one person. Under his leadership, this realignment will enhance the productivity of both academics and athletics.”
A 1988 Bethany graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, Mouratidis went on to earn a master’s degree in political science from the University of Toronto in 1989. He also earned a Bachelor of Education from Toronto in 1992 and is currently working on a Doctoral degree in Education Leadership at West Virginia University, which was another reason Dr. Neel saw Mouratidis as a great fit for this position.
“Kosmas has both the academic and athletic experience to make this appointment work in a seamless fashion,” said Dr. Neel. “In addition to coaching the men’s soccer program, he teaches numerous majors’ courses, as well as developing and teaching a First Year seminar on leadership, and continues to make significant progress toward completing his doctoral degree in Education Leadership. It is this affirmation of the importance of academics that made him an ideal candidate to fill the post. I know he will do an outstanding job in his new role.”
On the coaching level, Mouratidis returned to Bethany in 2000 to serve as assistant head coach and then took the reins to the successful Bison men’s soccer program in 2001. In his five years at the helm, he has guided BC to a 51-47-8 record, one PAC championship and one NCAA Tournament appearance. During his tenure, 23 of his players have earned All-PAC status and three have been named the conference’s MVP.
During his time as a Bethany undergraduate, Mouratidis had a stellar playing career on the soccer field. He helped lead Bethany to four consecutive NCAA South Region final appearances. His individual honors included earning PAC MVP and All-American honors in 1986.
According to Dr. Michael Mihalyo, who is Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Bethany, it is Mouratidis’ well-rounded accomplishments which give him the skills necessary to take on this role.
“At Bethany, we recognize that every moment in and out of the classroom offers our students a tremendous learning opportunity,” said Dr. Mihalyo. “It is critical that our campus leaders understand our holistic approach to student development. Given his many achievements as a student, athlete, teacher and advisor, we are convinced that Kosmas has the abilities to lead our department, programs, and, most importantly, our student-athletes to success.”
For Mouratidis, who will also remain in his role as head soccer coach for the time being, this opportunity is a chance to continue to shape two programs that touch many of the students at Bethany.
“I am both excited and privileged for this opportunity,” said Mouratidis, who is also a member of Bethany’s Alumni Council. “Academically, I hope to carry on the strong leadership of Dr. Neel. Thankfully, he will continue to be an invaluable resource in his capacity as Dean.
“And athletically, I am grateful for Joe Kurey’s direction and leadership over the last nine months,” said Mouratidis. “I hope we can continue to build upon our current foundation of excellent coaches and student-athletes and not only compete, but be successful in the PAC and NCAA.”
In his new roles, Mouratidis will be taking over a Physical Education department that was recently commended by NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) for a program run at Wellsburg Middle and Elementary Schools with Mr. Art Baldauf. The commendation comes for its field-based work, course in adaptive physical education and candidate performance on the Praxis II Content Exam.
In addition, the unit was applauded for its relationship with St. John’s Catholic School in the utilization of teacher candidates and college faculty to provide instruction to students in physical education and health, given that St. John’s does not employ a physical education and/or health teacher.
As the athletic director, he will oversee a 20-sport program that includes 10 sports each for men and women. Last year, the Bison men finished sixth in the standings for the PAC All-Sports Trophy, while the women tied for fifth place.
“I have always believed that the role of a coach is to put a player in a position to be successful,” said Mouratidis. “My major responsibility will be to provide the coaches and educators in this department the opportunity to succeed. Then, as a department, we will endeavor to provide the same opportunity for our student-athletes to thrive.”