MOUNT VERNON — Seth Wing has relished his role as Cornell College’s baseball coach.
During his nine-year tenure, the Rams have been competitive, posting a winning record in Midwest Conference competition and nearly tripling their roster to more than 60 players. They captured their first conference tournament title and first NCAA Division III national tournament appearance last season.
As fulfilling as those results have been, he believed he could do more while a member of an athletics department leadership committee.
“I just felt like I have a higher calling to make a larger impact on our campus,” Wing said. I want to do that and give it everything I’ve got.
“This campus has so much to offer and I feel I can help spread that and grow. I want to help every program here and help them all grow.”
Wing will have that chance as Cornell’s next Athletics Director. He will take over July 1, replacing Keith Hackett, who announced his retirement last week. The school also announced that Katie Green will transition from her position as Senior Director of Advancement Operations to Associate Athletics Director.
Wing will remain the Rams head baseball coach. Coe’s Steve Cook also holds a dual baseball coach/AD role.
“It’s exciting,” Wing said. “I’m at a point this is a potential career highlight opportunity.”
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Sports faces uncharted territory as the country deals with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted the Rams’ baseball season after just nine games. Wing embraces the challenge, despite no blueprint on how to move forward.
“I’m going to be dealing with a phase of college athletics that is unprecedented,” Wing said. “I’m just thankful to have great leadership above me, too.”
Wing, a Maquoketa native, arrived at Cornell in 2012 after eight seasons on the Winona State (Minn.) baseball staff, including three as associate head coach. In his final season at his alma mater, Wing helped guide the Warriors to an NCAA Division II runner-up finish. He took over a three-win team and is already the program’s all-time wins leader with 146.
Wing has a relatable personality and is known for his strong rapport with student-athletes, coaches and staff.
“I have watched Seth Wing grow in so many ways during our time together at Cornell,” said Hackett, who started at the school in 2017. “Seth has a tireless work ethic and is always ready to step in and help when needed. He is committed to the student-athlete experience in every way. Seth has developed a championship baseball program and I predict he’ll have the same level of success and impact on the department as the Director of Athletics.”
Every other day consists of at least a 90-minute meeting. Hackett has been a good resource, discussing various scenarios, individual programs, expectations, standards and paperwork. The crash course has been an eye-opener and Wing plans to absorb as much knowledge from Hackett until June 30.
“There’s so much an Athletic Director does that no one knows about,” Wing said. “We’re covering all those things. My strength is going to be coaching the coaches and help them build their programs.”
Green will play a pivotal part, especially when Wing is coaching in season. She has worn many hats at Cornell, serving previously as Assistant Dean of the College, Institutional Research Associate, women’s basketball and volleyball assistant coach and Athletics Recruiting Assistant. Green will be in charge of the spring sports, including baseball.
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“Where I feel my weaknesses are she is going to be great,” Wing said. “I feel, as a team, that’s going to take this department to another level. Our strengths complement each other.
“Katie is going to be the direct supervisor for all spring sports, including me. I said I have to be held accountable for the baseball program and I can’t be the one to do that. Someone else has to do that.”
Dedication to his baseball players is important. He plans to stay focused on his players. Wing knows that if he slips then players’ attitudes toward him will change.
“I have to balance this properly,” Wing said. “They have to know they are so important and they are important. I’m going to take care of these guys and will work extremely hard for them.”
Wing’s vision is sustained success across the board. He wants to continue to build relationships, bridging all sports, and provide a memorable affair.
“At the end of the day, it’s about our student athletes,” Wing said. “I want to make sure every student-athlete at Cornell knows I’m going to be there for them. I’m going to pick them up when they’re down. I’m going to high-five them when they’re up. They have my full support for a fantastic experience.”
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