Athletics ‘blindsided’ by elimination of AD
In June, the community was informed that changes in staff were being made to help combat enrollment numbers. Of the 12 current staff members that had their positions eliminated was Athletic Director Kristy Walter. Walter, who held the position for nearly 31 years, played instrumental in many positive changes across the Athletic Department. Of those accomplishments was Lasell’s membership in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) in 2007, where they still compete today. Walter declined to comment.
“We were completely blindsided to be totally honest,” Head Coach of the track and field and cross-country programs Ben Biello said about being informed of her departure through email. “It was a big shock, and it was just sad to see her go.”
Biello, who is entering his second full season as a head coach, was previously an assistant coach in Walter’s Athletic Department. Prior to his coaching career though, he was a four-year student athlete at Lasell. While Biello did not have a strong relationship with Walter as a student, he says becoming a coach changed his perception of Walter, and the Athletics Department as a whole. “She was the lifeblood of the athletics program, she built it, she was here for 30 years,” Biello said. “She’s actually doing a lot of good for this school and wants to see all the programs kind of progress.”
In addition to progressing the department, Walter acted as a mentor for her coaches and supported them. Biello talked about a specific scenario at the end of last year, saying Walter “had my back and she was in my corner and just stood up for me…She easily could have chosen either side, but just stood up for me and was like ‘No, I support you," Biello said. “I just really appreciate that as a person and as a professional as well…I’ve grown as just a leader where, you know, she really did care about the coaches and wanted to stick up for us and support us.”
Now that the athletic seasons are underway, and the department continues to work out the kinks, Biello says they are noticing things slipping through the cracks, noting no one realized how much Walter did for the department.
“She was the reason why Lasell Athletics is where it is, and I think why Lasell University as a whole is where it is because without the Athletics Department, the school doesn’t grow,” Biello said. “She never got the credit she deserved. And even, you know, after leaving I wish there had been some sort of celebration or something to celebrate everything she did for the school…she gave her blood, sweat, and tears to this school for 30 years.”