By Jakhari Carroll – Collegiate Staff
William “Billy” Firn didn’t plan to start the year as interim athletic director at Grand Rapids Community College, but was excited to be offered the top job a week before the start of the fall semester.
Firn was previously the logistical support technician and the game-event operations director at the Fieldhouse. Now he looks forward to having a great experience in GRCC’s top athletics job with support behind him.
“I had a lot of support from Orletta (former athletic director) and from everyone around the fieldhouse”, Firn said.
Firn’s plans in the athletic department are pretty simple.
“The goal is to become the full-time Athletic Director,” Firn said.
Firn knows challenges will surface in his new role.
“Constant communication is the most challenging thing, because of the situation where coaches have their own jobs and their eight hours a day somewhere else,” Firn said. “They have a passion and love for coaching but they have to put in that extra time. I usually leave around five or six, but some days I have to stay till eight to catch the basketball coach walking in. So, there are those challenges.”
Firn is a big fan of sports. In fact, he played football at GRCC back in 2004 and 2005. Now, as a college administrator, Firn enjoys being around college athletics again.
“Seeing the athletes compete, I just get that sense of being a part of the team,” Firn said.
But even though he enjoys sports and loves seeing the athletes compete, Firn has bigger goals in mind for the athletes.
“I want the student athletes to be successful in sports, but I really want to get them ready for transferring, and being prepared for life after athletics,” Firn said.
Firn is dreaming big for GRCC athletics this fall.
“For volleyball, I’m hoping to win a National Championship and they’re on their way,” he said. “They’re coming together as a team.”
Most importantly, Firn said he wants to build a relationship with staff and the student athletes.
“I’m hoping to get to know the student athletes better, and build relationships with the coaches.”
The transition from assistant athletic director to interim athletic director has been smooth for Firn.
“There’s been a lot of transition, not just for myself but from the coaches and even our office manager has had a new transition there,” Firn said. “So we’re all new and we’re all coming at this really not knowing what to expect. But we are ready to do the job with a good attitude.”
Firn is fully aware of all the challenges and hard work ahead, but said he would welcome the chance to settle into the top spot for the long haul.
“I would love to be the full-time athletic director,” he said.