In his search for a new director of recreation and athletics at The Evergreen State College, Art Costantino was looking for an experienced fundraiser with a budget and managerial background.
He thinks he found that in Sarah Works, a lawyer who played basketball in college.
“Sarah brings a rich mix of experience,” said Costantino, vice president of student affairs. “We’re in difficult financial times. We won’t be able to be everything we want to be if we just count on state funding for our intercollegiate sports programs.”
Works grew up on the Colville Indian Reservation and played basketball at the University of Idaho, graduating in 1992. She went to law school at the University of Arizona and worked with the Women’s Sports Foundation on issues to bring equitable opportunities to women in sports.
She also worked as an attorney on tribal issues and was an attorney general for two tribes.
“What we thought Sarah brought to the job was first of all strong management and budget experience,” Costantino said.
Costantino said Works’ background in fundraising and law trumped her lack of experience in running an athletic department. Hiring a recreation and athletic director with a coaching background wasn’t a priority, Costantino said.
“She’s what we need, someone with a wide range of skills” Costantino said.
Works becomes the school’s seventh recreation-athletic director and replaces Dave Weber, who has been at Evergreen since 2000 and announced his resignation in August. His final day was Friday. Works begins her job March 15.
Weber resigned because of a difference of opinion about the direction of the athletic program. Costantino wants to place more emphasis on recreation sports and sees that as an underused source of revenue.
“We want to enhance some areas where we haven’t been doing as much in terms of outdoor trips, recreation and intramurals,” Costantino said. “That’s the way sports really becomes real for more than just intercollegiate athletes. Sarah had good ideas how to do that.”
In the future, Costantino said the college will look to its recreation center with a swimming pool and weight room as revenue source.
“I think Sarah had good ideas about that and about sports camps,” Costantino said. “In this moment in time, that would help us become less dependent on just one source of funding.”
During the interview process, Costantino asked Works why she was making a career change, leaving law behind.
“She said this was the time to pursue something that she had valued her whole life,” Costantino said.
Works was also a candidate for a faculty position at Evergreen in teaching philosophy.
“She brings academic credentials, which will help her connect with the faculty,” Costantino said.
“Hopefully, she’ll also have some connections to the tribal community.”
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443