Jacob Olkkola, an administrator and former coach who has held leadership roles at the University of Delaware and Harvard University, has been named the Harold Alfond Director of Athletics at Colby College following a national search. In this role Olkkola will oversee the continued transformation of Colby athletics into one of the nation’s premier Division III programs.
Olkkola is currently senior associate director of athletics at the University of Delaware (UD). As a member of the senior leadership team for the last seven years, he had a role in helping teams achieve conference and national championships while overseeing the design and construction of UD’s award-winning athletic and recreation facility, the Carpenter Sports Building. As director of recreation services at Harvard, Olkkola led a club sports program of more than 30 sports that included approximately 900 student athletes.
Bernard Muir, the Jaquish and Kenninger Director of Athletics at Stanford University, who worked with Olkkola at UD, said, “Colby College has just made a tremendous hire in selecting Jake Olkkola to lead its athletics department. He is a passionate educator who demonstrates the utmost character and unwavering integrity. The Mules will thrive under his guidance and I'm excited for the coaches and student athletes who will benefit daily from Jake’s leadership.”
“Colby has found a great leader for its athletics program,” said Samantha Huge, director of athletics at William & Mary and a former colleague of Olkkola’s. “Jake Olkkola is a thoughtful and energetic leader, a collaborative colleague, and a generous spirit. When we worked together, I witnessed firsthand Jake’s ability to synergize his knowledge and experience into making all that he touched better than he found it.”
“I am humbled and honored to assume the responsibility of leading Colby athletics into a new era,” said Olkkola. “This is a dynamic time with many great opportunities on the horizon for Colby and for the city of Waterville. My family and I are beyond thrilled to become part of the Colby community.” Olkkola assumes his role at Colby in early July. He will be joined in Waterville by his wife, Michelle, and their three children.
Later this year the College will open three new relocated competition and recreational fields, including a practice field, a competition soccer field, and the Bill Alfond Field, which will continue to be used for competition for field hockey and lacrosse. In 2016 Colby completed a new synthetic turf baseball-softball complex, making Waterville a destination for competition in both sports.