For Varsity Parents and Families

Welcome to our Eph Families!

While our 750 students who compete on 32 varsity teams enjoy a lot of success, our coaches measure their own success by your students’ growth as students, as young adults, and as members of their communities going forward.

If you weren’t able to attend our Move-In Day session, I invite you to watch it (above) now. My colleagues on the athletics faculty clarify expectations in wonderfully reassuring ways and offer solid advice on how to partner in your students lives as Williams student-athletes. Here are some takeaways:

For your students… 

Define success in broad terms. Our athletes are over-achievers, and they may not now have the same success in college as they had in high school. They want to hear from you that it’s OK. Support them through the transition by reminding them what a gift it is to be on a team and to have gifted coaches teaching them new skills, strategies, and essential life lessons of resiliency, trust, selflessness, and appreciation.

Think of coaches as teachers. Williams coaches are all members of the Williams faculty, whose ultimate commitment is to prepare students for the world beyond college. Encourage your students to develop one-on-one relationships with their coaches, who can help them in many ways—from setting up a meeting with a nutritionist to finding academic support services to writing a recommendation for that first job after college or graduate school.

Working it out on their own. College is where problems once solved by their parents and family members become the students’ to solve for themselves. So encourage your students to reach out to their coaches— and to deans, counselors, or chaplains—all here to support students as they learn to do so.

For yourselves…

Lean back.

Up till now you’ve been there to champion your student’s cause, from the sidelines to the coaching staff. Now it’s time to let go, which may be as tough for you as for your students: after all, you’ve been there for them for the past 17 years. But it gets easier with practice and makes for a more enjoyable experience for you and healthier one for your athlete.

Leave the beer at home. Williams and its peers are working hard to decouple alcohol from athletics. We ask you not to bring alcohol to the sidelines or to any after-game celebrations.

Remember that you represent Williams, too. When you don that Williams cap or sweatshirt, you declare yourself an Eph—a true member of our college community. Keep that in mind on the sidelines and in the bleachers, at Williams and away.

Making Ends Meet Williams’ athletics budget covers core equipment for each team, but students are sometimes responsible for particular items such as shoes or safety glasses. If that presents a financial hardship, please tell your student to come talk to us. We’re committed to making varsity participation affordable for each player.

Team “extras” are optional Sometimes parents get together to host a tailgate party or buy a special piece of team apparel. We appreciate the enthusiasm and team-building such efforts create, but keep in mind that you’re not obliged to contribute money, or make a soufflé, or buy a tee-shirt. Parents who launch such initiatives entirely understand that not everyone will be able to contribute, so…no pressure.

As the parent of three young athletes, I’m keenly aware of how focused we can be on our children’s performance. I hope that when my own go off to college I’ll be as helpful to them in making that transition as you are being now.

Sit back, cheer, and enjoy it all!

Lisa Melendy
Chair, Director of Athletics and Assistant Professor in Physical Education