WATERVILLE — Thomas College has plans that include new athletic fields on 50 undeveloped acres the school owns as part of the Waterville campus. Recently, the school spent a lot of time finding someone to lead that expansion and beyond.

The person they chose is David Roussel, who was introduced Thursday as the new athletic director at Thomas College. Roussel, who is currently the associate dean at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, will start at Thomas on March 15.

Former athletic director Deb Biche resigned in August after three years on the job, and remains at the school as the women’s soccer coach. Terry Parlin, the school’s softball coach and one of four assistant athletic directors, has served as interim AD.

Roussel is a 1993 Thomas graduate, and played soccer for the Terriers. He has worked at St. Joseph’s since graduation, serving stints as men’s and women’s soccer coach and 31⁄2 years as athletic director.

“It’s about going to Thomas — there’s a great reason to come to Thomas — versus leaving St. Joseph’s,” Roussel said. “I’ve always been happy at St. Joseph’s. The people there are wonderful. I’ve been treated well. It’s been a great situation.

“But I think where I’m at, professionally, and even personally, this opportunity, when it was presented, really makes sense for me and what I want to do.”

Enrollment at Thomas has gone from 427 full-time students in the fall of 2000 to about 700 today. The school moved from the NAIA to NCAA Division III during that time, and now has six men’s sports and seven women’s sports at the varsity level.

“It is a very exciting time for the institution,” Roussel said. “They’ve experienced some growth in the last decade. I think they have a terrific plan going forward. They have good vision and good leadership. As an alum, I’m really excited about coming back and using my skill set to help the institution move forward.”

As associate dean at St. Joe’s, Roussel oversaw the athletic department. That and his 10 years coaching experience in Standish were key factors in his hiring, Parlin said.

“He is a coach, so he’s going to understand what all of us go through,” said Parlin, who was part of the five-member search committee. “He has been an athletic director, and now he’s in a position that’s kind of above the athletic director, where he can look at that position from all different angles, and know what it takes to do a good job.”

Parlin said there were over 130 applicants for the athletic director position. He said seven applicants were interviewed by phone and three on campus.

“We were looking for someone who could come in and start immediately, know what he’s doing,” Parlin said. “There’s not a long learning curve for him. I think he’ll do a good job immediately.”

Roussel, grew up in Calais, but he refers to working at Thomas as “coming home,” and he would like to stay for a while.

“This is not a short-term plan for me,” Roussel said. “This is making a commitment, realizing this is going to be a good part of my career.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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