There are student athletes at Putney who have never kicked a soccer ball before. And there are student athletes at Putney who will go on to play in college or professionally.
That’s the beauty of playing sports at Putney, says Athletic Director Brian Quarrier ’05, who stepped into the role in August 2023.
“I hope that people look at Putney Athletics and see a program that they feel invited into, no matter what their skill level, and they also see a school that will take their athleticism seriously and help them grow,” he said.
Quarrier is a third-generation Putneyite, following in the footsteps of his grandmother, great uncle, mother, two uncles, and brother. He graduated in 2005, and worked in the admissions department for five years prior to accepting the athletic director position. He is also a sculpture teacher, dorm parent, and coaches girls’ soccer and Nordic skiing. He lives on campus with his wife and young son.
“I wear many different hats,” he said. “Which is very Putney.”
As a student here, Quarrier played lacrosse and participated in cross-country skiing, but it wasn’t until the end of his junior year when he discovered his love and talent for rowing — which he went on to do competitively in college.
“When I look at my journey with Putney athletics, I was a mediocre athlete in middle school, and I probably wouldn’t have made the JV teams in my public high school,” Quarrier said. “But to feel like a valuable member of our athletic community at Putney was awesome. It spurred me to stay invested. And then I found a sport that felt really good, and all of a sudden I could take it to the next level.”
That experience has shaped how he plans to further develop the athletic program.
Quarrier wants to ensure that a student who has real talent can become a team leader, work hard and push themselves, and go on to compete after high school if they desire. At the same time, he wants to balance that by embracing students who have never played sports before, and ensure athletics is accessible to anyone who wants to participate.
“And we have to support everyone in between,” he said.
For instance, at Putney, there are no tryouts.
“You’re on the team if you want to be on the team, and that’s awesome. And then it’s about getting everyone to really work together — focusing on teamwork, community building and communication,” he said.
The key to making this all work, Quarrier says, is to emphasize strong and passionate coaching.
“My vision is finding sports that we’re excited about, and making sure we’re staffing them with coaches that are vibrant and enthusiastic,” he said. “I’m a huge believer in that if you put the right coach in place, it’s going to generate interest.”
As far as the competitive season lineup goes, in the fall Putney offers soccer, cross country running, and rowing. Winter features basketball and Nordic skiing, and spring ushers in volleyball, rowing, and ultimate frisbee — and he’s considering bringing back lacrosse.
“I think that we’ve generated a lot more interest and enthusiasm around sports this year,” Quarrier said. “The teams have been growing throughout the season, which I take as a really good sign.”