Polk State College has named Stanley Cromartie as its new director of athletics.
Cromartie comes to Polk State from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, where he served as associate athletic director and athletic director since 2010.
"My mission is to be in line with Polk State's mission, and my vision is to help grow this department grow where it needs to grow," he says.
"And we want to be more visible in the community and to increase funding for athletic programs."
Cromartie also coached basketball at South Carolina State University, Seminole State College, and Valencia State College and played basketball at Manatee Community College.
That experience, he says, makes him an ideal fit at Polk State.
"I think the biggest thing is I'm a product of the state college system, so when this position became available, I thought it would be a great fit for me.
"I know the dynamics of state college athletics and thought it would be an easy transition for me. I came in here and hit the ground running. I have good relationships with of the athletic directors at other state and community colleges, and I want to help build on the success we've had here. "
The key to that success, he says, is Polk State's coaches.
"Our strength is we have great coaches. I just want to piggyback on what they're doing and help them get to the next level."
Raising additional funds can play a part inmoving to that next level.
"A weak area for us, as it is for all state colleges, is funding," says Cromartie. "Fundraising is what I call 'friendraising.' You have to make friends to raise funds. My first objective is community outreach, where I can go out, get to know more people in the community, and then make recommendations.
"I'm excited and I want to dive in and do a lot of things, but I have to kind of pump my brakes and look at the landscape first."
Another goal is to get students and the community more involved in Polk State athletics.
"We have to know who we are and where we are," he says. "Most of our students go home or go to work after classes. They either don't want to or can't come back for a ballgame. And that happens at all state colleges. But there are some things we can start with, like having all sports support each other, getting student government more involved, but it's a hard sell when it comes down to getting people to come out and support our teams.
"We can own Winter Haven. It's my job to get out and knock on doors and make people believe in us. That's how we'll get to the next level.
"I'm very blessed and very fortunate to be here at this time."
Cromartie is a member of the State College of Florida Athletics Hall of Fame (2015) and the Florida State College Activities Association Hall of Fame (2018). He earned a master's degree in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Edward Waters College