"Since walking on campus as a baseball recruit in 2003, Salve Regina University has felt like home and family to me," says Matt Finlayson, who has remained involved with the Seahawk family since graduation as an active alumnus, an adjunct professor, and with the Seahawk2Seahawk™ mentoring program which he now oversees.
Finlayson's journey to his current position as Assistant Athletic Director has been a 15-year span from that first visit on campus. His primary roles at Salve Regina are to enhance community relations, foster game day atmosphere, increase department revenue and to promote special events and alumni connections within the athletic department. Working with other staff members, he is responsible for marketing and promotional efforts on and off campus. Cultivating sponsorship and branding opportunities, increasing a sense of community on campus, and assisting coaches with their roles are some of his essential daily duties. Finlayson works closely with the offices of alumni, business, advancement, facilities and grounds, campus security, and the University's communications team. He is the SAAC Advisor and Director of Game Management for Football. Assisting in planning and implementation of special events within the community are also some of his other responsibilities.
Prior to arriving at Salve Regina University for his current position, Finlayson was instrumental in establishing a new franchise in the historic New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) were he served as General Manager. After two years of operations he made the decision to purchase the Ocean State Waves from the original owners. Finlayson served as Chairman of the Board for the Waves while supervising seasonal staff and interns, coaching staff, and player personnel as General Manager and owner. He directed the operational and business functions of the organization, including coordinating scheduling, facility operations and capital improvements. Some of his other responsibilities included directing all strategic marketing plans, fundraising initiatives, branding and community relations. Finlayson served on both the Strategic Planning Committee and Governance Committee as a Board Member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Under Finlayson’s leadership, the Oceans State Waves received a No.1 overall national ranking in July 2017, grew sales and attendance numbers, won two Divisional titles, and can now boast of 40 alumni that have played professionally. Off the field, the Waves were actively involved in the community including the participation in elementary school reading programs, field days, service projects and baseball youth camps.
In recognition of their community involvement the Waves were honored with the GoPROVIDENCE Ambassador Award by the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau for 2016 and 2017 and were named a Community All-Star by the Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. The motto “family affordable fun meets quality baseball” became a realty as a result of the corporate partnerships and sponsorships created within the South County business community.
Finlayson went to graduate school at the University of Massachusetts, Isenberg School of Management, receiving a Masters of Science in Sports Management. While working toward his degree he held graduate positions as a research assistant, a teaching assistantship and was also a graduate assistant with the athletic department.
As a research assistant he worked with undergraduates assisting with their independent study assignments, and researched current and past case decisions in sports law. He assisted in compiling the textbook, “The Comprehensive Guide to a Career in Sports,” written by Dr. Glen Wong. His graduate teaching assistantship responsibilities included instructing a class Introduction to Sports Law which involved weekly discussions of current topics with sports management undergraduates. As a graduate assistant with the athletic department he worked at the Mullins Center supervising staff for game day ticket operations, handled individual, group and season ticket sales for football, basketball, and softball and assisted with the compilation of financial reports for various sports submitted to the chancellor’s office.
After leaving UMASS, Finlayson transitioned to Director of Baseball Operations at the University of Rhode Island under head coach Jim Foster. He obtained valuable experience working with the Associate Athletic Director/Baseball Administrator and Associate Athletic Director/Finance/SWA and the Business Office Manager to monitor the state and booster club budgets along with all other business office functions. His responsibilities included fundraising, marketing and community relations such as managing Autism Awareness Day and Rhode Island Youth Day.
Finlayson coordinated team travel for a Division I Baseball program, maintained and supervised Bill Beck Baseball Field and managed capital improvements such as the construction of a new 5,000 square foot hitting complex. He was also involved with managing game operations at other athletic programs including basketball, volleyball, football, and track and field.
A four-year member of Salve Regina's baseball team, Finlayson received numerous honors athletically and academically including Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Senior Scholar Athlete, three-time All-CCC third baseman selection, Salve Regina's Distinguished Senior Scholar Athlete (the Dr. Christopher Kiernan Award), and All-Academic Team recognition three years from the conference.
Finlayson, a native of Higganum, Conn., currently resides in Wakefield, R.I., with his dog, Cujo, and fiancé, Ami.