Michael Vienna

Michael Vienna

Adam Enders

A 1976 Belfast Central School graduate, Dr. Michael Vienna currently works as the Director of Athletics at Emory University. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Emory University is a Division III private school. The university is the second oldest in the state of Georgia and among the fifty oldest in the United States.

Dr. Vienna’s father, Paul Vienna, played a valuable role at Belfast Central School, working as the Physical Education teacher for all grades as well as the Athletic Director. In addition, Paul Vienna was the boys varsity soccer coach, boys junior varsity and varsity basketball coach, and also the varsity baseball coach. In his last years before suddenly passing away, he took up the job of superintendent as well as principal. Now, every September in memory of Paul Vienna, a golf tournament takes place. The money raised at this golf tournament is used for two scholarships given to seniors at the sports banquet each year.

As the Director of Athletics, Dr. Michael Vienna deals with all aspects of the athletic programs at Emory. The first step in his career was schooling. Majoring in Sports Education, Vienna earned his Bachelor’s in Health and Physical Education from Mount Union College.  He then obtained a Master’s in Sports Management and Doctorate in Higher Education from Kent State University. As Athletic Director, qualities such as “work ethic, time management, relating to people, and also being willing to spend many hours in the office” are just a few that Dr. Vienna stated are necessary.

In describing a typical work day, Dr. Vienna says that no days are the same: one day you could be at a national committee meeting and the next organizing a fundraiser for a team. Personnel management, budget management, and facility management are some of the responsibilities taken on as an Athletic Director. His least favorite part is personnel management, which includes having to let an employee go. As for the biggest challenge of an Athletic Director, he believes it is being complained to and seeming to never be doing enough.  When asked about his favorite part of the job, he says, “I enjoy being able to watch athletes not only develop as players, but also as young men and women.”

Dr. Vienna’s advice to high school students hoping to play a college sport is simple: “Be good in the classroom first. Excel in academics, then focus on playing at the highest level you can at a good institution.”

He says that developing friendships and bonds was one of the best parts of being in high school at BCS. Vienna also said that the overall experience of high school was amazing, and he loved being a part of such a small, close-knit community. When he’s not working, his time is spent golfing or being with his family. Dr. Vienna’s final comments during the interview included “hit the books” and “Go Bulldogs!”