NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Iona College director of athletics Rick Cole Jr. announced recent staff changes and hirings. Chris Merce has been promoted to Assistant AD/Academic Services after serving as coordinator of academics since Sept. 2012. Additionally, Cole announced the hiring of Catherine LeBlanc and Zachery Richards as assistant athletic trainers in the sports medicine department under the direction of head trainer Sam DeRosa.
"I am thrilled to announce this new position for Chris," said Cole. "His work with our student-athletes has been exemplary, and he will continue to help us move forward as a department."
Merce, who also serves as the head coach of the Iona golf program, will continue to manage the Judge Student-Athlete Center, monitor the academic progress of student-athletes, coordinate student-athlete progress reports, serve as a liaison with all college academic officials and faculty members, assist in oversight of Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), oversee the PASS Program (promoting the academic success of student athletes) and serve as sports administrator for appointed teams.
"I am looking forward to working with Catie and Zach," said De Rosa. "Each is a great fit for our both our teams and our athletics staff. They come to Iona from very good graduate and undergraduate programs in athletic training and can share their knowledge and new techniques of sports medicine."
LeBlanc previously worked as an assistant athletic trainer at St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville, VA. As a student at Springfield College, LeBlanc worked with the Pride's athletic training staff and additionally spent time at Western New England University and nearby Williston Northampton. She also worked as an academic tutor while attending Springfield. She spent three years working in both administration and athletic training duties with Varsity Camp Administration dancing and cheerleading camps and competitions.
During her time at Springfield, LeBlanc worked with the football, exhibition gymnastics and women’s basketball teams. LeBlanc earned a bachelor's of science degree at Springfield in 2013 with a minor in psychology and a master's in education in kinesiology (Athletic Training) at the University of Virginia in 2014.
Richards previously worked as an athletic trainer with the University of Massachusetts hockey team. Before that, Richards worked in the training room for his alma mater of Springfield College, eventually implementing and designing his own rehab programs. During his time working at Springfield, he also honed his skills in rehab and psychosocial at Elm’s College in Chicopee, MA, where he worked with the men’s volleyball team.
Richards voluntarily worked as an athletic training tutor at Springfield, and volunteered at the Doug Parker Wrestling Tournament, the 2013 Mid-fall Lacrosse Classic at UMass and the Bay State Track and Field Games. Richards graduated from Springfield with a bachelor's degree in 2014.