NEW ROCHELLE, NY - President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D announced the appointment of Rick Cole, Jr. as the ninth Director of Athletics at Iona College. Cole comes to New Rochelle after extensive time as an athletics administrator at Dowling College, St. John's University and Stony Brook University.
"Rick Cole Jr. is a proven leader in higher education athletics programs, inspires and supports student-athletes, coaches and athletics administrators, and understands and appreciates the distinctive Iona tradition,” said Iona President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D. "We looked for a transformational Director of Athletics and we have found him.”
"When Gene Marshall announced in mid March that he was stepping down, we knew we needed to be thorough in our process -- but also act quickly,” said Paul J. Sutera, senior vice president for Advancement and External Affairs who led the transition process. "It's been a busy 38 days, but I'm happy to report that we've been thorough, swift -- and successful. Rick is the right partner for those of us in institutional advancement and for all of us in the Iona community.”
"I'm extremely excited for this new chapter in Iona College Athletics," said Cole. "I'm excited to lead at an institution that does things the right way -- with integrity, with the well-being of the student-athlete in mind, but also with a competitive drive that fuels success."
"The institutional support that I see for athletics -- from the president, trustees, senior administrators, faculty, and students -- is outstanding," Cole added. "It will make my job not only easier but a lot of fun."
"The 40,000 alumni of Iona are proud of their Gaels, and they have a right to be," he added. "To our community fans, I can only say thank you for your support; I'm committed to making Iona Athletics the best game in town."
For the past eight years, Cole served as Athletic Director and Vice President for Athletics at Dowling College. During his tenure, he transformed the landscape of collegiate athletics at Dowling College. As part of the department's five-year strategic plan, he secured the necessary funding to add women's soccer, women's lacrosse and men's cross country as NCAA sponsored varsity sports while also elevating twelve coaches to full-time status. In addition, Rick has conducted a gender equity review to ensure the department's compliance with Title IX, completed an NCAA institutional self-study, formulated a compliance blue print, expanded the sports medicine department in both staffing and equipment, re-branded the marks and logos, re-designed the department website, secured an exclusive buying contract with an apparel company, established a corporate sponsorship program, and developed a plan for an annual campaign for athletics to raise the funds necessary to meet the unmet costs of the department.
Cole's mission at Dowling was to do more than just build a great athletic program. He looked to help shape future leaders and build champions in athletics, academics, in the community and in life. In implementing that mission, Cole instilled in each of Dowling's student-athletes the understanding that they should serve as role models for other students; exemplifying achievement in their sports, in their studies and service on behalf of their community.
Cole was also instrumental in the planning and development of the Brookhaven field initiative. The $12.5 million complex which opened in the Spring of 2008, is the home of the Golden Lions soccer, lacrosse, baseball, and softball programs, and is one of the premier athletic facilities in the northeast. Over 40 years in the making, the dream of playing an athletic contest on a true home field has finally become a reality.
On the field, Dowling's athletic teams have flourished under Cole's leadership. In 2006, the men's soccer team took home Dowling's first ever National Championship while reaching the Championship match again in 2008. In addition, men's lacrosse reached the National Championship game, women's volleyball became the first Division II team from the East Region in the history of the NCAA to advance to the national semifinals, baseball advanced to the College World Series in 2009 and women's rowing, women's soccer, men's tennis, golf, and softball have made NCAA postseason tournament runs.
Student-Athletes at Dowling were also transformational in their commitment to community service throughout Cole's tenure as Athletic Director. The SAAC raised over $15,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation; a record for any institution in the history of the division-wide initiative. Cole was also instrumental in the department-wide partnership with Keep Islip Clean; a branch of Keep America Beautiful. In the Fall, Dowling organized the largest group clean up (over 250 student-athletes, staff, and coaches) in the history of the program. Throughout his tenure, the student-athletes and staff at Dowling volunteered countless hours to give back to community for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Friends of Jaclyn, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Cole also sits on various industry-wide committees. Recently, Cole was chair of the NCAA Division II Management Council starting in January of 2011. As a member, Cole served on the following committees; National SAAC, Planning and Finance, Long Term Projections Task Force and the NCAA Executive Committee. Cole also completed a three-year stint as the chair of the NCAA National Lacrosse Committee and served on the ECC Lacrosse Committee.
Prior to joining Dowling, Cole served as Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs at St. John's University and Stony Brook University's Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs and Advancement. While at St. John's, he managed a corporate relationship with a leading international athletic footwear company for apparel and equipment valued in the millions. During his tenure at Stony Brook, he established a fundraising initiative to fund the school's transition from Division III to Division I competition.
An accomplished volleyball coach, Cole has coached juniors volleyball for twenty years. Rick enjoys giving back to sport that has given him so much. He has coached in the AAU Long Island Power Volleyball Club, the University at Buffalo's Men's Volleyball Club Team, the Cheetah Volleyball Club of Western NY and the Long Island Volleyball Academy. Rick also gives back to the local community coaching in the St. John's CYO program and the Bohemia Travel Soccer Club.
Cole received his Bachelor's degree in 1992 and Master's in Education in 1994, both from the State University at Buffalo. He currently resides in Oakdale with his wife Brooke and three children Taylor (14), Mackenzie (12), and Trey (11).