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New Division I Athletics DirectorWhile applying for the position of Division I athletics director, J. Stevens Hurlbut had the opportunity to meet with faculty, students, administrators and coaches. His impression: “There was a distinct air of accomplishment and anticipation.” The accomplishments have been no secret. In 1997–98 alone, the program produced two Northeast Conference championships (men’s basketball and tennis) and a third team (men’s soccer) reached the conference’s title match. And the anticipation, bred from such recent triumphs, now has been further fueled with this summer’s hiring of Hurlbut as the Knights’ fifth athletics director.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” Hurlbut said, “I’m deeply honored and very excited. This is a great time to be at FDU and things are only going to get better.”
Hurlbut previously was the associate commissioner of the Northeast Conference, where he was responsible for all facets of the league’s 19 championships, including compliance efforts, rules interpretation and enforcement activities. During his six-year tenure with the NEC, he was instrumental in raising the quality of the conference’s champion-ships and helping to institute round-robin play in football, women’s lacrosse, softball, volleyball and women’s soccer, while the league also added women’s swimming and golf to its championship roster.
“I believe the entire University is poised to take a major step forward,
and I feel fortunate to be coming on board at this time,” Hurlbut added.
“FDU’s staff of coaches and athletics administrators is one of the finest
anywhere. This group has compiled an outstanding record of success, and
one of my challenges will be to provide the leadership and support necessary
to achieve even greater success. Additionally, the University’s student-athletes
have shown great success athletically and, more importantly, academically.
I am encouraged by the involvement of these student-athletes in the overall
FDU community and hope to extend that involvement beyond the campus boundaries.”
Expanding Women’s SportsOne of the major goals for Hurlbut is the expansion of the women’s sports offerings. “We have a well thought-out plan to add three new women’s sports over the next three years,” he said. “I’m very pleased that the Board of Trustees approved a plan that will fund these new teams without taking away resources from existing programs.”
Improvements have been made to the soccer field, and a women’s soccer team will begin competition in the fall of 1999. Hurlbut says the University will hire a coach this spring and then begin recruiting. “The only question is whether we will play on the club level for a year before going to varsity or jump right into varsity.”
The following fall the University plans to field a softball team, and
in the academic year 2001–2002, FDU will introduce a women’s field hockey
or lacrosse squad.
A ‘Model’ ProgramThe plan to add women’s sports was developed by the University during the recent National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) certification program. After a yearlong self-study and an on-site evaluation, the NCAA granted FDU full certification and praised the University for its “model” academic advising, academic support and academic mentoring programs for student-athletes.
Hurlbut succeeds Associate Director of Athletics Ann Gulino-Thompson, who served as acting director since July 1997. Hurlbut thanked her for having “served this University so admirably. The fact that our student-athletes have performed so well athletically and academically is a testament to her skills and work ethic.” Gulino-Thompson is continuing to serve FDU as the associate director of athletics.
Hurlbut has been extensively involved in other areas of athletics administration on both the national and international level. He serves on the NCAA Track & Field Committee, where he is the chair of the Division I Indoor Track & Field Championship, and he is a peer reviewer in the NCAA certification program.
Hurlbut was responsible for three venues, including women’s basketball, at the 1994 Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was the U.S. track and field press officer at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
Prior to his arrival at the NEC, Hurlbut was a member of the University
of Pennsylvania athletics department’s senior management team. He began
his career in athletics at Juniata College as the sports information director,
head rugby coach and residence hall director. After two years, he moved
to Georgetown University, where he served as assistant director of sports
information for two years and director of sports information.
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