Gannon starts year off with new director of athletics

Gannon University and its athletic department have welcomed a new member to the team.

Lisa Goddard McGuirk was named the new director of athletics and began her duties Sept. 5.

McGuirk has 17 years of experience with sports administration, including six years as a director of athletics. She is more than excited to bring her ideas to Gannon’s rapidly growing athletic department.

For the last two years McGuirk served as the director of athletics at NCAA Division III Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa. Prior to her time with Cedar Crest, she spent four years – from 2005 to 2009 – as the director of athletics for the College of Saint Elizabeth, also a Division III NCAA school in Morristown, N.J.

Brian Nichols, Gannon University’s vice president for Student Development and Engagement, introduced McGuirk during a press conference and said she understands and has a passion for Gannon’s mission of developing the whole student.

“She is exactly the type of leader that we are looking for to take our program to the next level,” Nichols said. “We believe our student athletes will rise to higher levels with Lisa as our next director of athletics.”

McGuirk looks to build on the foundation instilled within the Gannon athletics department and to continue to improve upon the tradition of excellence and academic achievement. She said Gannon was an easy choice when deciding her next career path; it has everything she values and much more.

Gannon holds its student athletes to a higher level of academic success than most Division II schools and is looking to McGuirk to maintain that drive within the athletes.

“Academics and athletics don’t overpower each other,” McGuirk said. “That commitment to both academics and athletics is what attracted me to this position and it is important to me to continue and increase our collaborative efforts.”

McGuirk has several ideas to keep Gannon athletics on the right track and she is planning on accepting input from all athletic departments and coaches.

She said it is important to integrate all of her new faculty members when making decisions for the athletes, because in the end, they affect everyone.

Faculty is not the only group in the athletic department excited about McGuirk’s presence; the athletes are as well.

Rachel Bednarek, a junior women’s water polo player, is looking forward to seeing what McGuirk has in store for Gannon.

This is her second director of athletics while being at Gannon and she said it will be interesting to see how the two styles of directing compare.

“I remember how Mark Richard was involved with the teams by going to the games,” Bednarek said. “It will be interesting to see if she has a similar approach for connecting with students.”

McGuirk is the second woman to hold the director of athletics position at Gannon. Kathleen McNally – the first – was the director from 1997 to 1999.

Being a female director of athletics is becoming more common in Division II colleges and McGuirk is excited to be a part of the growth.

She said it will not affect her decisions for the department and its athletes, but she is proud to be setting an example for young females in the athletic world.

“It is something that I am proud of,” McGuirk said. “But I don’t believe being a male or female should affect choices made for the schools and its athletes.

“I just can’t wait to watch and help all my student-athletes become successful young adults. I am overwhelmed with excitement and I hope the athletes and the faculty feel the same.”

 

BECKY HILKER

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