BC report: AD search continues

The search for a new athletic director for Boston College continues with VP of Human Resources Leo Sullivan reportedly on the move, starting to talk to candidates to replace Gene DeFilippo who will retire on Sept. 30th.

Another potential candidate, who again meets the fundraiser/builder criteria that BC is focusing on, could be Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore, who is regarded as a rising star in the AD circles. Despite Stony Brook’s relatively low profile, Fiore has done such a good job at building the program that he was very much in the mix for recent openings at Connecticut and North Carolina.

As we did with Army Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan, who also fits the criteria that BC may be seeking, Fiore’s biography from the Stony Brook files seems to fit BC’s wishes in many areas.

It is, of course, very much a pro Fiore profile–as it should be coming from the school, but the salient points of fund raising and building a program are again clear cut, as they were with Corrigan.

“”Finishing his ninth year as Director of Athletics, Jim Fiore has worked tirelessly to lead Stony Brook University on an aggressive course for success in all aspects of intercollegiate athletics. He has been widely praised for his unparalleled success directing an athletics department that is widely considered a model for rising athletic departments across the country. Since arriving to Stony Brook in July 2003, Fiore has undertaken a major restructuring of the intercollegiate athletics program, including the hiring of new coaching and administrative staff, implementing dramatic facility upgrades and celebrating unprecedented revenue generation. In his tenure, Stony Brook has captured 33 conference championships, reached national postseason tournaments 17 times and celebrated an individual national champion. For the near future, Fiore is focused on building Stony Brook University Athletics into the premier athletic program in the Northeast Region among all public research universities.

Under Fiore’s leadership in 2011-12, Stony Brook enjoyed its most successful year ever as an athletic program, capturing nine conference championships, sending six of its programs to a national postseason tournament and celebrating the program’s first-ever individual national champion. The football team won the Big South Conference title for the third straight season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship. The women’s cross-country team completed a half-decade of dominance after capturing its fifth consecutive America East Championship. The men’s soccer team won its second America East crown in three seasons and advanced to the NCAA College Cup. The men’s basketball team ran through the America East en route to a regular season championship and its second NIT appearance in three seasons. The women’s tennis team secured its first-ever America East Championship and NCAA Tournament berth. The men’s lacrosse team captured its third straight America East regular season crown and then won the tournament title for second time in three seasons to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Women’s track & field star Lucy Van Dalen wrapped up her Seawolves career by winning the program’s first-ever individual national championship, taking the mile at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship.

The crowning athletic achievement under Fiore in 2011-12 was the baseball’s team’s run to the College World Series. After winning the America East Championship for the second time in three seasons, the Seawolves won the NCAA Coral Gables Regional by knocking off perennial powers Miami and Central Florida and then defeated six-time national champion LSU in a best two-out-of-three on its home field in the NCAA Super Regional to advance to its first-ever College World Series. Buoyed by five national television appearances on the ESPN Family of Networks, headlines and stories in numerous national media outlets and a stirring buzz across social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, the baseball team shocked the world and captured the hearts of people all across the country with their run to Omaha. The Seawolves garnered numerous postseason honors, including first-team All-American and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) National Co-Player of the Year Travis Jankowski, who became Stony Brook’s first-ever first-round Major League Baseball draft pick to headline a school-record seven Seawolves draftees.

Fiore’s leadership combined with Stony Brook’s unprecedented success made him an easy selection for NACDA’s 2012 Under Armour Northeast Region Athletics Director of the Year Award, which he accepted at NACDA’s annual convention in June 2012.

Fiore has also laid the groundwork for future success at Stony Brook through major facility improvements. He helped secure the $21.1 million Stony Brook Arena renovation project that will commence this summer and be completed by Fall 2014. The arena, which will seat just over 4,000 fans, will become Long Island’s new premier athletic and entertainment destination and serve as the home to Stony Brook men’s & women’s basketball. Earlier this month, he opened the new 8,000 square foot Dubin Family Athletic Performance Center, which will be the new home to Seawolves strength & conditioning and was privately funded by alumnus Glenn Dubin ’78 ’12, whose $4.3 million gift was the largest ever given to a SUNY athletics program. In the fall of 2012, University Pool will undergo a $10 million renovation as well. In recent years, Fiore also opened Joe Nathan Field (baseball), University Track, the Goldstein Family Student-Athlete Development Center and Pritchard Gymnasium (men’s & women’s basketball and volleyball).

Fiore’s vision for Stony Brook Athletics has resulted in unprecedented growth for the program in countless different ways. He elevated the football program from zero scholarships to the full NCAA FCS scholarship level and, while doing so, elevated all of Stony Brook’s women’s programs to fully funded status.  As a result, he has ensured the long-term future of Stony Brook football, while positioning all sport programs to eventually compete for a national championship alongside institutions with similar academic and athletic standards.  In addition, his dynamic marketing and branding campaigns have given Stony Brook Athletics a national scope.  During his tenure, Fiore has helped create a 175-person marching band, was a driving force in a campus-wide branding initiative, the impetus for sealing a multi-year television deal with Madison Square Garden (MSG) Network to broadcast multiple Seawolves games and has worked successfully to gain national television exposure for Stony Brook’s programs on outlets such as ESPN and ESPNU.  Fiore also spearheaded the bids that resulted in Stony Brook hosting the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship quarterfinals in May 2006 and 2010, which were both sold-out events, as well as the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship semifinals and final in May 2011 and 2012. The 2010 quarterfinals, which Stony Brook participated in, resulted in the largest crowd ever at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium with a standing room only attendance of 10,024. The 2011 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship effort resulted in a nomination for “Best Collegiate Single-Sport Event” for the 2011 Sports Travel Awards.

Fiore, known as a tenacious fundraiser, also has turned his attention to department-wide revenue generation efforts, with his efforts resulting in an increase of more than 55 percent in both annual giving revenue and number of donors.  In a concerted effort to take a lead role in the university’s $300 million capital campaign, the Department of Athletics has secured several major gifts, three of which were the largest philanthropic gifts ever given to athletics. The most recent gift is a $4.3 million dollar donation from alumnus Glenn Dubin ’78 ’12, which is the largest private donation to a State University of New York (SUNY) athletics department. It funded the new Dubin Family Athletic Performance Center, an 8,000 square foot strength & conditioning facility that opened in June 2012 and will serve all of Stony Brook’s student-athletes.  In July 2005, Fiore initiated a new philosophy for the annual Providing Athletes With Support (P.A.W.S.) fundraising campaign, a philosophy that streamlined the annual fundraising process to prepare Stony Brook to exceed all fundraising expectations in the future.  In addition, he created the Athletic Director Advisory Council, a 19-member board comprised of Stony Brook alumni, staff and community members that advise Fiore in the fundraising advancement process.   Fiore’s attention to the bottom line resulted in a new athletic department budget process that relieved the department of an annual systemic deficit, resulting in a balanced budget for the 2004-2005 academic year, the first time that Stony Brook realized that goal since moving to the Division I level.  Fiore has seen the department balance its budget every year since and has overseen a budget growth from $9 million to $20 million.

Fiore has had a tremendous impact on athletic facilities at Stony Brook.  In addition to the approximate $80 million in facility projects currently in action, Stony Brook retained Populous (formerly HOK), the premier sports architectural firm in the nation, to formulate and develop a master plan for the future of Stony Brook athletic facilities.  The blueprint already has begun to take hold: the baseball field has been transformed into Joe Nathan Field, in honor of lead donor, former Seawolves baseball player and current Minnesota Twins pitcher Joe Nathan ’97, featuring new turf and new dugouts; the softball field received a facelift with the addition of new bleachers and a press box; University Track was completed in June 2011 and provides the Seawolves with a $3 million state-of-the art outdoor track & field facility; Pritchard Gymnasium, home of the basketball and volleyball teams, received a $1.2 million renovation; LaValle Stadium’s football, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse and visiting team locker rooms all were redesigned and enhanced for an additional $1 million; the $4.3 million Dubin Family Athletic Performance Center; and the upcoming $10 million renovation of University Pool.

Under Fiore’s leadership, Stony Brook student-athletes also have attained new levels of achievement in the classroom. Leading the charge for a department-wide commitment to academic success, one of Fiore’s first achievements was to unveil the new Goldstein Family Student-Athlete Development Center in the spring of 2006, a center made possible through a $1.2 million gift from Stony Brook alumnus and former All-American squash player Stuart Goldstein `74.  The 6,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility can accommodate our 430 student-athletes and features a computer lab, a study hall/multipurpose function room, a career resource/library area, 4 academic advisor offices and several private tutor rooms.  The Seawolves student-athletes have directly benefited from this commitment to academics and as a result, have consistently achieved a department-wide average GPA of above a 3.0.

During his tenure, Fiore also has guided Stony Brook through the essential and formative NCAA Certification process; helped redesign the athletic logo and athletic website; developed a new comprehensive student-athlete exit survey and head coach performance evaluation instrument; implemented mandatory drug testing; and, unveiled an athletic department strategic plan.  Fiore also has instituted a “Book of the Year” program for coaches and staff that highlights important topics relevant to professional and personal development, culminating with the author’s visit to campus and discussion with the entire staff. Early in his tenure, Fiore implemented a Minority Apprentice program to assist in the development of young professionals in intercollegiate athletics.

Fiore’s list of accomplishments has not gone unnoticed.  In 2012, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) named him the Under Armour Northeast Region Athletics Director of the Year.  In 2011, he and the Stony Brook student-athletes were collectively named the Three Village Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year for their work in the community. In December 2007, he was named the Sports Man of the Year by The Village Times Herald and in the fall of 2004, he was recognized by the Long Island Business Association as one of the Top 40 executives under the age of 40 on Long Island. In June 2004, Fiore was a featured speaker at the NACDA convention in Dallas, Texas. He currently serves on the prestigious NCAA Division 1 Championships/Sports Management Cabinet.

On July 23, 2003, then President Shirley Strum Kenny introduced Jim Fiore as the ninth Director of Athletics in Stony Brook University history, stating “Jim has the energy, drive, enthusiasm and intelligence to take this program, in the tradition of Stony Brook, very far, very fast.” At the time of his hire, Fiore was one of the youngest Directors of Athletics in NCAA Division I. From 1999-2003, Fiore provided department-wide leadership in support of the director of athletics at Princeton University, a program that supports 38 sports, 40 club sports programs and more than 1,000 student-athletes.  A member of the senior management team, he was responsible for all athletic programming oversight of all varsity intercollegiate programs.  In addition, Fiore directed all personnel matters, including the coordination of national searches for coaches, staff and administrative positions.  Along with the director of athletics, he assisted in the planning for short and long-term capital improvements.  During Fiore’s tenure, Princeton achieved extraordinary success on the fields of play and in the classroom.  Princeton finished among the Top 25 in the Director’s Cup standings in three of the four years he was there and is the only non-scholarship institution ever to finish in the Top 25. From 1999-2003, Princeton teams won 60 Ivy League championships and nine national championships.

From 1995-1998, Fiore was the Assistant Director of Athletics for Intercollegiate Programming at Dartmouth College, where he assisted with the daily operation and supervision of Dartmouth’s comprehensive 34-sport program. Prior to Dartmouth, Fiore interned at Princeton working directly for the Director of Athletics on assigned projects. He began his career as a graduate assistant at Springfield College before working for the Executive Director of the National Invitation Tournament during the spring and summer of 1993. One year later, he took an internship in the compliance office at Fordham University.

A native of Long Beach, N.Y, Fiore graduated from Long Beach High School and went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hofstra University, where he played free safety for the football team.  Upon graduation from Hofstra, Fiore earned a master’s degree in education from Springfield College. Additionally, he received a certificate from the highly selective Sports Management Institute held at the University of Notre Dame and University of South Carolina.”

It should be noted that Boston College will play Stony Brook in football next season, which was set up by Fiore and DeFilippo.

© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.

  5 comments for “BC report: AD search continues

  1. November 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm

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  2. MIke
    August 27, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Fiore had a great hire with Coach Chuck Priore for the football team. Priore was a guy who struggled to land that next level job after dominating at Trinity and always being around a winning football program(Albany, Union, UPENN). That said I think it was an risky hire(Priore is a tough personality who toes the line and had been coaching non scholarship football for a long long time) but a good hire. Stony Brook is on the up and up and perhaps Coach Priore will be too thanks to Fiore taking a chance on him. If BC wants a risk taker in football after GDF, Fiore’s recent football resume might put him in the mix.

    • MIke
      August 27, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      *despite always being around winning football programs

  3. Mark
    August 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    You make a good point and that might work against him.

  4. Brian
    August 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Zero experience working at a school with a serious football program is a huge gap in that resume.

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