By Kendall Gregory
On Sept. 9, Bobby Valentine, the Executive Director of Athletics at Sacred Heart University, was named the
Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Administrator of the Year for Division I athletics. Valentine, along with 22 other administrators and student athletes, were recognized at the 2016 Honors Dinner on Sept. 22, in Danbury, Conn.
This is the first time since 1998 that Sacred Heart has been honored with this title. C. Donald Cook was recognized during his eighth year with Sacred Heart Athletics.
“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the student athletes, coaches and staff of Sacred Heart,” said Valentine in a statement issued by Sacred Heart Athletic Communications. “It is a pleasure to be associated with these fine men and women and I thank the ECAC for recognizing the accomplishments of Sacred Heart Athletics.”
Valentine joined the Pioneers staff in July 2013, making this his fourth year with the program. Before Sacred Heart, Valentine spent 10 years as a professional baseball player and a big part of his life as a baseball manager, both in Major League Baseball and in Japan.
Valentine’s leadership has played a key role in the success of Pioneer athletics. The 2015-16 season ended successfully behind the hard work of the coaches and players at Sacred Heart.
Cross country, as well as indoor and outdoor track and field teams, won the Northeast Conference (NEC) Triple Crown for the second year in a row. The bowling team won the regular season and tournament title. Women’s basketball also won their regular season title and had an appearance in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). The equestrian team won the Western Regional.
Rob Machan, head coach of the women’s volleyball team, credits Valentine for his help in creating a successful athletic department at Sacred Heart.
“I feel much of our tremendous growth as a department, and the university as a whole, is a direct result of Bobby’s vision and leadership of our department,” said Machan. “Bobby’s energy is infectious. It is reflected in the efforts his coaches and administrators put into improving the experience of our athletes.”
Student athletes were also successful off of the field last season. A press release sent out by the Sacred Heart Athletic Department noted that 31 teams posted a team GPA over 3.0. Sacred Heart was honored with the NEC Institutional Academic Award for their academic efforts.
“The dedication and commitment of all of our Pioneers is heart warming,” said Valentine in the press release.
Valentine has made staff additions and aesthetic
improvements as well.
“During his tenure, we have added a full time Strength and Conditioning Program and completely upgraded our weight room and workout facilities,” said Machan. “We recently added new state of the art video scoreboards in the Pitt Center and on Campus Field. It feels like every day we are announcing a new renovation to the fields, facilitates, or offices.”
Non student athletes are also aware of Valentine’s contributions to Pioneer athletics.
“I think bringing in Bobby Valentine was a smart move,” said junior Michael Barry. “Because of his background and connections in the sporting industry, he gives our Division I athletes a chance to get noticed by professional organizations.”
Valentine’s next project is the creation of the Bobby Valentine Athletic and Recreational Center. This new building will be at the north end zone of Campus Field.