On Sept. 8, Judy Ann Riccio was named the fifth Athletic Director of Sacred Heart University, making her the first woman to become head of the Athletics Department in the school’s history, according to Sacred Heart Athletics.
Riccio has been serving as interim director since June 8 after former Athletic Director Bobby Valentine announced in a press conference that he was stepping down from Sacred Heart and would run for Mayor for the town of Stamford, according to the Connecticut Post.
Students at Sacred Heart shared their perspectives after hearing the news about the new athletic director.
“It is refreshing to see that a female has such an influential role in the athletic community here at SHU,” said senior Catherine Rossi. “Athletics is typically a male-dominant section at colleges and seeing Ricco being appointed to this position encourages other females to follow in her footsteps.”
According to the Connecticut Post, Riccio is the 57th woman to be the director of a Division I athletic program, with only 36 of the 57 schools having football programs.
“I think she will bring so much to SHU athletics since she has so much experience and knows so much about Division 1 sports,” said senior Andy Hesse. “Not only that, I feel she cares so much about the experience. So I can’t wait.”
Riccio is not a new face at Sacred Heart, as she previously was an executive director of the divisional budget and chief financial officer of intercollegiate athletic budgets for the last 17 years, according to Sacred Heart Athletics.
“Ricco will bring a fresh and new perspective to the position. Her background is strong in finances and she will help to direct money into programs that need it,” said Rossi.