DAYTON, Ohio — The University of Dayton announced today that Neil Sullivan has been named vice president and director of athletics.
Sullivan, 35, joined the division of athletics in 2006 and is currently serving as deputy director. He succeeds Tim Wabler, who retired this month after 22 years in the division — eight of those at its helm.
“Neil has demonstrated he has the skills and experience to build on our positive momentum in athletics and take us to even greater success,” said President Daniel J. Curran. “He is also committed to the values and mission of the University and knows that our student-athletes are students first. He’s committed to seeing them succeed in the classroom as well as on the playing field.”
As the University’s top athletics administrator, Sullivan oversees on-campus athletic facilities including Baujan Field, the Thomas J. Frericks Athletic and Convocation Center and the University of Dayton Arena and its surrounding Arena Sports Complex.
“I am honored and excited to serve as the University of Dayton’s vice president and director of athletics,” Sullivan said. “We have tremendous momentum and our staff is focused on accelerating it. We will continue our commitment to conduct high-quality athletics programs, graduate student-athletes and represent the University in a first-class manner.
“I believe strongly in the mission of the University, our fans, the student-athletes, coaches and staff. We have strengthened our national brand and performance across the board and we are well-positioned to continue delivering strong results academically, competitively and within the community.”
During his career at the University, he has held a variety of positions — associate director of athletics, assistant director of athletics and director of compliance. He most recently had direct responsibility for finance, governance, external affairs, revenue generation and facilities.
He managed the University’s bid for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, which secured the First Four for the University of Dayton Arena
Lawrence W. Woerner ’76, who chaired the selection committee and heads the board of trustees’ standing committee on athletics, said Sullivan emerged as the best fit after an extensive national search.
Woerner said Sullivan has worked collaboratively and well with coaches, administrators, major donors, and NCAA and Atlantic 10 officials, and he has managed the media rights for all sports related to the A-10 conference.
“We had dozens and dozens of applications from around the country and did a very thorough search,” Woerner said. “In a series of progressively more challenging positions of responsibility, Neil not only fulfilled expectations but knocked them out of the ballpark.
“We are very pleased with the direction of athletics, and Neil is well-prepared to take our program to even greater success.”
Working alongside Wabler, Sullivan has been part of the best across-the-board athletics success in school history. In the last seven years, there have been 29 champions from eight sports, and 21 teams reached their respective NCAA tournaments. Overall, nearly 400 student-athletes compete in 17 intercollegiate sports.
Both men’s and women’s basketball teams have distinguished themselves nationally in the last two years. The men advanced to the Elite Eight in 2014 for the third time in school history. In 2015, the women made the Elite Eight for the first time.
While setting milestones in several sports, the Flyers have maintained graduation rates that are among the highest in the country. Dayton’s most recent GSR of 95 ranks the University as tied for 25th in the nation and tied for first in the Atlantic 10. As success on the field has improved, the University’s student-athletes have also performed well in the classroom. Dayton student-athletes’ combined cumulative grade point average has risen to a school-record of 3.305.
A native of the Pittsburgh area, Sullivan received a bachelor’s in kinesiology (exercise science) from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from Robert Morris University. He and his wife Crystal live in Waynesville, Ohio, and have three sons, Caleb, Mac and Colin.
Sullivan is also a member of the University’s faculty and teaches courses in corporate/sport finance and athletic facility management.