Honored For Commitment, Positive Contributions To Student-Athletes, Campuses And Their Surrounding Communities
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced the 28 winners of the Under Armour AD of the Year Award (ADOY) today and Yale is very well represented. Tom Beckett, the current Director of Athletics who is retiring at the end of the academic year after 24 outstanding years of service to the university, and his successor Vicky Chun, presently the Athletic Director at Colgate, were both selected.
The award spans seven divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS, Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community Colleges). Winners will receive their awards during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 29 at NACDA's 53rd Annual Convention at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
The ADOY Award highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities.
"This is the 20th year for the Athletics Director of the Year Program, and each year that goes by, we are continually blown away by the standard of success that these award winners maintain across all levels of college athletics," said Bob Vecchione, NACDA Executive Director. "Over the last two decades, we have been fortunate to recognize more than 425 individuals for the impressive work they do and the examples they set for everyone in our industry."
Beckett's impact on the Yale Athletic Department over the last 24 years has been immeasurable. During his tenure, the Bulldogs have been successful in competition, in the classroom, in the community and in alumni relations.
Yale teams have produced 120 championships, 75 first‐place Ivy League finishes, and numerous other post‐season victories under Beckett's leadership. Since his arrival in 1994, 24 different Yale teams have won Ivy League championships. There have been 43 Olympic athletes and 337 All‐Americans during his time on campus. Yale has averaged more than 10 nationally ranked teams each year. In addition, there have been 28 national championships in the sports of men's hockey, men's and women's squash, sailing, and all three rowing programs. In 2016, the Yale men's basketball team won the first NCAA Tournament game in the history of the program, and the football team has captured three Ivy League titles in Beckett's time at Yale, including this past fall.
One of the highlights of Beckett's tenure came when he orchestrated an appearance by Army in the Yale Bowl in 2014 to celebrate the historic stadium's 100th anniversary. The Bulldogs earned a thrilling 49‐43 overtime victory in front of nearly 35,000 fans in the Bowl.
Under Beckett's leadership, Yale has led the nation in teams honored by the NCAA for Public Recognition Awards (Academic Progress Rate ‐ APR) more than half the years of its existence. He has helped recruit outstanding student‐athletes to a world‐class university, including Rhodes Scholars and countless academic All‐Americans.
In the community, Beckett built a partnership program to provide Yale students with free admission to games, and he created events like "Employees Day" for members of the faculty and staff to bring their families to athletic events without charge. His leadership helped create the award‐winning Thomas W. Ford '42 Community Outreach Program that brought youth from the New Haven area to the campus for events such as the National Youth Sports Program and Yale Youth Days. In 1997, the programs received the Athletic Management Magazine Award of Excellence.
When Beckett arrived at Yale, there was one endowed head coach position; now there are 23. There were 50 endowed funds; now there are 215. Because of the generosity of devoted alumni and his vision for Yale Athletics, the university today has $283 million in athletics endowment — a dramatic increase from the $20 million it had in 1994.
Beckett has also brought striking changes to facilities, overseeing the construction or renovation of 20 key facilities. During his tenure, Yale has added the Brady Squash Center, one of the finest squash facilities in the nation, the Cullman‐Heymann Tennis Center, DeWitt Family Softball Field, the Gilder Boathouse, Johnson Field (field hockey) and the Lanman Center inside Payne Whitney Gym. In addition, significant renovations have taken place at Yale Bowl with the addition of the Kenney Center, Reese Stadium and Yale Field.
Beckett has been called "Yale's Biggest Fan," a distinction he earned by attending almost every home contest, as well as scores of non‐athletic university events. Beckett knows by name almost every one of the 800+ varsity athletes in any year.
In tribute to Beckett, supporters and friends of Yale Athletics joined in creating an endowment to name the Yale director of athletics position the Thomas A. Beckett Director of Athletics.
Recognized by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal as a "Game Changer," Chun has earned a stellar reputation as one of the most innovative and well-respected leaders in NCAA Division I athletics.
At Colgate, Chun has worked closely with faculty, students, and staff to foster a high level of academic rigor and integrity among student-athletes. Under her leadership, the average grade point average (GPA) of Colgate student-athletes surpassed the average GPA of the student body, with the student-athlete GPA increasing every year. This year, Colgate's 98% NCAA Division I Graduation Success Rate placed it second in the country.
A former student-athlete and Division I coach, Chun cultivated respect and integrity within the athletics program while helping shepherd teams to new levels of success. During her years at Colgate, the men's and women's hockey, football, men's and women's soccer, men's lacrosse, and volleyball teams earned national rankings. She hired eight new head coaches who demonstrated success and brought their programs to national prominence. She also took steps to improve the student-athlete experience, initiating a head-injury reduction strategy for practices in contact sports.
Chun helped raise millions of dollars for major capital projects at Colgate, including a 97,000-square-foot arena; a soccer and women's lacrosse complex; a football locker room renovation; and a new academic services center.
At the national level, Chun has been an advocate for excellence in intercollegiate sports. One of only 40 members of the NCAA Division I Council, she also serves as vice-chair of the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee and on the newly created Division I Football Competition Committee. She recently served as president of the Women Leaders in College Sports and as a member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers. The first female Asian-American athletic director in NCAA Division I history, Chun will be the first woman and the first Asian American to serve as director of athletics at Yale.