Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – Robert Coleman will be stepping down as Whittier College Executive Director of Athletics after completing an impressive 12-year tenure. He has accepted a position in San Antonio, Texas as the Director of Athletics at St. Mary's University (Division II). His last day will be July 27.
"Leading the Whittier College athletic program has been the greatest honor and highlight of my career and I can't thank President Herzberger enough for her belief in me. I am also grateful for the outstanding coaches and staff who have dedicated themselves to our program and student-athletes. I will forever cherish my time as a Poet," said Coleman.
Over the past 12 years, Poets have reached new heights under Coleman's tenure, including several conference victories, record-breaking team accomplishments, and noteworthy individual achievements with 52 NCAA Division III All-Americans. Moreover, Coleman has led improvements on nearly every athletic facility on campus.
"Rob's dedication to the Purple and Gold is evident in the great success that the athletic program has shown under his leadership," said President Sharon D. Herzberger. "His oversight of capital improvements has transformed our athletic facilities and fields into attractive, well-functioning spaces that have beautified this important area of the campus and drawn applause from visitors and competitors alike."
Coleman has been successful in securing increased support to athletics and doubling the membership to the Purple & Gold booster club. Under his direction, several facility initiatives were completed to enhance the athletic program. Notable improvements include the recently renovated Wallace "Chief" Newman Field and Aubrey Bonham Track at Memorial Stadium, resurfaced Richard Ettinger Tennis Courts, a new dugout, pressbox and batting cages at Hugh B. Mendez Stadium/Adam Elberg Field, aesthetic additions to the Charles and Marie Palmer Softball Field, the complete renovation of the Lillian Slade Aquatics Center, and a new entryway and conference room at the Graham Athletic Center.
Overall, the athletic program grew from 280 to 480 student-athletes under Coleman's leadership. Today, nearly one-third of all Whittier College students play at least one intercollegiate sport and hundreds more participate in intramural sports.
"For me, every Poet sport was 'the' sport and we developed plans at the onset to strengthen and expand all of the teams," said Coleman. "We hired amazing coaches and staff members, built athletic facilities, increased our academic success, engaged our community and alumni, and won multiple SCIAC championships highlighted by our first individual NCAA Championship. We have achieved some remarkable highs and created lasting memories."
Establishing unique leadership and academic programs within athletics, Coleman has ensured that Whittier student-athletes have excelled in the classroom as well as on the field. Eight teams have been repeatedly recognized as All-Academic by their sport and a total of 86 Academic All-Americans have been produced by all teams.
With 27 years of experience in athletic administration, Coleman has had extensive involvement with NCAA committee participation. Most recently he served a four-year term on the NCAA Division III Financial Aid Committee, which he chaired in his final year. He also completed a two-year term (2008-10) as chair of the Athletic Administrators Committee for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and served a four-year term on the NCAA Division III Interpretation and Legislation Committee where he was committee chair from January 2007-2008.
Coleman received a B.S. in athletic administration from St. Leo University and an M.Ed., specializing in sports management, from Springfield College.