America East Conference Commissioner Patrick Nero is GW’s next athletic director.
Patrick Nero, commissioner of the America East Conference, will take the helm as GW’s next director of athletics.
Mr. Nero brings more than 23 years of experience in NCAA Division I sports to GW. He succeeds Jack Kvancz, who is retiring from the position after 17 years. Mr. Nero was announced at a press conference today in the Charles E. Smith Center.
“Patrick Nero rose to the top of an outstanding pool of candidates. He has all the right skills and experience and a strong commitment to excellence, as well as to the academic success of our student athletes,” said GW President Steven Knapp. “I am impressed by his strategic vision and look forward to working with him to build the future of athletics at George Washington.”
As commissioner of the America East Conference, Mr. Nero oversees all facets of the operations of the NCAA Division I Conference, which consists of nine universities participating in 20 sports. While at the America East, he also held numerous NCAA leadership roles, including serving on the NCAA Division I Leadership Council, Management Council and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Board of Directors. He is past chair of the Division I Commissioners Association and the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics.
“I appreciate the opportunity given to me by President Knapp and the George Washington University,” said Mr. Nero. “As a leader in higher education, George Washington provides opportunities for its students, faculty and staff to achieve at the highest level and reach their greatest potential. I look forward to being part of the GW family and doing all that I can to contribute to the mission of the university.”
Prior to being named America East Conference commissioner, Mr. Nero was director of athletics at the University of Maine. During his tenure at Maine, seven athletics teams qualified for the postseason over a two-year span, including NCAA Championship runner-up men’s ice hockey. Eleven of his teams advanced to conference championship games and the University of Maine football team became the first I-AA team to defeat a Southeastern Conference team.
Mr. Nero also held leadership roles in athletics at the University of Miami in Florida, Marquette University, Lamar University and Providence College. As senior associate athletic director for Miami, Mr. Nero directed a capital campaign and major gift activities for the department, including a new convocation center, a football training facility, a track and soccer stadium and a baseball stadium renovation.
Mr. Nero is a graduate of Providence College and a native of Providence, R.I. He said his passion for helping students and his competitive nature—which he attributes to a large family and frequent attendance at Providence basketball games—were what ultimately drew him to a career in athletics.
“I really enjoy having an effect on young people and giving them a chance to be successful, whether that’s success in their career path, academic path or in their community,” he said. “We’re all competitive, so I think I’m going to find a competitive bunch here at GW.”
Although he loved his job as commissioner, Mr. Nero said he was attracted to GW’s urban location and the opportunity to once again work closely with students.
“Whenever you’re thinking about making a major career move, you want to make sure you’re going to a place that matches your ideals,” he said. “For me, GW is one of the leading universities in the country and has a strong athletic tradition and a great reputation for supporting athletics.
“I’m an urban person—I like to be in the middle of a lot of different options and things to do—so coming to GW really fits with who I am as an individual.”
Some of Mr. Nero’s goals for GW athletics include increasing marketing opportunities on television and radio, attracting larger crowds to athletic events and growing student-athlete involvement with the community. Mr. Nero said he will work with GW’s strategic planning committee for athletics to help develop “a long-term strategic vision” for the university.
“I want to make sure that we are seeing success in everything that the university expects from us and I have to be the person that holds us accountable,” he said. “I’d like to see us build one of the most successful Division I intercollegiate athletic programs in the country.”
Mr. Nero also noted that involvement and support of GW students and alumni will be essential to elevating athletics at GW.
A serious runner, Mr. Nero has completed five marathons and cites exercise as a way to keep “a balanced life.” But there is always a place for competition, and he hopes his passion for working in collegiate athletics translates into success for the university.
“I want to help create a winning culture at GW,” he said, “and to challenge our coaches and our staff to make sure we’re doing everything we can to allow our students to achieve at the highest levels.”
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