By Chad Peters
SAN ANTONIO — Robert Coleman plans to bring a bold, values-driven vision to St. Mary’s University Athletics.
Coleman, currently the Executive Director of Athletics and Special Assistant to the President at Whittier College in California, has been named the new Athletics Director for St. Mary’s University, effective Aug. 6.
Coleman, 52, has 28 years of comprehensive athletics administrative experience with a student-athlete focus in both private liberal arts and public educational settings. At Whittier, he has headed a varsity sports program of 22 teams with nearly 500 student-athletes, 17 intramural sports and campus recreational programs.
Under Coleman’s leadership over the past 12 years, Whittier has had 92 student-athletes named Academic All-American and 53 named All-American, in addition to 55 teams that earned All-Academic honors and five teams that finished as the top-ranked NCAA Division III program.
At St. Mary’s, Coleman brings a vision that he says includes building a value-driven culture and a set of core values centered on positive mindset, mutual respect, interdependence and pride.
“Rob’s vision for St. Mary’s is to focus on a culture of excellence that includes academic achievement of student-athletes, athletics success, social responsibilities and spiritual growth,” said President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D. “As St. Mary’s moves to the Lone Star Conference next year, Rob is fully prepared to assist our athletics programs and teams to meet the challenges of the new conference. He is also ready to shape the department’s vital role at a Catholic university, assisting with creating a more vibrant campus life experience engaging students and student-athletes in their support of athletics, recreational and club sports.”
Coleman’s leadership expertise is in areas of sports management, strategic planning, fundraising, budget management, marketing, and recruitment and retention of staff and coaches. He also has proven success in fundraising for securing both annual and major gifts, Mengler noted.
“I am humbled and blessed with the opportunity to be the Director of Athletics at St. Mary’s University,” Coleman said. “I want to thank President Mengler and the entire search committee for their confidence and trust in me to lead the Athletics department. I am looking forward to getting to know our staff, student-athletes, coaches, Marianists and the great supporters of the Rattlers.
“Our goal will be to provide our student-athletes with the best college experience possible, while having success in the classroom, the field of play and in the community. I understand there is plenty of work to be done and our entire staff will work tirelessly to take St. Mary’s to new heights. It goes without saying that I am very excited about the future of St. Mary’s Athletics.”
Previously, Coleman served as Director of Athletics and Recreational Sports at The City College of New York, and Associate Director of Athletics at Hunter College, New York. Coleman attended a Catholic high school before obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from St. Leo University, a Catholic liberal arts institution in Florida. He has a Master of Education in Athletic Administration from Springfield College in Massachusetts.
“Over the next few months, I will take the time to listen and begin formulating a strategic plan with staff, coaches, student-athletes, faculty, Marianists and alumni that will complement our core values,” Coleman said. “I completely understand that there are lofty expectations associated with this hiring, and I and the staff will embrace them wholeheartedly. Those expectations will help in pushing our program to the highest level.”
At Whittier, the program saw tremendous growth under Coleman’s leadership, as the size of the program grew from 280 student-athletes to nearly 500 over a five-year stretch. Whittier also enjoyed excellence in the classroom and in competition, as evident by the program’s Academic All-Americans, All-Americans and national rankings. Coleman’s fundraising prowess also helped launch numerous facility upgrades, including the installation of a turf field, a new track resurfacing, a new sound system and video displays, among numerous other initiatives.
“My family and I are so very excited to be part of the St. Mary’s family,” said Coleman, who will be joined in the Alamo City by his wife, Victoria, and 13-year-old son Aidan. “We look forward to immersing ourselves more fully into the community.”