Iona College announced Rick Cole Jr., vice president of Athletics Administration, has been named the new director of athletics at Hofstra University on Long Island.
Cole was named director of athletics at Iona College in May 2013, and was elevated to vice president of Athletics Administration in January 2017. Cole came to Iona after serving in athletics administration roles at Dowling College, St. John's University, and Stony Brook University. Since joining Iona, Cole focused on building more than just a great athletic program, but also using athletics as a platform to help shape future leaders and champions in athletics, academics, in the community and in life.
Cole's tenure at Iona resulted in success on the field of play, in the classroom and in the community, three pillars of his leadership charge.
“Rick Cole brought a strong athletics program to new heights. For a small Catholic college, we achieve outsized results," said Iona College President Joseph Nyre, Ph.D. "Under Rick's leadership, Iona athletics has experienced success both on and off the playing field. On behalf of everyone at Iona, I offer Rick my congratulations and heartfelt gratitude for the lasting contributions he's made to Iona College. I wish him all the best in his new role."
Iona's athletic teams recorded impressive accomplishments during Cole's tenure. Men's basketball earned its third straight MAAC tournament championship earlier this month and made postseason appearances in each of his five years. The program competed in the last three NCAA tournaments and in two NIT events as MAAC regular season champions in his first two seasons. Women's basketball earned its first-ever MAAC regular season championship, MAAC tournament championship and NCAA berth. The men's cross country program won all five MAAC championship races, extending the NCAA's longest conference title streak to 27. The women's cross country program produced a female national champion and four MAAC titles and has now won 12 of the last 13 conference titles. In total, Iona won 18 MAAC championships during Cole's tenure.
Cole has led advances in the area of student academics, as well. Each year for the past three years, the Iona athletics has set a new school record in increasing the number of student-athletes named to the MAAC Academic Honor Roll, a recognition awarded to student-athletes achieving a 3.2 or higher grade point average.
In his five years at Iona, Cole has transformed the student-athlete experience at Iona. He oversaw investments in physical improvements to Mazzella Field, the Hynes Athletics Center pool, weight-training and team meeting room facilities, renovations to locker rooms, and new scoreboards that change the game-day experience for both athletes and fans. Additionally, under Cole's direction, the Iona College Athletics Department produced record numbers in fundraising and revenue generation through corporate sponsorships and season ticket sales.
“I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished together at Iona both on and off the court," said Cole. "The passion, commitment and support displayed by everyone at Iona – from the students, the alumni and the coaching staff, all the way to the highest levels of the College's administration – helped create that success, and also make it hard to leave. I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities waiting for me at Hofstra University, and will always be proud of, and grateful for, what we accomplished at Iona."
Iona has retained the search firm, Parker Executive Search, and will immediately launch the athletic director search, led by Daniel Parker. Cole will stay on in his role through May.