Iona College Hires Inaugural Club Sports Director to Expand Student Opportunities Beyond the Classroom
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. —As part of its ongoing focus on empowering students to “Learn Outside the Lines,” Iona College has appointed Matthew Grimaldi as its first director of Club Sports. In this role, Grimaldi will develop programs and activities for students to pursue their passions beyond the classroom while developing meaningful relationships around shared interests.
“Athletics is an integral part of a student’s development, especially for those who have grown up playing sports. That shouldn’t end when a student gets to college. In fact, it should be strengthened – even if a student isn’t going to compete in a Division I Athletics program like Iona’s,” Grimaldi said. “Developing opportunities for students to engage and excel in sports is not only my profession, it’s my passion.”
Grimaldi is returning to his home state of New York after successful stints in various athletics roles nationwide. Most recently, he served as director of Athletics for Keystone College, where he oversaw the expansion of the athletic landscape to include 22 varsity sports and seven club sports. Notably during this time, players’ average grade point average rose 10 percent. Prior to Keystone, Grimaldi served in various positions in coaching and athletics, including Mercyhurst University, Drexel University and the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama.
Creating more robust opportunities beyond the classroom has been driven by Iona College’s strategic mission. Among other initiatives, Iona in January appointed its first director of Performing Arts to create and strengthen programs in areas such as Irish Step, Dance Ensemble, Pipe Band, Pep Band and other performing arts. Grimaldi will report to Dean of Students Joel Quintong in the newly formed Office of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.
“We know that students who participate in sports and other club activities perform better academically, develop better time management skills and become better leaders,” said Kevin O’Sullivan, senior vice president for Enrollment and Student Affairs. “We are delighted to welcome Matthew and look forward to all that is still to come at Iona.”
One of Grimaldi’s early priorities will be to assess the various national Club Sports leagues and apply for Iona to begin competing in intercollegiate competition. Students in Club Sports compete against club teams at other colleges. Iona currently has a rugby club, and Grimaldi will work to establish basketball, tennis and e-sports teams, among other programs.
Grimaldi obtained an Educational Doctorate from the United States Sports Academy; a Master of Education in Health and Physical Education from East Stroudsburg University; and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from St. John’s University.
Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of more than 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of academic programs across the School of Arts & Science; LaPenta School of Business; NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences; and Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona is widely recognized in prestigious rankings, including The Princeton Review’s 2024 national list of “The Best 389 Colleges” and The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s “2024 Best Colleges in America,” which ranked Iona at #66 in the nation overall and #8 in the nation among Catholic schools. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona also offers a fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, which is now principally located on Iona’s Bronxville campus in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. Connecting to its Irish heritage, the University also recently announced it is expanding abroad with a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. A school on the rise, Iona officially changed its status from College to University on July 1, 2022, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.