Locatelli Comments on New Athletic Director
Aug. 27, 2004
"At Santa Clara, sports play an important role in the Jesuit education we offer. Sports is one of the dimensions of the Jesuit ideal of educating the whole person. "We expect integrity, balance and quality in all of our programs - from recreational to intramural, club to intercollegiate - because they contribute to our educational mission. "We expect to be successful and look forward to more teams in post-season NCAA tournaments. I can imagine: another national championship in Men's Soccer and another national championship in Women's Soccer... this year. And, I look for the next Steve Nash and his teammates who defeated Arizona in the 1993 NCAA tournament and knocked-off defending national champion UCLA in the 1995 Maui Invitational "I foresee continuing the five consecutive years of national rankings in women's volleyball since 1999. And, with our new baseball stadium, maybe soon, we'll be back in the College World Series in Omaha. "All of our coaches are equally dedicated to the success of our student-athletes both on the field or court and in the classroom. "All of us are proud not only of the athletic success but also academic achievement by our student-athletes with graduation rates as high and sometimes higher than the very bright student body we have at Santa Clara. "Santa Clara continues to benefit today from the contributions of former student-athletes who support the university with their gifts and service on the board of trustees, Regents, Fellows and the Bronco Bench Foundation, and in many other ways. A number of them are here today. "When Provost Denise Carmody and I discussed the search for a new Director of Athletics, we knew that it was critical to find the right person to represent the best of Santa Clara and athletics, and also bring effective leadership and high aspirations for our programs "We wanted a person who had a professional understanding of the world of athletics, intelligence and leadership skills, and the ability to understand and work effectively in the Santa Clara culture. This includes the critical task of developing strong positive relationships with alumni, donors, and other key constituencies of the university. "We wanted a person who understands the mission and community of Santa Clara and the role of athletics, especially intercollegiate athletics, in that context; and have the ability to bring together the various athletic interests to support the program. "We wanted a person who would build on our past and take us to a new level of excellence in our sports programs. "We decided to have an open, but targeted search for the Director of Athletics, under the leadership and coordination of Associate Provost Charles Erekson. That process yielded almost 50 applications and nominations with a pool that included a significant number of individuals with extensive experience in intercollegiate athletics. "The pool of potential candidates was narrowed to approximately 30 active applicants, about half of whom had prior experience as an athletic director. Since we had a rich pool of candidates, we focused our attention on the qualities that I outlined, looking for someone who could understand and commit to an athletic program of the size, scope and quality we wanted. Multiple layers of reference checks were used drawing on a variety of sources. Selected members of the athletic department staff assisted with that process. "The pool of applicants was narrowed further to a dozen, and we decided to bring our top two to four candidates to campus. The interview process involved Santa Clara administrators, faculty, coaches, and student-athletes, but also representatives of the Board of Trustees, the Athletic Advisory Board, the Bronco Bench Foundation, the Athletic Campaign Committee, and friends of the university both in the Bay Area and in Southern California. "One of the most gratifying aspects of the search process for me, both as president and as an alumnus of Santa Clara, was what we heard about Santa Clara and its athletic program from people across the country who helped us identify and evaluate candidates. The university's athletic program has a very strong reputation. That, more than anything else, is what caused people to be generous with their time and their thoughts about potential candidates for the position. "I am sure the person we have selected will be next in the long tradition of exceptional leaders for our intercollegiate athletic program. It is my privilege and honor to present to you Dan Coonan, the new Director of Athletics. "Dan is joined by his wife Donna and the newest members of the Bronco Kids Club, his three children Clare, Tommy, and Kevin. "Dan is a product of Catholic education. He graduated from St. Bernard High School in Los Angeles, received his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame, and his law degree from Loyola Law School in L.A. He knows and appreciates the value and importance of Catholic higher education and the Jesuit mission. "His brother, Dennis, who is here with us today, is obviously the smarter of the two since he graduated from Santa Clara. Dan got to know Santa Clara through the eyes of his brother, both as a student and an alum. "Dan is a committed family man. He is married to the former Donna Kreter, and they have three great kids. It is not clear to me who is more excited about this move ...... Dan or Donna, since I have heard from reputable sources that red is Donna's favorite color and, given the Stanford/Cal rivalry, that red clothes have been banned in their house for the last few years. "Dan brings a breadth of knowledge and a unique combination of experiences to Santa Clara ..... a background in law; time on the staff of Notre Dame and Central Connecticut before becoming Assistant AD at Cal; three years as Assistant Commissioner of the Pac-10 Conference; and the last three years as Executive Associate AD at Cal. "Dan is an expert in athletic governance. He has experience in sports supervision and compliance, having overseen football, men's and women's basketball, and women's volleyball at Cal. He has played a key role in the dramatic turnaround of the Cal football program in the last couple of years. "Dan understands and welcomes being part of Jesuit education and appreciates Santa Clara's quality, balance, scope and size in sports. He is intelligent and outgoing and I am confident that he will build strong relationships with coaches, student-athletes, alumni, and all supporters of Bronco athletics. "Dan is a person of integrity who speaks the truth, knows right from wrong, has the courage of his convictions, and a passion for excellence. He will be dedicated to the university and its athletics program. Dan understands the role of athletics at Santa Clara and is committed to continuing to build a program with a strong presence at the local, regional, and national level. "I am convinced that he will be a great athletic director and an outstanding university citizen. "Please join me in welcoming Dan Coonan to Santa Clara University."