Renee Baumgartner, a dynamic intercollegiate athletics administrator, as well as former college head coach and student-athlete, is in her fifth season as Santa Clara's director of athletics.
In overseeing the school’s 20 Division I programs, Baumgartner has drawn on her 16 previous years experience as a collegiate administrator and another 17 serving as either a coach or student-athlete.
Baumgartner, hired in July 2015, served a four-year stint as deputy athletics director/chief of staff at Syracuse University. She oversaw the daily operation of tickets, fundraising, marketing and promotions, and media relations and was the department’s liaison with men’s basketball, and had direct supervision of men’s and women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, softball, women’s tennis and volleyball.
There have been a number of accomplishments for Baumgartner since she returned to her West Coast roots.
In addition to spearheading the fundraising for the $38 million, 50,000-square-foot Stephen C. and Patricia A. Schott Athletic Excellence Center, she hired veteran, accomplished basketball coaches in Herb Sendek for the Santa Clara men’s program and Bill Carr for the women’s team, and directed an upgrade to Leavey Center. The men’s and women’s basketball teams moved into state-of-the-art locker rooms during the 2015-16 season and the following year those squads, plus volleyball, played on a one-of-a-kind floor.
The court features a large stain painting of a photograph of Santa Clara University’s iconic Mission Church. Tinker Hatfield, NIKE’s vice president for design and special projects, designed the floor, which is believed to be the first of its kind. No known playing surface incorporates an image of a campus building in its design.
NIKE, as part of its multi-year agreement with the department of athletics, also assisted in the design of a style change and logo enhancement, which was unveiled in January 2016. The style change is a classic, collegiate look to better promote the Santa Clara Athletics brand.
Aided by the report from the Presidential Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, a template that shows Santa Clara University’s commitment to athletics, Baumgartner was able to increase sport budgets and department staffing.
The Athletic Excellence Center, which will provide dedicated space for student-athletes to work out, train, practice, eat and study together, came to fruition in April 2019 when ground was broken on the two-story building that is expected to open in the summer of 2020.
Baumgartner arrived to Syracuse in 2011 after a 17-year tenure at the University of Oregon, where she was as an administrator and head women’s golf coach. In her role as the executive senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator (SWA), roles she assumed in 2009, Baumgartner assisted the with the daily operation and management of the 19-sport department, assisted with strategic planning, budget management, and personnel departments. She was the sport supervisor for men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, and acrobatics and tumbling.
In addition to sport supervision at Oregon, Baumgartner oversaw internal department components, including the student-athlete treatment center, strength and conditioning, student services (Life Skills program), and intercollegiate human resources. She was a senior member of the University athletics’ team, which was responsible for the planning, execution and fundraising of more than $300 million in gifts to the department, including the construction of a state-of-the art $200 million basketball arena and a $23 million campaign to reinstate the baseball program and build a new stadium.
Baumgartner began her athletics administrative career as the interim senior woman administrator in 1998, while also serving as the head women’s golf coach. In 1999, she was promoted to associate athletics director and SWA, and was elevated to senior associate athletics director/SWA in the spring of 2002. She was a member of the executive team of the athletics department and represented the University in all SWA Pac-10 and NCAA committees and related matters. Baumgartner supervised a staff of 66 full-time employees, was the sport supervisor for various programs, and was responsible for oversight of internal departments, including maintenance and facilities, event administration, human resources, the weight room, and equipment room.
A four-year golf letterwinner and team captain at USC, Baumgartner began her coaching career at Oregon in 1987 and guided the women’s golf team to its first NCAA Championships appearance and a top-20 national finish in 1993. She then returned to her alma mater as head golf coach, and, in a two-year stint, led USC to a second-place finish at the 1994 NCAA Championships, before moving back to Eugene, Oregon, to again lead the Ducks’ women’s golf program in 1995.
The Portland, Oregon, native retired from her duties as head women’s golf coach following the 2000 season after building the Ducks into one of the nation’s premier programs. Oregon posted three top-14 finishes at the NCAA Championship in her final four seasons at the helm. In 1997, Oregon finished seventh at the NCAA Championships with Baumgartner rewarded with Pacific-10 Conference and Far West District Coach of the Year honors.
As a student-athlete, Baumgartner helped USC to third and fourth place finishes nationally in 1986 and ’87, respectively. Among her many honors are the 2006 All-American Football Foundation Senior Associate Athletics Director/SWA Award, the 1986-87 USC Scholar Athlete Award of Honor, in addition to induction in the Central Catholic High School Hall of Fame and the National Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in sports information/broadcast journalism from USC in 1987. Two years later, she completed her master’s degree requirements in interdisciplinary studies at Oregon and in 1996, was awarded a Ph.D. from the school in educational administration.
Throughout her career, Baumgartner has been active on many committees, including the NCAA Division I Academics/Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet, NCAA Men’s and Women’ Golf Committees, NCAA Amateurism Cabinet, NCAA Management Council and NCAA Legislative Review Committee. She was named to the NCAA Division I Council in August 2018 and is also on the board of directors for the San Jose Sports Authority.
She and her husband, Scott, are the parents of two daughters, Ellie and Abby.