Claremont, CA (April 3, 2015) – Pomona College President David Oxtoby and Pitzer College President Laura Skandera Trombley today announced that Lesley Irvine has been named Director of Pomona-Pitzer Athletics following a national search. She will also serve as Chair of the Department of Physical Education at Pomona College. Irvine will join the colleges on June 1. Pomona and Pitzer College partner to field 21 varsity teams – The Sagehens – that compete in Division III NCAA athletics and as members of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).
Her position represents a strategic shift by the colleges to move forward with a stand-alone position of chair and director, focusing on expanded management duties associated with college sports. Current athletic director and men’s basketball coach Charlie Katsiaficas has led the team to more than 400 wins and to 10 SCIAC Championships, and 11 berths in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Katsiaficas will continue to coach for Pomona-Pitzer.
Irvine will be responsible for intercollegiate athletics, Pomona College physical education activity classes, the faculty/staff fitness and wellness program, intramural/club sport and recreation programs and academic offerings. Her position carries coterminous faculty status at the level of professor.
“Lesley made a strong impression with her passion for the student athlete experience and her commitment to competitive athletics,” said Oxtoby. “She brings a solid background in management across a wide range of college sports and the support programs required to make college athletic programs successful. We are thrilled to have her join the Sagehen team.”
Pitzer College, which shares student participation, athletics funding, facilities infrastructure, training and support services with Pomona in fielding varsity athletics teams, simultaneously announced the hiring of Lesley Irvine to its worldwide community.
“Pitzer College welcomes Lesley Irvine to the exciting and growing Sagehens Athletics program,” added Laura Skandera Trombley, president of Pitzer College. “We look forward to seeing our student-athletes continue to compete at higher levels of performance on the field and in the classroom – winning SCIAC championships and maintaining the highest team GPAs in Division III. This represents a promising new era for Sagehens athletics.”
Irvine comes to Pomona and Pitzer after spending the past five years at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where she served as senior associate athletic director/senior women’s administrator. During her time at Bowling Green, Irvine has had sport supervision responsibilities for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, baseball, softball, women’s gymnastics, women’s swimming and women’s volleyball. Irvine also currently oversees the student-athlete welfare areas of sports medicine, sport performance, strength and conditioning, and student athlete academic services. In addition, Irvine oversees strategic human resources initiatives in the department and serves as a key liaison for the Admissions Office and Dean of Students Office. Irvine is also Bowling Green’s university deputy Title IX coordinator, monitoring and evaluating progress toward gender equity and minority opportunities plans.
Irvine has also been instrumental in championship hosting at Bowling Green. She served as the tournament director for the immensely successful NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament first and second rounds hosted at the Stroh Center in 2012, as well as oversaw the NCAA Division I Ice Hockey Regional co-hosted by the Huntington Center.
A current member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) and the Alliance of Women’s Coaches (AWC), Irvine represents Bowling Green on the Midwest Athletic Conference Senior Administrator committee. She has presented on hiring practices at recent NACWAA conferences and the NCAA Inclusion Forum. Irvine currently serves on the AWC Board of Directors.
“I am thrilled and honored to be joining the Pomona-Pitzer family. I would like to thank President Oxtoby, President Trombley, Dean Crighton and the search committee chaired by Jill Grigsby for the opportunity to work at one of the nation’s premier higher education institutions” said Irvine. “The commitment to academic and athletic excellence as well as the student experience is remarkable. I am committed to leading the program in a way that aligns with the institution’s goals and vision, connecting with the campus community and providing the best possible experience to the student body .“
Prior to her work at Bowling Green, Irvine was the head field hockey coach at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. She guided Stanford to three straight NorPac Tournament championships over her final three seasons, and her recruiting efforts paid dividends in the form of All-America talent. During her head coaching tenure at Stanford, Irvine mentored three Under-21 National Team participants, seven Regional All-Americans, seven NorPac Rookie of the Year honorees, 37 all-conference team choices, 23 all-conference tournament selections and 80 NFHCA Academic All-Americans. Stanford teams excelled in the classroom under Irvine’s leadership, winning the 2003 NFHCA Division I National Academic Team Award, placing second in 2004 and taking fifth in 2005.
Irvine’s first collegiate coaching job at the University of Iowa followed one season as a player for its team, the Hawkeyes. In this season, played while a graduate student in 1999, she led Iowa to a Final Four appearance and Big Ten championship. She was named to the Final Four and Big Ten All-Tournament squads, while also earning Second Team Regional All-American, regular season All-Big Ten and Academic All-American honors.
Irvine received her master’s degree in health, leisure and sports studies from University of Iowa in 2001. The England native played three years of field hockey for Loughborough University in her home country, graduating from the school in 1998 with a degree in physical education, sports science and recreational management. While at Loughborough, Irvine won a total of five national field hockey championships (three outdoor, two indoor) and was named to the British Universities All-Star squad.