By: Daniel Massa – Sports Editor
The University of Dayton introduced Neil Sullivan as the next vice president and director of athletics during a press conference Friday at Boesch Lounge, high above the court at UD Arena.
Sullivan, 35, will become the youngest current athletic director in the Atlantic 10 Conference and the second youngest in UD history, only older than UD Athletics Hall of Famer Tom Frericks.
Sullivan has worked in the university’s athletic department since 2006, and most recently served as the deputy director of athletics under outgoing director Tim Wabler, who announced his retirement in July. His main duties the last few years have focused on helping the men’s basketball program in many different areas, including game scheduling and resource management.
As a member of the Dayton community for nine years, Sullivan knows the important role the student body plays in UD athletics.
“It’s the students’ program,” Sullivan said. “It’s a college campus, and that’s why we’re here. It’s really important for me that the students feel engaged and part of the program. The students are very important to us now, and they’ll be important to us in the future.”
Dayton Flyers athletic programs have experienced a good run of success in the last few years, most recently with four teams (men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and women’s soccer) qualifying for the NCAA Tournament last year.
“I’m confident that we’re on a good path,” Sullivan said. “I look at it as an opportunity to add to a great foundation that’s already here. I look at that, what’s been done before me, as a great sense of responsibility moving forward, but it also gives you a great starting point.”
“Our staff,” he continued, “is focused on accelerating and advancing that momentum for the future.”
Could that future be one in which the men’s basketball rivalry with Xavier, now a member of the Big East Conference, is reignited?
“We’d look forward to playing Xavier,” Sullivan said. “As leagues have changed and schedules have changed, a lot of things have to match up for that to happen. There’s certainly interest on our end of playing Xavier at some point in the future.”
That question, and many others, will surely be on Sullivan’s brain as he transitions into his new position. But he said one thing will always be constant.
“That’s always been my focus: [to] do what’s right for the University of Dayton,” Sullivan said. “[To] do what’s right for the people that work here, the students here [and] the community.”
Photo of Neil Sullivan at Friday’s press conference by Multimedia Editor Chris Santucci.