SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Patrick G. Lyons, has been named Director of Athletics and Recreational Services at Seton Hall University; it was announced today by Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban, University President, and Patrick Hobbs, Dean of the Law School.
Lyons comes to Seton Hall after spending the last seven years as Iona College's Director of Athletics and established its department as one of the top programs in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. He was the chief administrator for the Gaels' 21 NCAA Division I athletics programs.
Lyons is expected to join the Pirates full-time on March 28.
"In Patrick Lyons, Seton Hall has found an athletic director dedicated to the University's Catholic mission and to the development of our student athletes as servant leaders of the future," Esteban said. "Patrick's outstanding accomplishments throughout his career promise even greater achievements for Seton Hall's athletic department and our participation in the BIG EAST Conference."
Lyons' student-athlete centered vision was incorporated into several initiatives at Iona. Working closely with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Lyons emphasized a community service element for all of Iona's 400+ student-athletes and 21 Division I athletic programs. He has also shown a deep commitment to student-athlete development and academic standards through additional support services and facilities in both the compliance and academic services offices.
"I am absolutely delighted that Pat is joining us at Seton Hall," Hobbs said. "Pat has done a remarkable job at Iona. He's a proven leader who has brought their programs and facilities up to the major conference level. Pat helped build a tradition of winning and integrity in New Rochelle and will bring that same passion to transform Seton Hall in years to come."
Under Lyons, the Iona athletics department has seen unprecedented growth and success both on and off the fields of play. The men's cross country team continued its storied success earning a second straight national runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship in November 2008. The program has finished in the Top-10 at the national championship in each of the last nine years. Along with the University of Wisconsin, no other program has seen the same success. Iona men's cross country has won 20 straight conference championships, the second longest active streak in the NCAA. The men's and women's basketball programs have established a reputation for being one of the top programs in the MAAC. The women have enjoyed their most successful five-year stint in program history and have made three postseason appearances in the last four seasons. The men's program earned an NCAA Championship appearance in 2006, won 21 games in 2009-10 and has continued its success this year under first-year head coach Tim Cluess, ranking among the leaders in the MAAC and the New York Metropolitan Area.
Other Gael programs that have seen success under Lyons tutelage have been the women's cross country team with five straight MAAC Championships, the softball program earning its first ever bid to the NCAA Championship in 2010, the men's soccer program with a MAAC Regular Season Championship in 2009 and a MAAC finals appearance in 2010. The volleyball team reached the NCAA Championship in 2004 and returned to the MAAC finals in 2010. In addition, Iona's women's lacrosse and women's water polo programs continued to excel in 2009-10.
"I'm extremely excited for the opportunity to lead the Seton Hall University athletics department," said Patrick Lyons. "I'm looking forward to the challenge of furthering the department and helping to establish it as one of the most respected programs both in the BIG EAST and at a national level. I also look forward to building on the legacy and tradition of Seton Hall Athletics."
"I cannot thank Br. Liguori, my athletics staff, coaches, student-athletes and our alumni and supporters enough for the support they have provided me during my time at Iona," Lyons added. "I've had an incredible experience in New Rochelle since I arrived as a freshman and I'm truly grateful for everyone I have encountered along the way."
Where Lyons has truly made his mark at Iona has been in fundraising and improvements made to athletics facilities. The Iona Gaels Capital Improvements Fund was created by Lyons as the first capital fundraising effort in the department's history. Among several enhancements, the most dramatic and impressive changes were the opening of both the Hynes Athletics Center and the Judge Student-Athlete Academic Center in January of 2006. Lyons also oversaw the complete renovation of the varsity locker rooms - where each program now has its own space for the first time in school history, the addition of a video screening room for its athletic programs as well as the resurfacing of both the Hynes Center basketball/volleyball arena floor and the surface of Mazzella Field, home of the soccer and lacrosse programs. In addition, Iona created Rice Oval Softball field, the first on-campus home for the softball program.
Before elevating to his current role, Lyons was the Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs. In that role, he was responsible for all revenue generation by the athletics department with primary oversight of the department's fundraising arm - The Goal Club. This included, but was not limited to, all fundraising activities and marketing for the department including the annual golf tournament, sponsorships, and the annual fund.
Prior to that role, Lyons served as Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance. He oversaw all NCAA, MAAC, and institutional policies and regulations, as well as team scheduling, student-athlete financial aid, the student-athlete advisory committee, and payroll for all staff as well as student-workers. Lyons also coordinated the NCAA certification process, from the self study to on-campus visits.
As a coach, Lyons led the Iona golf team to its most successful four-year span. At the helm of the Gaels from 1998-02, he directed the squad to three MAAC Championships and earned a berth in the NCAA Golf Championship in each of his three full seasons.
A native of Providence, RI, Lyons was a two-sport standout in hockey and golf. One of the most prolific scorers in school history, Lyons tallied 80 goals and 90 assists during his 86-game career and led all of NCAA Division I hockey in goals per game during the 1995-96 season. He captained the golf team during his junior and senior seasons and in 1996, received the Joseph O'Connell award, given annually to Iona's most outstanding student-athlete.
In 1999, Lyons earned his master's degree in teaching from Iona and earned an MBA from the Hagan School of Business in 2004. Lyons has also served as an adjunct professor in both the Biology department at Iona and the Sports Business Management program at Manhattanville College.
Lyons has served on several committees at the national and conference level. He is a member of the NCAA Division I Championships and Sports Management Cabinet where he serves as a liaison to the men's and women's ice hockey committees. Lyons serves as the Chairman of MAAC Cross Country Committee and previously as chairman of the MAAC Committee on Athletics Administration. He also serves on the MAAC Marketing and Strategic Planning Committees.
Lyons is married to the former Rachel Cintolo, a pediatric nurse practitioner and clinical faculty at Columbia University.