Big Easy Does It

June 26, 2006

I spent much of last week in New Orleans attending the NACDA convention, one of the first major conventions in the Big Easy since Hurricane Katrina. The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics sponsors this annual gathering for collegiate athletic professionals to provide education, recognition, and access to the latest vendor products and services.

This year's convention, held one block from the French Quarter, took on added significance for the Hoya contingent as Athletic Director Emeritus Frank Rienzo was inducted into the NACDA Hall of Fame. Earlier FXR milestones in the Crescent City included Georgetown's 1982 Final Four run and the presentation to Frank in 1987 of the Patrick Healy Award, the highest honor given to a non-alum by the Georgetown Alumni Association. The induction program highlighted Frank's career as follows:

Frank was recognized in front of his table of friends and family

Frank Rienzo, Georgetown University
Frank Rienzo came to Georgetown University in 1969 to revitalize the moribund track and field program and, 30 years later, retired as one of the university's most successful athletics directors. Rienzo spearheaded the planning and construction of the $7.9 million student recreational facility and initiated the most successful licensing program in the country in 1984. He increased the athletics program to 25 teams, each with full-time coaches. Georgetown's teams produced more than 250 All-Americans. He was president of IC4A and was a member of the NCAA Track and Field, NCAA Cost Reduction and NCAA Federation by Sport committees. Rienzo was on the forefront of the formation of the Big East Conference, serving as chair of the Executive Committee for nine of the conference's first 13 years. Georgetown earned the Big East Commissioner's Trophy five times during his tenure. Rienzo was the NACDA/NIT Athletics Director of the Year in 1998; received Georgetown's Patrick Healy Award in 1988; and the Georgetown Vicennial Medal for 20 years of service to the university in 1989. He was also awarded the ECAC Distinguished Service Award. Prior to his tenure at Georgetown, Rienzo was a teacher of English, Latin and religion and was also a highly successful track coach at Archbishop Molloy High School in NYC from 1957-69.

Frank was joined in New Orleans by children Francis '89, Matthew '97, Teresa '90 and granddaughter Cecilia

Ted `59 and Mary Merle Laborde of the expansive Louisiana-based Georgetown clan helped celebrate with AD Emeritus Rienzo


At the very same awards luncheon, NACDA presented the various Directors' Cups for Divisions I, II, and III to those institutions whose overall athletics programs accumulated the highest point totals based upon final national rankings for each sport.

Stanford received its 12th consecutive Division I Cup and Williams captured its eighth straight Division III Cup. I became an instant big-time fan of the Williams AD, Harry Sheehy, who accepted and spoke on behalf of the Ephs. He noted that the Cup was highly treasured by his school, but it was only one measure of excellence. Of greater significance, he posited, was the measure of adherence by the department to the overall mission of the college. Acknowledging the concurrent academic and athletic #1 ranking of Williams, Harry playfully related the story of one of his basketball teams who once traveled by auto from the U.S. into Canada. Asked by the border guard if the passengers in the car were all Americans, the student-athlete who was driving answered, "No, but the two in the back seat both made all-conference last year!"

Bourbon Street on the rebound

Harry Sheehy, Williams athletic director



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Maryland
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August 25
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August 27
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Loyola Maryland
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August 27
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August 28
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September 1
4:00 PM
Cal Poly
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September 1
8:00 PM
Stanford
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September 1
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September 3
4:00 PM
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September 3
1:00 PM
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September 4
12:00 PM
UCLA
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September 8
4:00 PM
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September 8
7:00 PM
UMass-Lowell
Lowell, Mass.
September 9
TBA
Campbell
Buies Creek, N.C.
September 9
7:00 PM
UConn
Storrs, Conn.
September 10
1:00 PM
Rutgers
Shaw Field
September 10
12:00 PM
Holy Cross
Worcester, Mass.
September 15
2:00 PM
Quinnipiac
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September 16
TBA
Marist
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September 16
7:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio
September 17
1:00 PM
Towson
Baltimore, Md.
September 17
12:00 PM
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Towson, Md.
September 18
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The Memphis Intercollegiate Memphis
Colonial Country Club - Memphis, Tenn.
September 19
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Colonial Country Club - Memphis, Tenn.
September 20
4:00 PM
Stony Brook
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