June 30, 2006
Mario Moccia named athletics director at SIUC
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale today named Mario L. Moccia, senior associate athletics director at the University of Missouri, athletics director effective Aug. 1.
SIUC Chancellor Walter V. Wendler said Moccia, 38, was the unanimous choice of the nine-member search committee. "We are very pleased today to welcome Mario to our campus to carry on the traditions of Saluki Athletics that flourished under the direction of our former AD, Paul Kowalczyk," Wendler said. "I know he has the energy, enthusiasm and ability to take athletics at Southern to the next level."
Moccia and his wife, Heidi, greeted fans, students, alumni, staff and donors at a news conference Friday at the SIUC Student Center following lunch with his future staff.
"I'm unbelievably excited," Moccia said. "Everyone I've talked to, including Paul Kowalczyk and Jim Livengood, has had wonderful things to say about the University and Carbondale.
"Southern Illinois has been one of the top contenders in both I-A and I-AA conferences with basketball and football and there is room for those and other programs to grow. I'm also excited about playing a major role in Saluki Way."
Wendler said the committee had "absolute confidence" that it picked the best candidate from a pool of more than 40 applicants. "Our pool of finalists was very diverse and the search committee worked diligently to make sure we considered every possible vantage point in coming to our conclusion."
Moccia said he expects to spend his first months on the job learning more about the University and the athletics programs and staff. "I will immerse myself so I can get a feel for individuals and programs," he said. "I am also looking forward to meeting as many alumni, fans, donors and students as early as possible."
Also on hand for the announcement were Missouri Valley Conference Commissioner Doug Elgin, SIU Board of Trustees Chair Roger Tedrick, and SIU President Glenn Poshard.
Moccia has been at Mizzou since December 1998.
His responsibilities there included external operations and overseeing 40 full-time employees. He was associate athletics director at Texas State University in San Marcos from 1997 to 1998 and was director of sales and assistant director of the Lobo Club for the athletics department at the University of New Mexico from 1993 to 1997.
Moccia holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from New Mexico State University (1989), where he was the Most Valuable Player of the Aggie baseball team in 1988 and 1989. As a senior, he was a preseason All-American and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers.
He spent two years playing professional baseball before beginning his sports administration career. In 1998, he was named to the New Mexico State University Athletics Hall of Fame.
He holds a master's degree in sports administration from the University of New Mexico (1993).
Moccia is a member of the board of directors for the Columbia Boys and Girls Clubs and is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
Kowalczyk is now athletics director at Colorado State University.
Search committee members were: Harold Bardo, associate professor, SIU School of Medicine medical education preparatory program; Kerri Blaylock, softball coach, Intercollegiate Athletics; Nate Brown, president, Undergraduate Student Government; Greg Cook, community member; Sheri Hunter, president, SIU Alumni Association; Kathy Jones, interim director, Intercollegiate Athletics; Rickey McCurry, vice chancellor, Institutional Advancement; Julie McDannel, administrative assistant II, Office of the Chancellor, and Wendler.
(To view video from today's news conference, go here: http://neptune.siu.edu:8080/ramgen/MCR/AthleticDirectorNewsConference.rm)