WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Westfield State University Director of Athletics Richard Lenfest has been named as an Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the organization announced Monday.
The award spans seven divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS, Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community Colleges). Winners will receive their awards during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 29 at NACDA's 53rd Annual Convention at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
The ADOY Award highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities.
Lenfest was chosen as a NCAA Division III recipient, and will be joined on stage by other notable winners such as Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez, Oklahoma's Joe Castiglione, Texas Tech's Kirby Hocutt and Yale's Thomas Beckett.
Longtime Norwich University athletic director Tony Mariano is the only other Division III recipient from New England.
Richard (Dick) Lenfest, Jr. began his tenure athletic director at Westfield State University in 2005, and in his first 12 years at the helm of the program, Owls athletics has been recognized seven times as the Howard C. Smith Cup winner, representative of the best overall athletics program in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Owls won the Smith Cup in 2015, '16 and '17, the first three-year sweep in school history.
Since the start of the 2016-17 academic year, the Owls athletics program has seen its women's basketball, women's soccer and women's lacrosse teams qualify for NCAA Tournament play, sent All-American cross country runner Jessie Cardin to the NCAA Cross Country championships, and qualified multiple athletes for NCAA track and field championship events, with hurdler Sabrina Pray earning All-America honors last spring.
"I'm really proud of our coaches, administrators and staff, as well as all of our student athletes," said Lenfest. "Ultimately this is an award to our institution and our entire department, as we try to run a model Division III athletics program, provide our student-athletes with a chance to compete and win at the highest levels, and produce good students and good citizens in the community."
Lenfest is a native of Lee, Mass., who now resides in Westfield. He worked in professional baseball and served as an assistant athletics director at American International College before taking the helm of the Owls athletic program in the summer of 2005.
Lenfest comes from an athletics lineage, as his father, Dick Lenfest, Sr. was a longtime coach and athletic director in the Lee schools.
Beyond the playing fields, the Owls student athletes maintain an outstanding academic performance, perennially leading the MASCAC in the number of student-athletes on the league's All-Academic teams, and Westfield athletes contribute more than 2,500 hours annually to community service, including the Special Olympics flag football tournament that is hosted at Alumni Field, and the Secret Santa program that delivers Christmas presents to disadvantaged children in Westfield Elementary schools.
The Owls have also initiated a leadership development program for their student-athletes, and the baseball and softball teams played on improved stadiums in 2017 thanks to fundraising success.
Under Armour is now in its 10th year of sponsoring the award and over 220 different athletics directors have been honored with the award during that time.
"The Athletics Director of the Year Award honors those men and women who are visionary leaders in college athletics," said Walker Jones, Under Armour senior director of global sports marketing. "Under Armour is proud to partner with NACDA to facilitate this recognition for the top athletics directors across all divisions."
Release courtesy of Westfield State Sports Information