George Washington Director of Athletics Patrick Nero Named a 2016-17 Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year
Accolade reflects broad-based success in competition, the classroom and the community of approximately 500 student-athletes
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics announced today that Patrick Nero is a 2017 recipient of the Under Armour AD of the Year award. The honor comes after GW teams won eight championships in seven sports since the start of the 2015-16 academic year, while student-athletes recorded their fourth-consecutive semester with a department-wide GPA greater than 3.15 in the fall. Additionally, after claiming the NCAA Team Works Division I Championship by performing more hours of community service than any school nationwide in 2015-16, GW is currently back at the top of the nationwide competition again this year.
"I view this as a departmental award," said Nero. "All of the hard work by our student-athletes, coaches and staff has resulted in this achievement. Our successes also would not be possible without the tremendous support we receive from our Athletics Advisory Council and student-athlete alumni."
Results both in and out of competition are at unprecedented levels within GW Athletics under Nero's leadership, as more than 22% of GW student-athlete alumni have made a financial gift to support the department in the 2017 fiscal year, more than double the national alumni giving rate. After seeing the Buff & Blue Fund, which was created under Nero, garner a record 1,800 donors last year, GW Development is on pace to top 2,000 donors to Athletics this year with more than $3 million raised. By comparison, in the year prior to Nero's arrival, Athletics saw 1,427 donors yield a total attainment of just over $500,000, resulting in a six-year increase of 40 percent to the donor base and 500 percent in attainment.
"Patrick Nero has transformed George Washington Athletics, providing leadership that has made GW a perennial conference champion," stated Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. "As the past Chair of the A-10 Athletic Directors committee, Patrick has also been a valuable leader at the national and conference level. This is a well-deserved honor and I congratulate him for earning this recognition."
While prioritizing student-athlete health, well-being and success, with two more student-athletes achieving All-American status in 2016-17 (15 since 2014-15), coaches have also been the beneficiary of Nero's vision. Last month a GW head coach earned conference Coach of the Year honors for the 16th time in his tenure at George Washington.
"Since Patrick's arrival, our ability as coaches to maximize the opportunities both in an out of competition for our student-athletes has skyrocketed," said GW Gymnastics Head Coach Margie Foster-Cunningham. "Gymnastics is one of a number of sports at GW that has become one of the most desirable and successful programs in the country on account of Patrick's acumen in supporting, leading and encouraging all of us to be our best every day."
The fostering of relationships with alumni and student-athletes has allowed for the student-athlete experience to be augmented in numerous ways. A one-on-one mentorship program has been paramount in assisting GW student-athletes with career planning. Additionally, the stewardship of donors has resulted in critical financing to fund an overhaul of GW Athletics facilities, the creation of a Leadership Academy for student-athletes, and mental health programming to best support the whole student-athlete.
"What Patrick has done at GW is remarkable," said Michelle Rubin, Chair of the GW Athletics Advisory Council. "He identified that all former student-athletes and students should have a lifelong affinity for their alma mater. By engaging with the past, present and future of the university, he has positioned GW Athletics among the top broad-based departments in the country."
GW has simultaneously been able to reach new heights athletically while also recruiting and retaining elite students every year. The freshman class of student-athletes at the university came with a high school GPA just shy of 3.7 on average, placing GW Athletics in the 94th percentile nationally.
"This is an honor for Patrick, and a reflection of the abilities and success of our student-athletes," noted GW Provost Forrest Maltzman.
Originally hired in the summer of 2011, Nero signed a contract extension in 2015 that runs through 2021.
He will be officially honored on Tuesday, June 13 at NACDA's 52nd Annual Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida.