David Roach, Longtime Member of the Swimming Community, Is Named New Colgate Director of Athletics

HAMILTON, NY, June 27. COLGATE University President Rebecca Chopp today announced the appointment of David Roach as the university’s director of athletics, effective in July. Currently athletic director at Brown University, Roach will oversee Colgate’s division of physical education, recreation and athletics, which provides for all aspects of the university’s program in physical education, recreation, and competitive athletics from intramural and club sports to varsity competition on 25 men’s and women’s Division I teams.

Roach has been a long time member of the swimming community, as athlete, coach and administrator, before sharing his skill and passion with other sports such as rowing, football, basketball and field hockey. He has become a true sporting Renaissance man.

“David Roach comes to us with a deep understanding of the opportunities and issues in college and university athletics today,” said Chopp. “With his years of experience in the Ivy League – the most frequent crossover opponents for Patriot League teams – he is familiar with our athletic philosophy and heritage.

David Roach was athletic director at Brown University for 14 years. (Submitted photo)
“As a leader who has been dealing with intercollegiate athletics nationally he understands how Colgate, with its emphasis on balancing excellence in academics and athletics, can be a national model of a liberal arts university.” Roach, 54, becomes the eighth director of athletics in Colgate’s history. His predecessor, Mark Murphy, resigned in the spring of 2003 after 11 years to become director of athletics at Northwestern University. Colgate’s director of athletics reports to the provost and dean of the faculty. Lyle Roelofs, who will become provost and dean of the faculty July 1, said: "I am very much looking forward to working with David on the exciting new opportunities in athletics afforded by Colgate's strategic plan. David brings experience and leadership in the realm of athletics in academically selective institutions that will be crucial in making the most of these opportunities.”

Chase Carey heads the athletics committee of Colgate’s Board of Trustees. “David Roach joins Colgate at a wonderful moment in our athletic history,” said Carey. “At the university level we have just approved a strategic plan that reaffirms the importance of athletics within the larger scope of all we do. “In intercollegiate athletics we are concluding a year in which five of our men’s and women’s teams won conference championships, and six coaches were recognized as conference coaches of the year. Club sports have never been stronger, and the vast majority of our students are engaged in some sort of recreational, fitness, or competitive athletics.”

A native of Waterbury, Conn., Roach graduated from Springfield College in 1971, and has a master’s of science degree in physical education from Springfield (1972). He was named the athletic director at Brown University in 1990. He has been responsible for revitalizing the Brown athletic program, overseeing the resurgence of its athletic teams while balancing the budget and launching an ambitious marketing, promotional and community involvement campaign. During Roach’s tenure as athletic director, Brown teams captured 62 Ivy League or Eastern championships, made 36 NCAA tournament appearances and won eight national championships, including Brown’s first four NCAA championships. In 2002, Brown’s athletic program was honored by US News & World Report as one of the Top 20 athletic programs in the nation. Brown’s athletic department also was honored in 1999-2000 by the Rhode Island Sports Council as Rhode Island’s Outstanding Sports Organization for contributions to, and support of, Rhode Island sports tradition. He had responsibility for hiring and supervising more than 100 athletic department employees, including coaches of 37 varsity and several club sports teams with more than 900 student-athletes. Roach created Brown’s first student-athletic advisory board, and implemented a sports marketing and promotions program that includes a new athletic logo and corporate sponsorship program.

Roach returned to Brown, where he spent eight years (1978-86) as the women’s swim coach, after a successful coaching stint at the University of Tennessee, where his women’s swimming teams won 85 percent of their meets in his four years (1986-90). During his tenure at Tennessee, the program improved from 39th to 4th at the NCAA Division I Championship. In eight years at the helm of the Brown women’s swim program, Roach took the Bears into the national spotlight. Inheriting the last place team in the Ivy League prior to his arrival, Roach guided Brown to conference championships in 1983, 1984 and 1985. During his tenure in Providence, Roach’s teams amassed a record of 74-6-1 and, in 1985 and 1986, Brown won the 31-team Eastern Championship under his direction.

In 1988, he was inducted into the Rhode Island Aquatic Hall of Fame, and in 1989 he was inducted into the Brown University Hall of Fame. In 1985, he was named coach of the United States national swimming team in the World University Games in Kobe, Japan. Roach was a member of the Springfield College men’s varsity swim team that was New England Conference champion three consecutive years. He was the team’s co-captain in 1971 and an assistant coach in 1972. After graduation, he served for three years in the United States Marine Corps before becoming the head coach at the New Mexico Aquatic Club in Las Cruces, N.M., and for the New Mexico State University men’s water polo team.

Roach is a former member of the Springfield College Corporation and Springfield Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He is a former president of the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges and is a former member of the ECAC Award of Valor Committee. He was the chairman of the Ivy League Committee on Administration in 1991-1992 and 1999-2000, and has served as the liaison for the Ivy League football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and field hockey coaches during his tenure. In addition, Roach has served on the executive committees for EIWA wrestling and ECAC ice hockey. A member of the NCAA Championship Competition Cabinet for five years (1997-2002), Roach is currently the chair of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Committee. He is the former president of the I-AA Athletic Directors Association (2001-2002) and the former chair of I-AA AD’s Academic All-Star Team Selection Committee. In 1999, he received the Gen. Robert Neyland Award from the All-America Football Foundation.

He also is deeply involved in the community, having served on the board of directors of the Rhode Island Special Olympics. He is also on the Executive Committee of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Sports Development Council.

He and his wife, Anne, are the parents of three daughters: Elizabeth, Michelle and Alexandra.

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