PUC names new athletic director
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 22:10
PUC’s search for a new athletic director ended with the university scoring a hire from the top tier of college athletics.
Rick Costello was selected as the permanent athletic director. He replaces John Friend, who has served as interim athletic director during the search.
Costello is a veteran of the NCAA, having worked as an administrator in several Division 1 programs. His most recent job was the head of athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where the program saw an 82 percent athlete graduation rate and a huge haul in fundraising on his watch.
A figure from the highest level of college athletics is a major pickup for PUC, whose teams play in the NAIA. Costello could not be reached for comment, but according to PUC Chancellor Thomas Keon, what attracted him to PUC was the opportunity to build a program.
“He learned about us and what we wanted to do and saw an opportunity to come some place and shape it himself,” Keon said. “He has the opportunity to really create something.”
The administration sees Costello as an asset that will help the school achieve its goal of moving to the NCAA, possibly in Division II. However, such a move is still a few years away, as PUC has some requirements to fill to join the NCAA. Among those requirements are at least 10 sports, sports in every season (PUC currently has fall and winter sports, but none in spring) and full facilities for all sports.
One of the immediate priorities for Costello will be finding and hiring baseball and softball coaches for the 2013-2014 school year, which would fulfill the spring sports requirement. Another big job is the raising of funds for the Dowling Park project, where the school plans to build full facilities for its newer sports.
The fundraising experience Costello brings was one thing that appealed to the administration.
“We’re very confident he’ll help us achieve our goals, even with our big goals,” Keon said. “And he should bring some [fundraising] ideas of his own.”
Costello officially assumes the position of athletic director on Sept. 7.