Rick Mazzuto Named New Cal State Northridge Athletic Director

Rick Mazzuto Named New Cal State Northridge Athletic Director

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - California State University, Northridge officials announced today the hiring of Rick Mazzuto, a veteran administrator with 20 years experience leading NCAA Division I athletics, as the new athletic director for the Matadors' 20-team intercollegiate program. He is expected to start the new position in early September.

Northridge President Jolene Koester and Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance James Sullivan introduced Mazzuto at a mid-afternoon campus gathering. Mazzuto will be responsible for Northridge's NCAA Division I-AAA athletic program that includes a nearly $7 million budget and about 400 student-athletes in nine men's and 11 women's teams.

"We conducted a very aggressive nationwide search and looked at many exceptional candidates," President Koester said. "In the end, we concluded Rick Mazzuto has the best blend of expertise in athletic facilities development, building community support, fundraising and other areas to spur our athletic program to even greater levels of success."

Mazzuto said he is excited to join the Cal State Northridge community. "It became clear to me during the interview process that President Koester and the university's leadership team are very committed to an academic and athletic standard of excellence for this program," he said. "I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve as Northridge's athletic director. I think we have a great opportunity to move the program forward in the coming years."

Mazzuto comes to Northridge from Longwood University in Virginia, where he has served as athletic director since 2002 and has led the NCAA Division II public school's planned transition to a Division I program. Mazzuto served as an NCAA Division I athletic director from 1989 to 2000 at Saint Mary's College of California, and from 1980 to 1989 at Iona College in New York.

President Koester said a top priority for Mazzuto and the university will be to continue work on implementing the recommendations of CSUN's Blue Ribbon Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics that were issued in March. The commission concluded Northridge can become a center for spectator sports in the San Fernando Valley region by forging stronger ties with the campus and surrounding community.

Mazzuto was selected from among three finalists for the position who emerged from a nationwide search that began in early 2006. The other finalists were Janet Lucas, Northridge's senior associate athletic director/senior woman administrator who has been serving as interim athletic director, and William Weidner, the deputy athletic director at the University of Central Florida.

President Koester thanked Lucas for her leadership of the Athletic Department during the past year, since former Athletic Director Dick Dull stepped down in July 2005 after six years in the position. "Janet Lucas provided steady and capable leadership for the university's athletic program during a critical time, and we very much look forward to her continued contributions," the president said.

During the recent 2005-2006 season, Northridge athletics won Big West Conference championships in men's soccer and women's outdoor track and field. The program had three teams end their seasons with Top 20 national rankings: men's volleyball (8th), men's soccer (13th), and women's water polo (18th). The men's soccer team also qualified for the first time for the NCAA's "Sweet 16" national championship.

In recent years, Mazzuto headed a Longwood University athletic program with 14 sports and a $4 million budget. At Saint Mary's, he oversaw a 16-sport athletic program with a $5 million budget, while Iona College had a 20-sport program. Mazzuto earned his bachelor and master's degrees in political science from Trinity College in Connecticut. He is married to the former Janet Johnstone.

Located in the suburban San Fernando Valley, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, Cal State Northridge is a comprehensive university with nine colleges that offer 62 undergraduate degrees, 50 graduate degrees, and 28 teaching credential programs. The university has about 3,900 faculty and staff, and 33,000 students who reflect the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of the region.


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