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Wisconsin-Green Bay AD Mary Ellen Gillespie Set To Take Same Role At Hartford

Mary Ellen Gillespie, the Wisconsin-Green Bay athletic director since 2013, is set to become the next athletic director at the University of Hartford.

She will be formally introduced at an 11 a.m. press conference at the school Wednesday.

"I am honored to be joining the Hawks family," Gillespie said in a statement. "The University of Hartford's values and tradition of excellence in both academics and athletics make this a tremendous opportunity."

Gillespie replaces Anton Goff, who left for St. John's at the beginning of the year to take the AD job after serving two years at the West Hartford school. John Carson led the department on an interim basis since December.

At Green Bay, Gillespie was credited with improving the culture of the Phoenix's athletics program, bringing in eight new head coaches and six new senior staff members, including Linc Darner to lead the men's basketball program.

And under Gillespie's leadership the athletics department saw an increase in revenue. Gillespie led a campaign to raise $4 million for upgrades to the outdoor soccer facility, and there was a 40 percent increase in annual giving during her tenure. A restructuring in UW-GB's Student-Athlete Academic Services area led to a record-high student-athlete GPA of 3.30 and a graduation success rate of 96 percent. 

Gillespie, also a member of the women's Division I basketball committee, begins her new job July 10.

"It is a sign of the stature of the University of Hartford and of Hawks athletics that someone of Mary Ellen Gillespie's caliber has chosen to become our next director of athletics," said incoming UHart President Greg Woodward, who will take over for the retiring Walt Harrison June 30, in a statement. "Her background in various areas of higher education leadership, including several years in senior-level Division I athletics administration, brings us a nationally recognized expert to lead athletics to the next level of success and visibility. Mary Ellen's insistence on student success and achieving the right balance of academic and athletic life for our student-athletes is a wonderful philosophy for our institution, and perfectly complements my own stance on the value and goals of a university athletics program."

Gillespie comes in on the heels of notable accomplishments in Hartford's athletic department under Goff, including changing the athletic logo to securing a contract with Under Armour, getting the women's lacrosse program going, and creating the Hawk Nation Club, which now encompasses all fundraising efforts. He also oversaw the fundraising for the new men's basketball locker room, which was redone during the 2014-15 season. A new student athlete development center has been opened. He also hired women's basketball coach Kim McNeill, who did an outstanding job in her first season.

"This is a distinctive time in the university's history," Gillespie adds, "and I am committed to building on its excellence by leading Hartford athletics with integrity and passion."

Gillespie went to Green Bay after seven years at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where she ascended to the title of Associate Athletics Director for External Relations and before that was the director of development for Purdue University's Schools of Nursing and Health Sciences. Gillespie has a bachelor's degree in speech communication and a master's in counseling-student affairs practice from SUNY-Plattsburgh. She also has a certificate in fundraising management from the Indiana University Fund Raising School.

 

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