Edwards to Retire

By Emily Burner, Director of Media Relations

WINCHESTER, Va. – Wayne Edwards, director of athletics at Shenandoah University, has announced his retirement, effective May 31. Dr. Edwards, who came out of early retirement to lead the Shenandoah University Department of Athletics in January 2010, has served the university well in his nearly two and a half years with the department.

“I greatly appreciate the opportunity Shenandoah University has given me to extend my career within intercollegiate athletics,” said Edwards. “When I arrived here, President Tracy Fitzsimmons provided me with a set of measurable goals that she had for the Department of Athletics. I am pleased that, with her strong support, leadership and guidance, we have been successful in accomplishing many of these goals much sooner than either of us anticipated.”

President Fitzsimmons said, “The experience and direction that Wayne Edwards has brought to this position is invaluable, and his devotion to the athletics staff and student-athletes will leave a lasting imprint on the department as a whole. Wayne Edwards has taken the Department of Athletics to a new level of professionalism, character and notability. His commitment to quality shines through the initiatives he put in place during his time at Shenandoah University, and his contributions have added to the strong foundation of athletics at our institution.”

Under Edwards’ leadership, the Hornets secured admission into the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), one of the most respected Division III athletic conferences in the nation. Member schools in the ODAC consist principally of Virginia institutions, and this affiliation will enhance the visibility of the athletics program and university within the Shenandoah Valley,  throughout Virginia and surrounding region.

Edwards was also instrumental in developing internal administrative policies to improve efficiency while reducing costs. During his tenure, the department implemented a drug-testing program, which was recommended by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and a merchandise-licensing program. Edwards also brought in several new coaches who fit well into the Shenandoah community while improving the success level of those programs almost immediately.

During Edwards' tenure, the baseball, softball, women's cross country and women's soccer teams all won conference titles. For softball and women's soccer, those programs advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the first time in school history.

“As President Fitzsimmons advances the campus’ plans for the construction of a new athletics arena, I believe it important for the university to have a Director of Athletics who can commit to the long-range fundraising which this project will require. I will watch with enthusiasm the progress of this project, confident that it will build well on many of the things that have previously been established. Dr. Fitzsimmons is a tremendous president, and I feel fortunate to have served as a member of her administrative staff,” said Edwards.

He also noted rewarding relationships as a highlight of his time at the university. “I have enjoyed my associations and friendships with Shenandoah University's coaches, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of our program, as well as the business community that has provided ongoing financial support for SU Athletics. I will most certainly miss our student-athletes, who demonstrate daily that one can simultaneously be both a quality student and an athlete.”

“The future for Shenandoah athletics is extremely exciting and holds promise for great success. I am grateful to have assumed a small role in its development, and look forward to watching the growth and advancement of both Shenandoah University and Shenandoah University Athletics in the future.”

A graduate of Wake Forest University, Edwards earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Ed.D. from the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He previously served as director of athletics at Towson University for 11 years and at the University of Massachusetts Lowell for eight years. Previously, he served as associate director of athletics at Yale University and held teaching and administrative positions at East Carolina University and Appalachian State University. Edwards has also served as Sports Committee Chairman for the Camden Yards Sports and Entertainment Commission and the director of the Intercollegiate Athletics Program Group for Mellenbrook Policy Advisors.

A national search for Dr. Edwards’ successor will begin immediately, with the expectation of a new Director of Athletics being appointed by August 1.

Shenandoah University is the private, nationally recognized applied liberal arts institution, located in Winchester, Va., with an enrollment of more than 3,600 students. Shenandoah’s close-knit community is rich in creative energy and intellectual challenge. Shenandoah empowers its students to help the human condition and to be principled professionals and leaders wherever they go. The Shenandoah University Athletics Department is comprised of 20 intercollegiate athletics teams with more than 450 student-athletes and 70 full- and part time-employees. As of July 1, 2012, all Shenandoah University athletic programs will compete in the ODAC.

For more information, please contact Emily Burner at 540.335.5778 or Scott Musa at 540.533.5406.