WINCHESTER, Va. – Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D., announced Tuesday that Bridget Lyons, Ph.D, has been selected as the university's new director of intercollegiate athletics. She is the first woman to lead the university's athletics department in this capacity and the sixth person to hold the full-time athletics director position at Shenandoah.
As AD, she will oversee a department with 21 intercollegiate sports, nearly 500 student-athletes and 75 full- and part-time coaches and staff members.
Dr. Lyons comes to Shenandoah after serving for the past 11 years as the senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator (SWA) at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida.
Barry, an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Sunshine State Conference (SSC), has won 12 NCAA championships during Lyons' tenure at the school. The university was also honored with the NCAA Presidents' Award for Academic Excellence multiple times during Lyons' tenure.
As senior associate athletic director, Lyons was responsible for the internal operations of the department and has had direct supervision of men's and women's basketball, men's and women's golf, women's rowing, women's soccer, softball and volleyball.
Lyons currently represents the SSC on the Division II Management Council and is a member of the Division II Planning and Finance Committee.
Her NCAA experience also includes a time as chair of the Division II Committee on Infractions and on the men's soccer, men's golf, rowing, and women's tennis regional committees.
Prior to her time at Barry, Lyons was employed at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) for 10 years. After serving as director of student-athlete advising for seven years, she was promoted to assistant athletic director for student services in May of 2003.
Her VCU duties included serving as SWA and overseeing the compliance office, life skills program and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Lyons has also worked in academic advising and student support at both Providence College in Rhode Island, and the University of New Hampshire.
Her coaching experience includes three years as an assistant field hockey coach at VCU, where she earned her Ph.D in education in 2004.
A 1983 St. Michael's (Vermont) graduate, the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, native played field hockey, lacrosse and basketball as a collegiate student-athlete.
"We had more than 170 applicants for the job and Bridget rose above a very strong field that included a number of sitting athletic directors," Dr. Fitzsimmons said.
"We wanted a person who is committed to the Division III model, and Bridget epitomizes that ideal of athletics, academics and community service.
"We are excited to welcome her to the Shenandoah Valley and to the Winchester/Frederick County community."
That original pool of 170 applicants was first pared down to 31, from which 12 were seriously considered and seven offered phone interviews. Three finalists were invited to campus in October.
Lyons also gives back to her profession, serving as the co-chair of the 2017 World Congress of the International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women.
"I am grateful to President Fitzsimmons for this opportunity," Lyons said. "I was attracted to Shenandoah because of the university's dynamic leadership under her direction, and I can't wait to get started working with a dedicated group of coaches, staff and student-athletes.
"The opening of the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center makes this a very exciting time to be at Shenandoah University, and I look forward to building upon the strong athletics and academics traditions already in place."
Lyons is scheduled to begin her full-time duties on Monday, Jan. 15.