WESTLAKE, Ohio - Jim Paquette, assistant vice president and director of athletics at Loyola University Maryland, has been named a I-AAA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year, an honor that will be awarded at this summer's National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors (NACDA) Convention in Dallas.
Paquette, who joined Loyola's staff in the spring of 2010, will be one of four honorees in the I-AAA division, a group made up of NCAA Division I schools without football.
The program was created to honor intercollegiate directors of athletics for their commitment and administrative excellence within a campus and/or college community environment. Administrators are nominated and selected by their peers.
"I am humbled and honored to receive this award from Under Armour," Paquette said. "While it is given as an individual award, it truly represents the collective work of our talented and hard-working student-athletes, coaches, and administrators, as well as the outstanding results we have achieved over the last six years. Our future is incredibly bright, and there remains much work to be done."
Since Paquette's arrival at Loyola, the Greyhounds have appeared in 17 NCAA Tournaments and they won the school's first-ever NCAA Division I Championship, the 2012 men's lacrosse title. Loyola athletics has also increased its fundraising by more than 700 percent and seen academic gains to heights not previously reached.
"Loyola University Maryland takes great pride in helping our student-athletes succeed both in competition and in the classroom, while also becoming men and women who learn, lead, and serve," said Susan M. Donovan, Ph.D., executive vice president of Loyola. "Under Jim's leadership, our athletic programs are making tremendous stride, and we look forward to continued success."
Loyola also transitioned to the Patriot League prior to the 2013-2014, a move that emphasized the conference and school's shared values of developing student-athletes academically, athletically and spiritually.
Record fundraising for athletics has been highlighted by the department receiving $4.2 million in commitments during the 2013-2014 academic year. Through contributions to athletics, Loyola has opened and dedicated the McClure Tennis Center at Ridley Athletic Complex, an eight-court, lighted facility that was made possible thanks to a gift.
A $1 million gift enabled the University to install four video boards and LED courtside signage in Reitz Arena for Greyhounds basketball and volleyball. Fundraising for athletics has seen a substantial uptick in unrestricted gifts to athletics and an increase in endowed athletics scholarships by 1,600 percent.
The cumulative grade-point average of Loyola student-athletes has risen from 3.115 in 2010 to 3.319 after the fall 2015 semester, a new record for the Greyhounds. The number of student-athletes on the Loyola Dean's List has risen by more than 20 percent in that same time span. Loyola has finished in the top-25 of NCAA Graduation Success Rate reports in all 11 years of the measure, and it posted a 97 percent graduation rate during the last cohort.
The athletic department launched the Loyola Leadership Academy in partnership with the Janssen Sports Leadership Center during the 2013-2014 academic year. The Academy aids in the development and support of Loyola student-athletes and coaches in their quests to become top-flight leaders in athletics, academics and life.
In 2012, Loyola signed an agreement with Under Armour to become the Official Outfitter of Loyola Athletics, a multi-year agreement that was the first of its kind at the University.
Loyola inducted its first Athletics Hall of Fame class in 2014 after a 10-year hiatus, and the athletic department unveiled a Hall of Fame display area at the entrance to Reitz Arena.
An athletic administrator for more than two decades, Paquette is a 1992 graduate of Providence College where he received his bachelor of arts. He later completed his master's degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts.
Prior to joining the Loyola community, Paquette had a 16-year stint at Boston College on the athletics leadership team. He was the Eagles' associate athletics director from 2002 until his arrival at Loyola. In Chestnut Hill, Paquette led a development team that secured more than $200 million in commitments to support Boston College.
The Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year awards will be presented at this year's NACDA convention in Dallas on June 15.