A nationally recognized administrator with extensive leadership and management skills who previously served as the interim athletics director at two different California public universities will be the new head of University of the Pacific's Athletics Department.
Janet Lucas, UC Riverside's executive associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator, joins other strong women leaders at Pacific, including President Pamela A. Eibeck and Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Maria Pallavicini. Lucas will begin her new post on May 7.
"Janet will be a great asset to Pacific," Eibeck said. "She has very strong leadership skills and a solid background in fiscal management. Her more than 35 years as a collegiate athletics leader, including being the No. 2 person at UC Riverside's athletics department and stints as interim athletics director, will serve Pacific well. "
Lucas was selected after a national search that narrowed the field to a pool of two other women and one man. The search committee included a cross section from the Pacific community, including faculty, staff, students and community representation, and open campus forums were held during the comprehensive vetting process.
"The search committee is very pleased with the outcome of our efforts to find the very best person to move Pacific Athletics into a strong, stable future," said Louise Stark, the Faculty Athletics Representative who led the search. "I believe we found the right person for Pacific who will be a strong leader and ardent champion of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and Pacific supporters."
Lucas is ready to help student-athletes succeed in the classroom and beyond.
"I am extremely honored to be joining this great university," Lucas said. "The opportunity to lead this program in the pursuit of excellence with integrity and building champions in the classroom, in competition and in the community is truly a privilege."
She said she was inspired by the university leadership and the quality of the student-athletes, coaches and staff.
"This is a special place and I am excited to begin engaging with the campus and community as we work together to shape the future," she said.
Joining UC Riverside in November 2006, Lucas' current duties include serving as the department's second in command and providing leadership and management of the university's 17-sport program. Her responsibilities have included overseeing the day-to-day operations, supervising academic services, business operations, compliance, event management and sports medicine. She managed the athletic scholarship program and at times supervised external areas such as marketing, fundraising and media relations. She also served on various Big West committees and the NCAA Division I Leadership Council and the Legislative Review and Interpretations Committee. She was named the 2015 Administrator of the Year for NCAA Division I by National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, now the Women Leaders in College Sport. She served as the interim athletics director at UC Riverside and also at her previous position at California State University, Northridge.
She held similar duties at CSU Northridge, where she worked from June 2004 to 2006. Her accomplishments included adding a $1 million office building for athletics staff and coaches, stabilizing the department's finances, and rebuilding the institution's compliance program.
Prior to CSU Northridge, Lucas spent 15 years at James Madison University in Virginia, rising to the position of senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator. She was also an athletics department administrator at University of Maine in Orono.
Pacific rejoined the West Coast Conference during the 2013-14 season, a move that allowed the university to directly compete against nine other private nonprofit universities on the West Coast, including Gonzaga, Brigham Young and Santa Clara. Pacific has 18 NCAA Division I sports, including 13 in the WCC. The move also required adding sports, such as the men's soccer team, and upgrading athletic facilities, largely through donor support, which has allowed Pacific Athletics to recruit and train student-athletes to succeed in the WCC.
Tigers have recorded successes the past five years or so. The men's water polo team was ranked No. 1 in the nation for four weeks in 2013 and advanced to the NCAA National Championship game. One member of that team twice won the Peter J. Cutino Award for the best collegiate water polo player in the nation and others were nominees, several were named to national teams around the world, and two played in Olympics Games Rio 2016. Women's basketball has won the Big West Conference title and advanced to the Women's National Invitation Tournament for four straight years. Men's basketball made two postseason appearances, including the NCAA Second Round in 2013.
The men's soccer team advanced to the NCAA Second Round in 2016 and 2017, and soccer player Tristan Blackmon was selected third overall in the first round of the 2018 MLS Superdraft to the LA Football Club. The women's field hockey team won its third-consecutive America East Western Division Championship in 2017. The women's water polo team won the Golden Coast Conference Championship in the spring of 2017 and went on to earn its first berth to the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals.