July 5, 2023

SALISBURY, Md. - From the softball field to the administrator's office, Monica Gordy Polizzi has been a force in NCAA athletics for more than 20 years.

Now, she will bring those decades of experience to Salisbury University as the institution's new Director of Athletics and Campus Recreation — the first woman to hold the position — following a national search. She begins the position Wednesday, July 26. 

Polizzi comes to SU from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., where she has served as Senior Associate Athletic Director of Internal Operations since February 2022. Prior to that, she spent 11 years at Mars Hill University (N.C.), including eight as head softball coach and three as Assistant Director of Athletics.

"Salisbury University is an athletics powerhouse, and it will take a strong leader to continue to guide our teams and students to success," said SU President Carolyn Ringer Lepre. "With more than two decades as a coach, administrator and student-athlete at the collegiate level, we are excited that Monica fits that description and then some."

Polizzi will become part of a program nationally recognized for its success. SU recently won its 13th NCAA Division III men's lacrosse championship, marking the institution's 23rd national team championship since 1986. The new director will be charged with leading SU's student-athletes — which also boast 24 national individual championships — into a new era of prosperity.

"I am excited for the chance to lead the Sea Gulls, and I'm eager to work with so many talented and successful coaches and staff," said Polizzi, a Salisbury native. "Growing up near the University, I had the opportunity to experience the enthusiasm around some of the program's earliest team championships in the 1990s. I can't wait to play a part in that legacy, and to partner with the campus in support of SU's pursuit of excellence."

At Lenoir-Rhyne, Polizzi oversaw six intercollegiate sports, served as chief financial officer for a multi-million-dollar athletics budget and assisted in all head coaches and athletics staff hires, among other duties.

From 2008-2011, Polizzi served as head softball coach at Louisburg College (N.C.), following assistant and graduate assistant coaching positions at Upper Iowa University and Wayne State College (Neb.). As a coach, she led student-athletes to successes including All-American honors, South Atlantic Conference (SAC) All-Conference selections, SAC Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and NCAA Region X Player of the Year and All-Region selections.

She currently chairs the NCAA National Committee for Division II football — the first woman to hold that position, as well — and serves on the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee for the sport. She is a past member of the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee for Division II softball and has served on multiple committees for the SAC.

Professionally, Polizzi was one of only 24 women from all NCAA divisions selected to participate in the NCAA's 2020 Lessons in Management workshop. She also was selected as one of eight mentees to participate in the 2022 Division II Athletic Directors Association Women and Minorities Mentorship program, offered through the Division II Athletic Directors Association and NCAA, and has served as a delegate at multiple NCAA conventions. In addition, she previously has been selected to attend the Women Leaders in College Sports national convention and will attend its executive institute for senior administrators in all NCAA divisions this summer.

On the field, she was a four-year softball starter and team captain at the Florida Institute of Technology, where she earned her B.A. in psychology. A 2000 graduate of Parkside High School in Salisbury, she helped lead the Rams' softball team to four post-season appearances, including the Maryland state finals.

At SU, Polizzi will oversee 23 varsity athletics teams in three conferences (Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference, New Jersey Athletic Conference and Coastal Lacrosse Conference). These include men's and women's golf, scheduled to begin competition during the 2024-25 academic year as the first additions to SU's athletics program since women's soccer in 1994.

Currently, more than 500 SU student-athletes play for varsity teams including baseball, field hockey, softball (2023 NCAA Division III runner-up), volleyball, and men's and women's basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track and field. Combined, they have produced 196 conference championships and 44 Academic All-Americans.

Additionally, Polizzi will oversee SU's athletics and recreation facilities, as well as the University's student recreation program, including intramural teams and 13 club sports: cheerleading (current National Cheerleaders Association Division III collegiate champion), equestrian, gymnastics, field hockey, ice hockey, men's volleyball and weightlifting, and men's and women's lacrosse, rugby, soccer and Ultimate.

Polizzi holds an M.S. in recreation and sport science from Ohio University.