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Rick Cole Jr. named to head Iona College's athletics program

On Friday, Iona College announced Rick Cole Jr.

On Friday, Iona College announced Rick Cole Jr. will take over as the school's newest athletic director. Cole previously served as athletic director for Long Island-based Dowling College, and as an assistant athletic director at St. John's University. (April 12, 2013) Photo Credit: Iona College

Rick Cole Jr. is Iona College's newest athletic director.

After a five-week search, the school on Friday announced it had hired Cole to replace Eugene Marshall Jr., who announced his resignation last month after almost two years on the job.

With a pedigree that includes stints at St. John's and Stony Brook universities, Cole most recently served as athletic director at Long Island-based Dowling College, a liberal arts school with about 3,200 undergraduates.

"Rick Cole Jr. is a proven leader in higher education athletics programs, inspires and supports student-athletes, coaches and athletics administrators, and understands and appreciates the distinctive Iona tradition," the school's president, Joseph E. Nyre, said in a statement Friday. "We looked for a transformational director of athletics, and we found him."

Iona officials touted Cole as being a champion of women's athletics at Dowling, conducting a "gender equity review" to ensure the school's compliance with Title IX, while also adding women's soccer and women's lacrosse to the college's roster of varsity sports. Dowling also added men's cross-country during his tenure, established fundraising programs to close funding gaps in the school's athletic programs, and oversaw the rebranding of the colleges athletics logos.

Cole is a 1992 graduate of SUNY Buffalo, where he also received a master's degree in education in 1994.

Marshall's tenure officially ends June 1, ending a run that saw the Iona men's basketball squad earn two trips to the NCAA Tournament. This year ended with a tournament loss to the second-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes on March 22.

Cole is expected to take over Iona's athletics program immediately after Marshall's departure, according to Brian Breyer, a spokesman for the college's athletics department.

"I'm extremely excited for this new chapter in Iona College athletics," Cole said in a statement. "I'm excited to lead at an institution that does things the right way, with integrity, with the well-being of the student athlete in mind, but also with a competitive drive that fuels success."

Located in New Rochelle, Iona has some 350 student-athletes.

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