By Ronald Hanaki
On Thursday, Mar. 3 at Koehler Fieldhouse, ESU held a press conference to officially introduce Josh Looney as its new Director of Athletics.
Looney was flanked by President Marcia Welsh and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Doreen Tobin.
Welsh said, “Today is a big day for us. The Warriors’ Athletic Office welcomes Josh Looney as ESU’s new Director of Athletics.”
Looney previously served as the NCAA’s Associate Director of Division II Athletics in Indianapolis, Ind.
Welsh said, “It’s great to have someone so knowledgeable about Warrior athletics and DII athletics.”
Welsh commented that she had just returned from a cultivation trip, and she said, “The alumni with the strongest bonds with ESU are former student-athletes.”
Tobin added, “We are proud to welcome Josh to ESU. He brings a wealth of experience and new ideas to look at our institution.”
Looney himself was a former Division II athlete. He was a four-year letterman in football at Washburn University in Kansas.
Looney holds an MBA from the University of Missouri in Kansas City and is completing a doctorate in organizational leadership at Creighton University.
Looney began his career as a publicity assistant for the Orlando Magic in 2005. He then became PR manager and did external outreach for the Kansas City Chiefs before moving on to Indianapolis.
Looney expressed excitement for his new role at ESU.
“Why ESU? A lot of reasons why. I know the PSAC well, and I have great relations with the conference office and the athletic directors,” said Looney.
“First and foremost, I am coming to a place with tremendous presidential leadership,” affirmed Looney.
“ESU has a solid academic reputation and athletics. Athletics is an extension of the university’s brand and where the coaches go above and beyond. That is the case here,” stated Looney.
Looney noted that ESU has proud alumni. “I saw it when the basketball teams played West Chester. They [the alumni] filled up the stands on the road,” said Looney.
“So I am excited to meet more of the alumni. Many reached out to me during the transition from Indianapolis to ESU,” said Looney.
Looney revealed that throughout the interview process, ESU was referred to as a sleeping giant in Division II. “But no one is sleeping here. It is very awake with talented people, coaches and staff members,” said Looney.
As Associate Director for the NCAA’s Division II Athletics, Looney worked hard to ensure that Division II student-athletes were represented on the advisory council of the NCAA.
Looney said, “I have a student-first philosophy. Students need to be a big part of what constitutes intercollegiate athletics at ESU.”
“I met with three student-athletes here and asked them what they were looking for in an AD. They wanted someone who is visible, accessible, and someone who is an advocate for student-athletes,” said Looney.
One of those three student-athletes Looney met early on was cross country and track and field’s Allison Decker.
“It seems like he’s going to be a really good fit and help us get to the next level. So I’m excited,” said Decker.
Addressing ESU’s student-athletes as a whole, Looney said, “I am looking forward to meeting you all individually, and I am looking forward to giving you all the best experience we can at ESU.”
Looney said that the best piece of advice he received came from former Kansas City Chiefs GM Carl Peterson who said, “Winning doesn’t cure all. It’s about relationships and how people work together.”
Looney said, “I guarantee investing in relationships internally and externally with our faculty members and throughout the Pocono region. For every single person we interact with, we will create a first-class experience at ESU for those coming in and who are already here.”
“We will develop a champion culture and have success and lifelong lessons learned from athletics. We will grow athletics to its full potential,” said Looney.
Looney added, “To be successful, you have to be versatile. No one can play just one position in the model Division II athletic department. The best athletic departments are fostering a culture that is versatile.”
Looney has been tasked by President Welsh and Dr. Tobin to come up with a 100-day plan.
“It’s a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of every single place our athletic department touches. It will show what we are doing and what we have to improve in the short-term and long-term. The 100-day plan will serve as our strategic plan as we move into 2016 and 2017,” said Looney.
Looney went on to thank Dr. Nancy Greenwalt and ESU’s national search committee for running the search process in such a professional manner.
“I am forever grateful to everyone in the process: the faculty, student-athletes and whoever it was. It was as smooth a transition as possible,” said Looney.
Looney went on to thank the people who have helped him in his professional career. “Bob Moore ran the PR department with the Kansas City Chiefs. Thank you. Thank you to former Chiefs GM Carl Peterson and Pat Williams [from the Orlando Magic],” said Looney.
Email Ronald at: