Hofstra introduces Cole as new athletic director
With an eye toward the future and a goal to take Hofstra athletics to new heights, Hofstra introduced Rick Cole, Jr. as the new director of Athletics in a press conference on Wednesday morning at the University Club.
“I’m very humbled and honored to be here today,” Cole said. “The opportunity to lead this department at one of the most interesting times in collegiate athletics is truly an honor.”
Cole’s introduction was preceded by a speech by Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz, with many of Hofstra’s coaches and student athletes in attendance. Rabinowitz spoke of Cole’s rich experience and winning background and proclaimed him the man that would “take Hofstra athletics to the next level.”
“I really think this is an important moment in the history of Hofstra University, and its athletic program,” Rabinowitz said.
Cole comes to Hofstra after previously holding the position of athletic director at Iona College for the past five years. Under his leadership, the Gaels won 18 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championships, and the Iona men’s basketball team played in three consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 2016-18.
He will look to bring that level of postseason success to Hofstra and its 17 Division I athletic programs. Of note, the men’s basketball team here at Hofstra hasn’t been to an NCAA Tournament since 2001, most recently coming up empty in a loss to UNC Wilmington in the quarterfinals of this past season’s Colonial Athletic Association tournament.
“I think Hofstra has a great culture … I think we’re going to have to show people a vision and ask for help,” Cole said. “Hofstra people want to be successful academically and athletically … I think we have to look at how we could do it better.”
Cole, a native Long Islander, also held administrative posts at Dowling College, St. John’s University and Stony Brook College before making his way to Iona. In total, Cole bolsters over 20 years with college athletics program in the New York metro area.
Cole will be filling the seat of outgoing Hofstra athletic director Jeffrey Hathaway, who announced back in October that he would be retiring following the end of the 2017-18 year.
Hathaway has served as Hofstra athletic director since 2012, with the Pride advancing to 12 NCAA Tournaments in that time. Hathaway’s tenure as athletic director also saw Hofstra student athletes excel in the classroom, with a program record 3.29 combined grade point average in 2016-17.
Hathaway will remain in his position until May 21, and he will be working alongside Cole in the last few months of his tenure to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
Cole was selected after an extensive searching process by Rabinowitz and a committee consisting of alumni, donors, trustees and other members of the Hofstra community. This committee narrowed the pool of applicants down to just four finalists, a pool that Rabinowitz referred to as one of the most talented groups of individuals he had seen in his time here at Hofstra. After deliberation, Cole won the job in large part to the winning traditions he had established in the past.
“He had a record of success in a metro New York Division I private university,” Rabinowitz said in reference to Cole’s time at Iona. “The other candidates may have had talent, they may have had ideas … [but] I said ‘show me,’ and Rick showed me.”
Cole and Rabinowitz also both stressed the importance of getting fans and students out to games, a problem that has plagued Hofstra athletics in recent years.
Starting in just about two months, Cole will assume office and work toward advancing Hofstra on the path to athletic and academic excellence, a journey started by his predecessor Hathaway, and one that won’t be easy.
“Winning can be very, very hard, and I don’t think we’re going to do it alone,” Cole said. “It will take courage and effort, but I think we’ll be up to the challenge.”