May 29, 2018
CLEVELAND – The Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (DI-AAA ADA) is proud to announce Gene Doris, the former director of athletics at Fairfield University, as the 2018 Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award honoree.
“When I received the call I was stunned,” explained Doris. “Having been part of the DI-AAA ADA and knowing the stature of past recipients, I am truly humbled and honored to be in their company. Having been a basketball coach and an administrator, it is particularly special to receive an award named for Gary Cunningham who accomplished greatness in both endeavors. When you are honored by your peers, the award is the most meaningful you can receive. I am so fortunate to have been part of the Division I-AAA ADA and still enjoy the many friendships I have made through the years. Those are friendships that will be with me for life. I wish to sincerely thank the Association for this honor,” he concluded.
Doris will be formally presented the 2018 Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award at the DI-AAA ADA Membership and Awards Meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 28 in conjunction with the NACDA Convention. The 2018 NACDA and Affiliates Convention Week will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
“We are excited to bestow our Association’s most prestigious honor to Gene,” stated Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award Committee Chair and Director of Athletics at Florida Gulf Coast University, Ken Kavanagh. “Like our previous honorees, Gene personifies what the award represents and fits in extremely well with the tremendous class of recipients. A valued contributor to the DI-AAA ADA’s development and growth prior to his retirement, Gene served collegiate athletics with distinction for decades. He positively impacted the countless student-athletes and staffers that he worked alongside daily.”
In his 23 years at the helm of Fairfield University athletics, Doris helped guide the Stags into the national spotlight. Under his leadership, Fairfield claimed over 100 conference championships leading to 35 NCAA postseason berths. During his tenure, the Stags success extended beyond the playing field as Fairfield led Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) institutions in graduation rate and NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR). In addition, Fairfield claimed ten combined Commissioner’s Cups winning both the Men’s and Women’s Commissioner’s Cup in the same year four times. The Stags consistently held an NCAA Graduation Success Rate over 90 percent with several teams garnering NCAA Public Recognition Awards on an annual basis.
Under Doris’ direction, Fairfield was the host site for numerous NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournaments and was the stage for multiple NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament matchups at Webster Bank Arena. Because of Doris’ efforts to bring NCAA postseason contests to the Bridgeport, Connecticut area, he received the Constituent Supporter of the Year Award in 2004 from the Coastal Fairfield County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Fairfield is also set to host three NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship events at Rentschler Field from 2019-22. A 2016 inductee in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Hall of Fame, Doris also received the 2010 Division I Northeast Athletic Director of the Year Award and the 2013 Fairfield University Distinguished Faculty/Administrator Award. A DI-AAA ADA Past President (2015-16), former President of the ECAC and member of multiple MAAC and NCAA Committees during his career, Doris stepped down as the Chair of the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Committee last year.
Holding both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Fordham University, Doris’ career in athletics began as both a basketball and baseball coach at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, N.Y. and junior varsity baseball at Archbishop Molloy High School in Jamaica, N.Y. After his stint as a coach, he was named an associate athletics director at Fordham University, as well as assistant basketball coach under Richard "Digger" Phelps. Prior to his arrival at Fairfield in 1994, Doris was the athletics director at Marist College for five years, during which time the number of intercollegiate athletics teams grew from 14 to 20. Doris is currently serving as an adjunct faculty member at Fairfield undergraduate and Manhattanville College graduate programs, while entertaining the possibility of working as a consultant for Intercollegiate Athletic Consulting (ICAC) in the near future.
Members of the Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award Committee include Division I-AAA athletics directors: Ken Kavanagh (Chair), Florida Gulf Coast; Scott Corley, Belmont; Bob Driscoll, Providence; Shaney Fink, Seattle; Bill Maher, Canisius; Ed McLaughlin, VCU; Roderick Perry, IUPUI; Kim Record, UNC Greensboro; Mike Roth, Gonzaga; and Steve Watson, Loyola Chicago.
About the Division I-AAA ADA: Now in its 17th year, the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association's mission is to enhance initiatives common to its Division I-AAA membership (the Division I institutions that do not sponsor football), in particular, aspects related to their flagship basketball programs. For more information on the Division I-AAA ADA, please visit www.div1aaa-ada.com. The Division I-AAA ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.