Jan. 25, 2016
CLEVELAND -- The Division 2 Athletics Directors Association (D2 ADA) has announced the recipient of the 2016 D2 ADA Lifetime Achievement Award -- Mary Gardner, former director of athletics at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. The Lifetime Achievement Award is given to athletics directors who have exemplified superior achievement during their career at the Division II level. Gardner retired in 2011 after 23 years leading the Huskies athletics program.
"Mary was a pioneer in women's athletics and led Bloomsburg to unprecedented success in her 23 years at the helm of the Huskies," stated D2 ADA President Fran Reidy, director of athletics at Saint Leo University. "The D2 ADA looks forward to honoring her impressive accomplishments at the Convention in June."
Gardner became one of the first female athletics directors in the country responsible for both the men's and women's athletics program when she was appointed to the post in 1988 after serving on an interim basis for six months. Prior to becoming athletics director, Gardner served as associate director of athletics and an assistant professor in the department of exercise science. Before beginning her career as an administrator, Gardner was head coach of the Bloomsburg women's swimming and diving program for 14 seasons, led the men's team for one season and coached field hockey from 1974-78.
As athletics director, Gardner had oversight of Bloomsburg's $18 million athletics facilities renovations. Steph Pettit Stadium, composed of an all-turf surface and press box for soccer, field hockey and lacrosse, was part of the initial phase. The tennis complex was completed in 2008, followed by the Redman Stadium renovation in 2009. In addition, the Nelson Field House underwent a $13.4 million renovation in 2010.
Gardner was active on several NCAA committees throughout her career, including the Division II Management Council and the NCAA committee on women's athletics. She also served on the Amateurism Project Team, Football Issues Project Team, Legislation Committee, Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee and the NCAA Swimming and Diving Committee.
In 2001, Gardner was recognized by NACDA as the Division II Athletics Director of the Year for the Northeast region and in 2003 by NACWAA as the Division II Athletics Director of the Year. Under her watch, the Huskies won the Dixon trophy in 1996 and 1997, signifying the top all-around athletics program in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
A Hatboro, Pa., native, Gardner earned a bachelor's and master's degree at East Stroudsburg University, where she was the university's first three-time national champion in swimming and a varsity letter winner in both field hockey and swimming. She is a member of both the Hatboro-Horsham and East Stroudsburg University Halls of Fame. She is the proud mother of two children and five grandchildren.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award presented by the D2 ADA. To be eligible for this award, a person must be at least 60 years old, or have spent at least 25 years in collegiate athletics, with a majority of those years as an AD. The honoree must be retired or no longer serving as an active athletics director. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes athletics directors who, over the course of his/her career, have made an exemplary contribution to Division II athletics and the student-athlete experience.
About D2 ADA: The D2 ADA is the first organization of its kind to provide educational and networking opportunities; enhancement of acceptable operating standards and ethics; and establishment of the overall prestige and understanding of the profession of Division II athletics directors. For more information about the D2 ADA, please visit www.div2ada.com. The D2 ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 51st year. For more information on NACDA and the 15 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.