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Donna Woodruff named new Loyola AD

Donna Woodruff was announced as the new Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics at Loyola University Maryland at an event at Ridley Athletic Complex on Tuesday.

Woodruff comes to Loyola after a 13-year stint at Stony Brook University, where she was the Deputy Director of Athletics since July 2014. She oversaw Stony Brook’s capital planning, financial operations, human resources, facilities and events, student-athlete development and compliance, among other things. She was the direct supervisor of Stony Brook’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, women’s lacrosse team and volleyball programs, while also working with many of their other teams.

“Donna has tremendous depth and breadth of experience and brings a vision that will truly help Loyola and the Greyhounds athletics continue on their path to national prominence,” Loyola Maryland President Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., said. “Particularly as we implement our new strategic plan, we recognize the marvelous opportunities to strengthen our athletic programs to engage our entire program – students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, as well as the greater Baltimore community.”

When Woodruff heard that Jim Paquette would be stepping down as the Loyola Maryland Director of Athletics she said it immediately stood out as a job that might be a good place for her, and as she continued to go through the process she found herself even more excited about the potential opportunity to head the program.

“I am extremely excited but also truly honored and humbled to be here today as the newest member of the Loyola family,” Woodruff said in her introductory speech. “Loyola is indeed a special place and I am thrilled to be here. … I am honored to be here, I’m ready to go, ready to work on behalf of Loyola University Maryland.”

She ended her speech with a simple: “Let’s go Hounds!”

Loyola used Parker Executive Search to find candidates for the open job. They contacted Woodruff to see if it would be a job she would be interested. Again, she already knew it was.

“I will never be one of those people who just look for the next job. I’m not looking to just go places to go places,” she said. “Loyola definitely stood out when I heard the current Athletics Director was stepping down. I said in my head that ‘that’s a good job’ and ‘that’s a good place.’”

The entire process for her took about three and a half weeks. She said it was both “exhausting and very energizing.”

While still performing her duties as one of the top administrators at Stony Brook, she also had to study and learn all about Loyola Maryland and each individual team so she could be knowledgeable during her conversations with the individual coaches. She also had to prepare to speech to all of the different alumni and Vice Presidents and Presidents at Loyola Maryland who were heading the search committee.

This all while the powerhouse women’s lacrosse team she has been overseeing was participating in their fifth straight NCAA Tournament as America East Champions. The men’s basketball team she had been overseeing at Stony Brook also experienced great success over the past seven years. They won four regular season America East championships since 2010 and made a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2016.

Achieving a high level of success, especially at a mid-major program like Loyola Maryland is something Woodruff sees as a great possibility. She pointed to the school’s 2012 National Championship as clear proof that it can happen at Loyola Maryland.

“I don’t love the conversation about mid-majors because you can compete, but I also recognize that there are some differences,” she said. “I appreciate this level but do not accept that there are lower expectations at all of any level. Obviously, Loyola has won a national championship so it can be done and I think it can be done in other sports too.

“They (the University administration) have a vision and I found through the process, very inspiring that the strategic plan actually mentions athletics in it. That doesn’t always happen on every campus. That means the whole University appreciates the value of athletics.”

Prior to working at Stony Brook, Woodruff worked at Villanova from 2000 to 2004 as director of administrative services for athletics. Before that, she was at her Alma Mater University of Pennsylvania, where she managed the capital facility and construction and renovations of many of the Universities’ athletic facilities. She was a standout field hockey and lacrosse player for Penn, earning five All-Ivy League selections. After graduation, she also served as an assistant coach for Penn’s field hockey and lacrosse teams. Having a background as both a player and coach are both things that Woodruff views as a strength when directing and athletics department.

“I’m not going to be coaching and I’m not going to be playing… I don’t know this for sure, but I think having been a student-athlete and coach myself, that certainly goes a little way to being able to speak directly to those experiences,” she said. “It helps a little bit be able to frame those conversations.”

Woodruff was a member of the NCAA Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Cabinet, serving a four-year term that ended in July 2016. She was a featured speaker at Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly know as NACWAA, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators). She was the 2011 NACWAA Administrator of the Year.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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