McDonald stepping down as University of New England director of athletics

University of New England has announced that VP of student engagement and director of athletics Jack McDonald will step down, effective Sept. 1, 2017.

McDonald is stepping down for personal reasons.

“The past two years have been two of the best of my career due to the outstanding leadership of President Danielle Ripich, UNE’s talented and dedicated staff and coaches, and our tremendous student-athletes,” said McDonald in a news release. “The university is a very, very special place, and I have enjoyed working on UNE’s beautiful ocean-front campus and surrounding beaches.”

McDonald, who came to UNE in June 2015, has led the Nor’easters to significant competitive success, student-athlete achievement and community outreach during his tenure. UNE won seven conference championships over the last two academic years, while its student-athletes have maintained a 3.25 cumulative GPA.

“Part of my vision for UNE has always been the growth of our athletics programs,” added Ripich. “Jack made that vision a reality, overseeing the addition of new sports and state-of-the-art athletic facilities while shepherding the success of our student-athletes.”

McDonald hired men’s hockey coach Kevin Swallow and also oversaw the programming and design of the 35,000 square-foot expansion of the Harold Alfond Forum.

McDonald has made an impact in the community, both on and off campus through his ability to work collaboratively with the city of Biddeford. He has increased the visibility of UNE athletics through aggressive marketing and social media promotion of the university’s 17 varsity sports, as well as its intramural and club sports programs.

Some of McDonald’s initiatives included the implementation of UNE’s summer sports camps and clinics for local children, the Blue Crew App to increase student engagement and attendance at contests, the creation of “Nor’easter Neighbors,” a student-athlete community outreach group, the establishment of “Irish Eyes are ‘Miling,” a fun run/walk and Biddeford School Department Day at a home men’s hockey game.