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Hofstra Taps Rick Cole to Lead Athletics Department

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Newsday (New York)

 

Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz got directly to the point Wednesday when introducing longtime Oakdale resident Rick Cole Jr. as the university's new director of athletics.

"He is the one to take us to the next level,'' Rabinowitz said of Cole, who comes from a five-year tenure at Iona, where he built a winning program, especially in men's basketball. Fellow Long Islander and Gaels coach Tim Cluess has made seemingly annual visits to the NCAA Tournament.

Rabinowitz wants a return to March Madness in Hempstead. It hasn't happened since the 2000-01 season.

"We need to be into the NCAAs, men's and women's,'' Rabinowitz said. "It's been 17 years. When you see what a basketball area the New York metropolitan area is and the kind of excitement that it develops among alums, we've got to be back to that.''

Rabinowitz was asked if the Colonial Athletic Association, a largely one-bid southern-based conference, is still the best fit for Hofstra in the long term.

"We are open to all of these issues, that's another reason why I'm so excited about the new athletic director,'' Rabinowitz said "He knows the landscape, he knows the metro area. The CAA has some great schools in it academic and otherwise. It has some burdens to it. We need to first decide where we really would like to be and then we need to get invited there.''

Men's basketball coach Joe Mihalich said, "Every conference has its challenge, this conference does, too. It's a one-bid conference. We all wish it was more than a one-bid conference.''

Women's basketball coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey added, "All of us here want to keep moving forward. Hofstra's doing a good job of just not jumping ship quick.''

Cole, 47, will start May 21 and transition under Jeff Hathaway, who is leaving the AD job to pursue other opportunities. Cole also built the Division II program at Dowling, only to have it disappear when the financially-strapped institution closed in 2016. He also worked in athletic administration at St. John's and Stony Brook.

Hofstra is the job Cole always wanted. He will tackle the conference issue in due time. "We're a proud member of the CAA and when you're a member of an organization you work hard to better that organization,'' he said. "As we do our strategic plan with the institution, my guess is we're going to do what's best for Hofstra University, our athletic programs and our athletics. After that review happens, I think we'll know more of what that means, not just for a conference. There's a lot of good here, there's a lot of great here.''

"Having a plan to win is key,'' he said. "Everybody wants to win. In sports, there's a measure at the end of what we do. There's a winner and a loser. I think it's a great opportunity when a new athletic director comes in that we can take a hard look at our visions, our strategy and outline a road map.''

Cole will continue to live in Oakdale with his wife Brooke and three children. His younger daughter, Mackenzie, a high school All-American volleyball player at Connetquot, is headed to Duke next fall.

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March 29, 2018
 
 
 

 

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