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Bill Fusco stepping down as Sonoma State athletic director


Bill Fusco, senior director of intercollegiate athletics at Sonoma State University, will retire from his position at the end of the year following 20 years at the helm of the Seawolves’ athletic program.

Fusco was named Director of Athletics at Sonoma State University in May of 1997, and guided the program into the era of athletic scholarships and the California Collegiate Athletic Association. During his tenure, the Seawolves earned two NCAA Division II national championships (men’s soccer 2002 and men’s golf 2009), eight regional championships and 20 conference championships. Seventy-six student-athletes earned All-American honors in the past 20 years.

“During Bill Fusco’s 20 year service as Sonoma State’s athletic director, our intercollegiate athletics program has grown in both size and reputation,” said Stan Nosek, interim vice president for Administration & Finance. “Bill has been a strong advocate for a student-centered athletic program that focuses on success in the classroom as well as in competition. He has led a program that has resulted in SSU being at or near the top of our league in student-athlete grade point average and graduation rates. His commitment to both academic and athletic excellence has been unwavering over his tenure, and is a legacy for which he can be very proud.”

“I am most fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend the last 20 years at Sonoma State University,” said Fusco. “It has been an honor to work alongside our exceptional student-athletes, coaches and administrative staff. I am looking forward to completing several projects that will help stabilize and enhance the intercollegiate athletics program for the future before I leave.”

Under Fusco’s leadership, the department, as part of the Administration & Finance Division, acquired funding for many on-campus sports facility upgrades including tennis, soccer, baseball, softball, a women’s sports team room and most recently, $1.1 million for new seating in The Wolves’ Den. The new Gordon Smith Training Center, an indoor batting cage and locker room facility for the baseball team was funded by a $1.3 million gift to the program.

Over the past 20 years, the Seawolves have improved significantly in the classroom achieving academic excellence, most recently with the 14 teams averaging a 3.0 grade point average in 2016-17 and with 84 student-athletes earning All-Academic honors with a 3.40 grade-point average or higher.

In 2003, Fusco led an effort through a successful student fee referendum to add the sports of women’s water polo and men’s golf. In 2007, he gained approval to add women’s golf and in 2013 was able to reinstate women’s track and field as the Seawolves’ 14th intercollegiate sport.

In 2016, Fusco was named as the Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. He was one of only 28 leaders from across the country to be recognized, and only one of four from the NCAA Division II classification.

Fusco has served on the following committees representing Sonoma State University: President of the CCAA (2004-05) (2015-16); president of the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) (2013 - 2016); president Division II Athletics Directors Association (D2ADA) (2003); member, Executive Committee of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) (1999-2003); member NCAA Division II Degree Completion Scholarship Committee; member NCAA West Region Women’s Tennis Committee; member NCAA West Region Women’s Volleyball Committee; member California State University Risk Management Authority Athletic Injury Medical Expense (CSURMA-AIME) board; member NCAA Division II Championships Committee (2007-2011); member NCAA Division II Championships Committee (Chair) (2010-11); and member NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) (2010-11), (2014-17).

As President of the NCAA Division II Athletics Directors Association, he helped develop the Division II Model Athletics Department, a program that establishes the guiding principles of operating a Division II intercollegiate athletic program.

From 2012-14, Fusco served as a mentor in the NCAA & Division II Athletic Director’s Association Women and Minorities Mentoring Program -- “Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders”.

With more than 36 years of combined athletic administrative experience, Fusco has served as Director of Athletics at the University of San Francisco and Dominican University of California and as Sports Information Director at St. Mary’s College in Moraga and the University of San Francisco.

He previously was an adjunct faculty member in the University of San Francisco Graduate Sports Management Program where he taught an elective class titled Administrative Leadership in Intercollegiate Athletics. During his tenure as Director of Athletics at Dominican University, he was named NAIA West Region Administrator of the Year in both 1995-96 and 1996-97.

A timeframe for a national search for his replacement will be determined at a later date.