BALTIMORE – Jim Paquette, Loyola University Maryland’s assistant vice president and director of athletics, announced today he will step down in June 2017 to pursue new opportunities in collegiate athletics and higher education.
Paquette has served in his role at Loyola since 2010 and was recognized in June 2016 by the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors (NACDA) as an Under Armour I-AAA Athletics Director of the Year.
“It has been a privilege and an honor to work alongside so many talented and dedicated student-athletes, coaches and staff at Loyola University Maryland, and I’m extremely proud of our achievements,” Paquette said. “After careful thought and reflection, I have decided the timing is right to conclude my service at Loyola so I can more aggressively pursue new opportunities that are the best fit for my family and me and to allow for new leadership to be in place as the University implements its recently endorsed strategic plan.”
Paquette, who currently serves as the Third Vice President for the I-AAA Athletics Directors Association, played a key role in securing Loyola’s membership to the Patriot League, a move which has allowed all the University’s teams to compete in the same conference for the first time. He presently serves as the Chair of the Patriot League Committee on Athletic Administration after serving as the Vice Chair from 2014-2016.
“During Jim’s time at Loyola, Greyhounds student-athletes have excelled both academically and in competition unlike ever before in Loyola’s history,” said Susan M. Donovan, Ph.D., executive vice president of Loyola University Maryland. “Jim has left his mark on Loyola University Maryland, and we are grateful to him for his leadership.”
Loyola men’s lacrosse won its first-ever NCAA Division I National Championship in 2012 and advanced to the NCAA Semifinals again in 2016 for only the fourth time in school history.
During his seven-plus years at Loyola, the Greyhounds have made 19 NCAA Championships team appearances in five different sports. Additionally, the women’s basketball program earned a WNIT bid, and, in addition to the NCAA Tournament, the men’s basketball team played in the CIT and CBI, advancing to the quarterfinals of each postseason tournament. Three of the four men’s basketball postseason appearances in Loyola’s Division I history have occurred in the last five years. Both men’s and women’s basketball programs became the first in school history to win Division I postseason games.
Loyola athletics experienced unprecedented fundraising success under Paquette’s leadership that has greatly enhanced the student-athlete experience. The Greyhounds increased gifts by 706 percent from 2010 through 2015. This total includes completing, and exceeding, a $12-million campaign goal more than a year early and increasing endowed scholarships from one to 18.
A gift from Jim, ’80, and Hollis Forbes made it possible for the first-ever video boards and LED courtside signage to be added to Reitz Arena. A gift of $3.2-million funded the planning and construction of the McClure Tennis Center at the Ridley Athletic Complex that includes eight lighted courts and a meeting facility. Other facility improvements have included a new indoor golf facility, new and renovated locker rooms, coaches’ offices, team meeting rooms, sports medicine, strength and conditioning room and new fueling stations for all student-athletes.
Paquette led the establishment of the Loyola Leadership Academy in partnership with nationally recognized Janssen Sports Leadership Center to provide student-athletes with specialized leadership training, including a 360-degree review. He also negotiated an all-sports agreement to make Under Armour the Official Outfitter of Loyola Athletics, the first of its kind at the University.
“We have made it our top priority to enhance the student-athlete experience, and through University and outside resources, we have been able to make tremendous strides in facilities, programming and other initiatives,” Paquette said. “Loyola’s core value structure promotes the education of the mind, body and spirit for its students, and athletics has thrived in stimulating those areas.”
Loyola student-athletes have been ranked in the top-25 of the NCAA Graduation Success Rates every year of Paquette’s tenure including a school-record 98 percent in 2016 that was No. 3 in Division I. Eleven Greyhounds teams had a 100 percent mark in that ranking period. The cumulative grade-point average of Loyola student-athletes has risen from 3.115 in 2010 to 3.302 at the end of the Fall 2016 semester, and the number of student-athletes on the Dean List has increased by more than 25 percent in that same time span.
“It has been a blessing for my wife, Erin, sons James and Brian, and me to have been a part of the Loyola family for the past seven years,” Paquette said. “As we move on to this next phase of our lives, I wish nothing but the best for everyone at Loyola and am confident athletics will continue to thrive because of the sustained extraordinary efforts of student-athletes, coaches, and staff who care so deeply for the school.”