Eric Ziady, who spent 23 years working in the highest levels of collegiate athletics administration in the Boston area, was named director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation services at the University of Delaware on Oct. 10, 2012.
Ziady (pronounced “zee-aidy”), 48, a native of Andover, Mass., became just the fifth director of athletics at Delaware since 1940. He replaced Bernard Muir, who left UD in July, 2012 after three years at the helm to become director of athletics at Stanford University.
"We're so glad that Eric is joining UD as our new athletic director," said UD President Patrick Harker in announcing Ziady's hiring. "He's wholly committed to students' academic and athletic success. He's an incredibly strong financial administrator and a proven revenue-generator. He understands the conference landscape, and can help us navigate through the issues of conference alignment. And he absolutely shares our most fundamental goal: to educate student-athletes who will lead in competition, in the classroom and in the community.”
Ziady arrived at Delaware after spending 14 years at Boston College - most recently as senior associate athletics director for business operations - and nine years before that at Delaware’s current Colonial Athletic Association and former America East conference rival Northeastern University. He served as assistant director of athletics at Northeastern during his final four years in Brookline.
He heads a University of Delaware athletics and recreation services department that sponsors 21 intercollegiate sports, including 13 women’s sports, and annually ranks among the Colonial Athletic Association leaders in the NCAA Division I National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Directors’ Cup standings. A vibrant recreation services department sponsors over 30 club sports and over 30 intramural programs.
Since his arrival at Delaware, he has seen Blue Hen teams win the CAA title and advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 in women's basketball (2012-13); capture the CAA title and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in field hockey (2013); earn an NCAA Tournament at-large berth in men's soccer (2013); and capture the CAA men's basketball championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament (2013-2014). During the 2013-14 athletics season, four Blue Hen head coaches earned league or regional coach of the year honors.
The UD football squad, led by first-year head coach Dave Brock, went 7-5, earned several national Top 25 rankings, and fell just short of an NCAA Tournament berth in 2013.
Under his guidance, Delaware has made significant strides in facility upgrades and staff enhancements. In August, 2013, the University completed a $25 million renovation and 18,000-square-foot addition project to the Carpenter Sports Building - the UD on-campus student recreation facility.
Other major upgrades have included resurfacing Delaware Field House with Astroturf to make the facility the state's premiere all-season, all-purpose venue; a $2.5 million renovation and rededication (April 27, 2014) of Bob Hannah Baseball Stadium that included the installation of a new turf field, dugouts, scoreboard, fencing, batting cages, and bullpen areas, the resurfacing of two soccer practice fields; and a new all-weather outdoor track installed this past spring.
In addition, thanks to a $1.5 donation from Stuart and Suzanne Grant, the former UD Mini-Stadium will undergo extensive renovations this summer that will include new seating and a press box. The venue, home to the UD men's and women's soccer and women's outdoor track & field programs, will now be known as Stuart & Suzanne Grant Stadium.
Overall athletics fundraising has also seen significant growth during his time at UD, surpassing the $4 million mark for the first time this past year, reflecting a 91 percent increase from 2013. In addition, particular emphasis has been placed on the expansion of the alumni outreach and engagement infrastructure for all 21 of UD’s athletic programs, illustrated best by the successful $1 million campaign for the Hannah Stadium project spearheaded by former players, coaches, and staff of Delaware Baseball.
Ziady also serves as the primary sport administrator for football, men's basketball, and women's basketball.
“I am humbled and proud to accept the offer to become the University of Delaware’s next director of athletics,” said Ziady during his introduction. “I understand the rich history and tradition of Delaware athletics and I can’t wait to work with this fine group of coaches, administrators, and staff as we go forward in the years ahead and build upon that great legacy. We are excited to settle our family in the Newark community and build the next chapter of our lives as part of the Delaware family.”
At Atlantic Coast Conference member Boston College, Ziady was responsible for handling both the long-range fiscal and strategic planning for the department as well as the day-to-day administration of all business and financial operations. In addition, he handled football game scheduling and contract administration, as well as overseeing five of the men's and women's athletic programs (football, men's and women's golf, and men's and women's sailing).
In 2010 Ziady negotiated the six-year, multi-million dollar sponsorship agreement with Under Armour that outfitted all 31 Eagle sport programs and provided financial support for the department. The sponsorship was the largest in the history of BC Athletics. Delaware also holds a sponsorship agreement with Under Armour.
Ziady served as chair of both the ACC Women's Golf Committee as well as the conference's Awards Committee. He also previously served on the ACC and Hockey East Finance Committees as well as on competition committees in both the America East (baseball) and Big East (golf) conferences. He has twice served on NCAA certification subcommittees for fiscal integrity, both at Northeastern and BC.
“Eric Ziady is one of the finest athletics administrators I’ve ever been around,” said Gene DeFilippo, Boston College director of athletics from 1997 until 2012. “He is incredibly bright and enthusiastic and was an integral part of our management team at Boston College. Within a very short period of time, everyone in the Delaware athletics community will realize what a great selection the University has made. We are all very excited for Eric and his family.”
A 1988 Providence College graduate, Ziady began his career at Northeastern as an assistant to the athletic director, handling compliance responsibilities, coordinating facility management and operations on game days, and assisting in marketing efforts. In 1991, he was appointed athletic business manager and was responsible for all of the department's fiscal activities, while also serving as the liaison with outside booster and support groups.
In 1994, Ziady was promoted to assistant director of athletics at Northeastern. He served on the Huskies' senior management team that planned long-range departmental goals and policies. Included among this group's assignments was the development of a five-year strategic plan to address Title IX and gender equity issues.
Ziady, who earned both a master's degree in sports management and a master's of business administration degree from Northeastern, has twice served as a marketing consultant. In 1990, he worked on a corporate marketing project with the North Atlantic Conference (now America East) and in 1992, he assisted the Boston Organizing Committee in marketing and fundraising in an attempt to attract national and international amateur events to the city. He currently serves on both the Board of Directors of the Delaware Sports Commission and the Executive Committee of the FCS Athletic Directors Association.
“We are excited about having Eric join the University of Delaware athletics family,” said Blue Hen women’s basketball head coach Tina Martin. “He has the right kind of mindset to lead Delaware at a very exciting time. I’m looking forward to working with him for many years to come.”
“We are excited about Eric bringing his recognized leadership skills to the CAA,” said Colonial Athletic Association Commissioner Tom Yeager. “Eric is a well-respected administrator who is a great hire for the University.”
Ziady and his wife, Lauren, have three children, Matthew (6), Lindsey (5), and Courtney (3). Lauren earned her PhD in counseling psychology from Northeastern University in 2012.Updated 7/14/14
Eric Ziady Timeline
• Eric Ziady (2012-Present)