The Eastern College Athletic Conference has named Bobby Valentine, SHU’s executive director of athletics, as its Division I Administrator of the Year.
“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the student-athletes, coaches and staff of Sacred Heart athletics,” said Valentine. “The dedication and commitment of all of our Pioneers is heartwarming. It is a pleasure to be associated with these fine men and women, and I thank the ECAC for recognizing the accomplishments of SHU Athletics.”
Sacred Heart had a banner year in 2015-16, winning the Northeast Conference (NEC) Triple Crown. The Pioneers captured a record sixth Brenda Weare Commissioner’s Cup and became the first school in league history to pair that honor with the NEC Institutional Academic Award. The University’s student-athletes averaged a 3.31 GPA during the 2016-17 season to win the award for top GPA in the league for the second consecutive year. Seventy-five percent of the athletic teams surpassed a 3.0 GPA during the season, with 31 teams posting a team GPA of over 3.0.
The Pioneers also earned the NEC Building Communities Award for the fifth time in the award’s six-year existence, combining for 8,391.5 hours of community service during the year.
In addition, the Pioneers repeated as the Joan Martin Women’s Commissioners Cup winners. The women’s cross-country team won its third consecutive league crown and, for the second straight year, the Pioneers won the NEC Triple Crown by taking cross-country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field championships. Bowling won the regular season and tournament title, and equestrian won the Western Regional. Women’s basketball won the regular season title and played in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Under Valentine’s four years at SHU, the Pioneers have captured 18 conference crowns, 177 All-Conference honors, 15 Player of the Year awards, 13 Coach of the Year honors, 12 All-America selections and eight NCAA tournament appearances, as well as a CoSida Academic All-America honoree.
There have been advances in facilities as well. The Pioneers debuted a new Daktronics video and scoreboard on Campus Field recently, a year after replacing the playing surface and surrounding track. A new state-of-the-art Academic Services and Student Development Center opened last fall on the second floor of the Pitt Center. The Pioneers are building a new soccer and rugby facility and have refurbished the strength and conditioning center, along with hiring the department’s first-ever strength and conditioning coach.