Rome, Ga. — Dr. Tom Hart has been named director of athletics at Berry College, announced Debbie Heida, Berry’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students.
Hart recently concluded his 21st year–the last 19 as the athletic director–at Webster University in St. Louis. With Hart at the helm, the Gorloks totaled 49 NCAA appearances, and 52 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles.
In 2012-13, Webster captured its 13th overall (and ninth consecutive) SLIAC All-Sports Award. The Gorloks sent four teams (men’s soccer, women’s soccer, volleyball and baseball) to the NCAA Championships this past year.
During his tenure at Webster, student-athletes excelled in the classroom. Fifty one student-athletes earned SLIAC All-Academic team honors in 2012-13. Additionally, Webster student-athletes have graduated at a rate ten-percent above the average of the student body.
In the community, student-athletes at Webster continued to give. In 2012, the department was recognized with an Award of Merit by NADIIA in 2012 for their partnership with UrbanFUTURE. In this program, the entire athletic department pitched in to help 6-8th graders with afterschool tutoring in St. Louis. Hart also gives to this program and has been a mentor for the past three years.
“I am pleased to welcome Tom to Berry as he comes with significant Division III experience and is regarded as a leader within the NCAA,” Heida said. “Dr. Hart has been a tireless advocate for student-athlete academic achievement and the integration of athletes into the entire college experience. Tom’s commitment to educating the whole student matches Berry’s mission of educating the head, the heart, and the hands. I am excited about the energy and passion for athletics that he brings to Berry.”
Hart served on many committees during his tenure at WU, including chairing the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Committee. He was the President of the Webster Groves/Shrewsbury Chamber of Commerce, and has twice served as President of the SLIAC.
As a coach, Hart is one of only six individuals ever named SLIAC Coach of the Year in two separate sports (golf and basketball).
Hart helped lead the Gorlok athletic department transformation into a top program, and one that is competitive regionally and nationally in the NCAA III. Under Hart’s direction, Webster Athletics moved from a department with 72 student athletes and eight sports to one with 220 student athletes and 16 sports.
Hart takes over a 21-sport athletic program at Berry, which will become a full member of the NCAA’s Division III in 2013-14 and eligible for championships. This past year, the Vikings earned two Southern Athletic Association Championships (men’s soccer and volleyball) and three SAA regular season crowns (volleyball, men’s lacrosse and softball).
“I am extremely excited to arrive on campus, roll up my sleeves and begin working with the coaches and staff at Berry College,” said Hart. “From the moment my family and I visited the campus, we knew it was a special place. With the introduction of football and full membership in Division III, there are all sorts of new challenges and opportunities which provide for a vibrant work environment.”
Prior to his time at Webster, Hart was an assistant basketball coach, coaching professional basketball in the Continental Basketball Association with the Rockford (Ill.) Lightning. Hart also served as head men’s basketball coach at Ulster County Community College and as an assistant at United States International University (NCAA Division I/San Diego).
A native of Utica, N.Y., Hart graduated from New Hartford High School in 1979. He attended Niagara University and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1983. Hart later earned his master’s degree from United States International University 1985. In 2013, Hart earned his Doctorate in management from Webster University.
For the past 16 years Hart served as an adjunct faculty member at Webster as well. He recently taught a first-year seminar entitled “Bruce Springsteen’s America.” He also taught various learning strategies classes as well as health science activity classes.
Hart and his wife Debbie will soon relocate to Rome with their two children: Abby and Joshua.
Hart replaced Todd Brooks, who is now the athletic director at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va.
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