Providence College Athletic Director Bob Driscoll Announces Retirement
Providence College Athletic Director Bob Driscoll announced today (January 21) that he will retire in June after serving the College for 21 years. Driscoll has worked in collegiate athletics for 47 years.
“I feel so fortunate that I have been able to spend the last 21 years as a member of the Providence College family,” Driscoll said. “I came to Providence with a goal of a student-centered vision for athletics. I feel like I have played a part in creating a model program in college athletics with the student-athlete experience at the center of our vision. The support from the College, which included the leadership of Fr. Sicard, Fr. Shanley and Fr. Smith, was instrumental in putting us in a position to succeed. I also have had the honor to work with so many talented administrators and coaches, who have been great teammates and provided wisdom and guidance to help us reach our goals. I have a deep appreciation for the fans and donors who have supported our vision and have helped us transform our athletic department. And lastly, none of this would have been possible without the love and support of my wife, Cathy, and my three children, Tara, Kelly and Sean.”
Driscoll transformed Providence College’s athletics program during his tenure. He established a vision of student-athlete success in the classroom and in the community, while competing for championships. Driscoll maintained focus on leading, fostering and mentoring one of the nation’s most respected athletic programs. Over the past 21 years, Driscoll was the architect of one of the most successful eras in the history of Providence College athletics.
“Providence College has been blessed to have Bob Driscoll at the helm of our Athletics program for the past 21 years,” Providence College President Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard O.P., said. “Throughout his tenure, his commitment to Providence College and to our student-athletes has never wavered. He has always been focused on supporting their development not only as athletes but also in and out of the classroom. He sets high expectations for them and following Bob’s example, they have been outstanding representatives of Providence College. The graduation records of hundreds of PC student-athletes as well as their record of service and commitment in the local community are testimony to that fact. In addition, Bob has brought some of the best men’s and women’s coaches in the country to our campus, and has instilled in them his ideals and vision for our Athletics program. He has been a valued member of my Cabinet and is a trusted colleague to many of us in the Friar Family. We are grateful for the leadership he has provided at PC. I wish him the best in this new period of his life. He will be greatly missed.”
During the last decade, Providence College has enjoyed sustained success in addition to capturing multiple championships beginning with the 2013 women’s cross-country team claiming the College’s second NCAA title. It continued with the men’s basketball team winning the 2014 BIG EAST Tournament title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament in five-consecutive seasons from 2014-18. The men’s hockey team made two Frozen Four appearances and six-consecutive NCAA Tournaments, capturing its first NCAA Championship with a dramatic, come-from-behind win over Boston University on April 11, 2015 at the TD Garden. It marked the College’s third NCAA team title and its first in a men’s sport. The men’s soccer team has qualified for 10 NCAA Tournaments during Driscoll’s tenure, which includes four trips to the round of 16, two quarterfinal appearances and one trip to the College Cup.
“Bob has been an amazing coach, leader and friend during my 11 years at Providence College,” Providence College Men’s Basketball Coach Ed Cooley stated. “His ability to think outside the box and be creative are just a few the qualities that helped make him so effective. Not only has he been a visionary athletic director, but he has been a mentor and a father figure, who has helped me grow. Bob has given all his coaches the opportunity to have success. Most importantly, Bob is a caring person who always put the student-athletes’ well-being before all else. We will all miss his leadership.”
In 2020, Driscoll was recognized with the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Builders’ Award. For the second time in his tenure, Driscoll was recognized as the Under Armour I-AAA Athletics Director of the Year at the 51st Annual National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) convention in June 2016. In June 2008, Driscoll also was named the 2007-08 Astro Turf Athletics Director of the Year for the Division I Northeast Region at the 43rd National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Annual Convention.
One of the biggest impacts Driscoll has had on the Providence College Athletics Department, and the College as a whole, has been with facility development, construction, and renovation. Kicking off Driscoll’s vision for the improved athletic facilities footprint at Providence College, the Concannon Fitness Center opened in August of 2007, adjacent to Lennon Family Field (Astroturf facility), which was completed in August 2005. A new Astroturf surface was installed on Lennon Family Field in the summer of 2017 in addition to a new videoboard in the summer of 2018.
In the spring of 2012, the College began a $3 million overhaul of Alumni Hall, which included seat backs, new lighting, air conditioning, video scoreboard and control room, media workspace, sound system and a host of other amenities. The renovation project was completed in October 2012.
On April 11, 2014, the College celebrated the opening of Ray Treacy Track which serves as the primary training facility for the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams. The complex has a six-lane lane track with eight-lane straightaways, which encompasses a turf field. Hendricken Field, which situated on the interior of the track, is used by the College’s rugby team and other intramural sports. The complex has seating for more than 300 fans, as well as a press box and a scoreboard.
Construction of Chapey Field at Anderson Stadium, where the men’s and women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse programs play, was completed in 2015. The College also built a new softball complex, known as Glay Field, in addition to building six tennis courts adjacent to Anderson Stadium. Driscoll also oversaw the 2013 renovation of Schneider Arena – home of the Friar men’s and women’s hockey teams.
In August 2018, construction was completed on the $35 million Ruane Friar Development Center — a student-athlete training and recruiting facility. The 58,218 square foot Friar Ruane Development Center also houses the athletic department’s Innovation Lab – a state-of-the-art facility that is available to each of our 350+ NCAA Division I student-athletes. The lab is part of the overall Sports Medicine Department, with a primary focus on rest and recovery.
Other facility upgrades that have highlighted Driscoll’s tenure include an $80-million renovation of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, which serves as the home venue for Friars men’s basketball. The project was the result of Driscoll working strategically with lead officials in the City of Providence and the State of Rhode Island. The renovations enhanced the game-day experience by adding 20 luxury boxes, new seats, a video scoreboard, sound system, updated restaurant and concession stands, team store, locker rooms and new weight training/fitness areas. These renovations have enabled Providence College to serve as host for the First and Second Rounds of the 2010, 2016, and the future 2025 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.
Driscoll established the athletic fundraising philosophy and the Friars Athletic Fund, led by its fundraising and development staff, has been instrumental in making program upgrades possible. The athletic department has exceeded fundraising goals on a yearly basis, exceeding $7 million in cash donations annually. During his 21 years at the College, the department has fundraised more than $100 million and annual donations have increased by 700 percent.
In 2019, Driscoll was named as the AD Representative for the BIG EAST Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. This group is tasked to review policies, initiatives and best practices among BIG EAST member institutions and other athletics conferences and develop strategies designed to enhance the athletics-related D&I efforts already underway on BIG EAST campuses. In collaboration with PC’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Driscoll helped create a position on campus: “Director of Training and Education for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” The goal of this position is to strengthen and build upon the College’s efforts to cultivate policies, practices and structures that ensure an inclusive, equitable and hospitable environment for students, student-athletes, staff, trainers, and coaches.
In the past, Driscoll served as the President of the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association. He also served as First Vice President and Second Vice President for the organization. Driscoll previously served on the NCAA Division I Management Council, the NCAA Ice Hockey Championship Committee (Chair 2010-11) and was the Chair of the BIG EAST Athletic Directors in 2011-12. Driscoll also was an NCAA Fellows Programs Executive Mentor. Currently, Driscoll serves on the BIG EAST Finance Committee with the league’s other presidents and the ECAC Board. He also is a Chair for the Hockey East Board of Directors and the BIG EAST Planning Committee. Additionally, Driscoll represents the BIG EAST’s athletic directors on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, serves as a mentor for the Division I-AAA mentoring program and serves on the Hockey East Television Negotiations and Marketing Committees.
Driscoll joined the Providence community after 14½ years in athletic administration at the University of California, Berkeley, culminating in service as the Acting Executive Director for Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports.
Driscoll was hired at Cal as the Associate Athletic Director for Student Services, a position he held for five years. He then assumed the position of Executive Associate Athletic Director, at which point he was responsible for the administration of 27 varsity sports, and a staff of 250. Prior to coming to Providence, he served as the Acting Executive Director for Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports. During his tenure, Cal won over 20 national championships and competed in the Citrus, Copper, Alamo, and Aloha Bowls. The Bears also finished as high as 12th in the NACDA Directors’ Cup.
Before arriving at Cal, Driscoll served six years (1981-87) as the Athletic Director and Chair of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Intramural Sports at Mills College in Oakland, Calif. Prior to Mills, Driscoll was Assistant Athletic Director and Head Baseball and Hockey Coach at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. from 1977-81. Driscoll played hockey, where he was captain and team MVP for three-consecutive years, and baseball at Ithaca College (N.Y.). He received a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1974 and his Master of Science in physical education/psychology of sports from Ithaca in 1975.
A native of West Concord, Mass., Driscoll was inducted into the inaugural class of Concord-Carlisle High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame (football, ice hockey and baseball) in 1993. He was also inducted into the 50th Anniversary Class of Ithaca College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019. He and his wife Cathy have three grown children.