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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation

UChicago’s Erin McDermott Named Director of Athletics at Harvard

UChicago’s Erin McDermott Named Director of Athletics at Harvard

CHICAGO – Harvard University announced on Thursday that Erin McDermott has been hired as the school's Director of Athletics.

McDermott served as Director of Athletics & Recreation at the University of Chicago for the past seven years. During her tenure, she provided strategic leadership for athletics and recreational sport and fitness programs for the University community. Her oversight included 20 intercollegiate sports, more than 40 sport clubs, an intramural sports program with thousands of student participants annually, a robust FitChicago program, and facilities.

"I am profoundly grateful to both the University of Chicago and Harvard University," McDermott said. "Seven years ago, I was given the opportunity to lead a department during a transformational time. In turn, it has been transformative for me and a privilege to serve students, proud Maroon alumni and every person who works in every capacity for Athletics & Recreation. I leave now to accept another tremendous opportunity that also promises exciting possibilities while serving an incredible institution of excellence with passionate students, alumni and campus community."

Since McDermott's arrival in July 2013, the Maroons achieved tremendous success on the national landscape within NCAA Division III.

  • 7 NCAA individual event championships
  • 48 teams qualified for NCAA postseason play
  • 10 teams finished in the top four at their NCAA national championships
  • 19 University Athletic Association (UAA) team championships
  • 6 finishes in the top 20 of the year-end Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings (out of 450 NCAA Division III institutions)

In addition, 15 Maroon student-athletes were selected as Collegiate Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA) Academic All-Americans – considered to be the most prestigious academic award in collegiate athletics.

McDermott makes her return to The Ivy League as the eighth athletic director in Harvard's history. As the nation's largest Division I athletics program, the Crimson boast approximately 1,200 intercollegiate athletes across 42 varsity sports. McDermott previously worked in the athletic administrations at Princeton University and Columbia University.

UChicago recorded its highest finish ever in the annual Learfield rankings, earning ninth place at the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year. McDermott was named one of 28 winners of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Under Armour AD of the Year award in March 2019. The ADOY award highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses, and their surrounding communities.

Under McDermott's leadership, UChicago Athletics & Recreation reached several major milestones. Women's lacrosse was added as the school's 20th varsity sport and began competition in spring 2019. UChicago entered its first ever department-wide apparel agreement with Adidas, and the department underwent a full identity rebrand of its name and official logos. In recent years, McDermott oversaw the first ever Athletics & Recreation Strategic Space Planning study. The Friends of Maroon Athletics annual giving society was also launched to enrich and enhance student-athlete experiences.

McDermott has served on several national committees including: the Executive Committee of the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) and the Board of Directors for Women Leaders in College Sports. She is also a member of NACDA.