Former Monmouth University Vice President and Director of Athletics Marilyn McNeil, Ed.D., has been chosen by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) to be part the Association’s Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
In addition to McNeil, the 2023 NACDA Hall of Fame class includes: Jim Abbott, Oklahoma City University; Art Becker, Scottsdale Community College; Bob Bowlsby, Stanford University; Bob Driscoll, Providence College; Carl Heinrich, Johnson County Community College; Lynn Thompson, Bethune-Cookman University; and Perk Weisenburger, Ferris State University. The group of deserving individuals will be honored in conjunction with the 58th Annual NACDA & Affiliates Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Fla., at the beginning of the Association-Wide Featured Session on Monday, June 12, starting at 4 p.m.
McNeil retired from her 53-year career in collegiate athletics on June 30, 2021. During that time McNeil was a student-athlete, coached at the collegiate level, served as an administrator, and spent 28 years as Monmouth University’s director of athletics.
McNeil elevated Monmouth to one of the premier mid-major Division I programs in the country. During her tenure, the Hawks won 119 regular season conference championships while making 38 team appearances in various NCAA Tournaments. The Hawks claimed 11 overall Commissioner’s Cups in the Northeast Conference (NEC) and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and finished lower than second just once (third in 1998-99) during her time in West Long Branch. On a national scale, McNeil’s contributions to Title IX cannot be overstated. The Hawks added seven sports during McNeil’s tenure, five of which added collegiate opportunities for women.
A well-respected member of the athletics administration community, McNeil held several national prestigious positions. She served on the Division I NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics and the Management Council as well as held the office of President for Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA), the same Association that named her 2001 Division I-AAA Administrator of the Year. McNeil also served a five-year term on the Division I NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee, where she was named chair for the 2010-11 season. She also spent time as President of FCS ADA.
McNeil has dedicated her life to gender equality in athletics. A champion of Title IX, she was the first female athletics director at any New Jersey college or university when she was hired at Monmouth in 1994. She went right to work instituting change, not only on the local level but at the national level, too. In her first year at Monmouth, she brought what was the first all-female Division I voting delegation with her to the NCAA Convention. She worked tirelessly to make sure the budgets, staffing and hiring practices were reflective of her own commitment to equality while always lending her expertise to women looking to start or further a career in college athletics. Under her leadership the university was awarded an “A” grade by the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sports for the number of women head coaches at Monmouth.
Facility highlights during McNeil’s watch included the 2009 addition of the OceanFirst Bank Center, home to Monmouth’s basketball and track and field programs, as well as the massive 2017 renovation of Kessler Stadium, where football, lacrosse and track and field compete. Hesse Field on The Great Lawn added lights in 2011, allowing the soccer programs to host night games, and field turf in 2014. Monmouth field hockey’s So Sweet A Cat Field was dedicated in 2007 and received upgrades in turf (2018) and a new scoreboard (2019), while the Hawks added an Outdoor Tennis Complex in 2009 and the Patrice Murray Tennis House five years later. Monmouth’s bowling team secured a permanent on-campus home in 2014 with the addition of the Cinello Family Bowling Center adjacent to Boylan Gymnasium. All of Monmouth’s teams have benefitted from the facelift of the varsity weight room which opened in January 2020.
In November 2021, the Monmouth University Board of Trustees announced the dedication of Dr. Marilyn A. McNeil Arena in recognition of McNeil’s longstanding service to the university and her profound impact on countless student-athletes.
McNeil is the mother of two, Tasha and Derek, and the grandmother of three, Annie, Amelia and Oliver, which she considers her greatest achievement