Leadership for a new era

Leadership for a new era


A message from President Ali Houshmand:

Over the past six months, the University has engaged in a careful and comprehensive review of our Athletics program. What started as a complaint by students about gender equity issues grew into a much broader conversation about the entire program. I expressed at the outset of this process, and reaffirm now, my gratitude to all those who demonstrated courage in stepping forward to share their views.

Through our ongoing examination, we have gained new insights. While such intense focus has been uncomfortable for all, we have confirmed that we have a group of committed coaches, administrators, trainers and staff who tirelessly work every day on behalf of our student-athletes. I assure you we will continue to do what is necessary to support them and achieve greater levels of understanding, communication, inclusion and accomplishments within and beyond Rowan athletics.

This is an opportune time to announce a significant transition in the program’s leadership.

I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, John Giannini, Ph.D., will serve as interim athletic director, succeeding Dan Gilmore, who is retiring after 43 years at Rowan. Dr. Giannini is an educator as well as former basketball coach at Rowan and LaSalle universities and the University of Maine.

Last July, Dr. Giannini returned to Rowan to develop the Center for Sports Communication & Social Impact in the College of Communication & Creative Arts, serving as its founding director this past year. In addition to leading the new center, John taught in the Sports Communication & Media program and mentored students seeking careers in the field.

During his first stint at Rowan, from 1989 to 1996, Dr. Giannini amassed a 168-38 record. In 1996, he led the men’s basketball team to an NCAA Division III national championship. That year, he was named the Division III Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. In all, his teams made three final four appearances.

He earned his doctorate in kinesiology, specializing in sport psychology, from the University of Illinois. Dr. Giannini earned his master’s degree, also specializing in sport psychology, from the University of North Texas. His bachelor’s degree in psychology is from North Central College in Illinois.

Dr. Giannini brings to the AD position an impressive NCAA track record (see his story at Rowan Today) and a keen commitment to helping student-athletes succeed and thrive in all areas of their lives. His passion and energy are contagious attributes that will strengthen the program and impact our student-athletes in many positive ways.

Dan Gilmore served as the head men’s soccer coach from 1976 to 2013 and as athletic director for the past nine years. Rowan is grateful to Dan for his contributions to our Athletics program during a period of rapid growth. We thank Dan and wish him the best.

Dr. Giannini will report to Senior Vice President for Administration Bob Zazzali and will work closely with me to create a model Division III athletics program. Dr. Giannini’s appointment as interim athletic director is for a year, at which time the University will assess whether to conduct a national search for a permanent director.

As I mentioned in past updates, a comprehensive program review being conducted by an expert consultant in collegiate athletics is due at the end of the month. Human Resources has, however, completed its own review. We will use the findings of both reports to develop the vision for Athletics. The Human Resources report will remain confidential in accordance with our employment practices, but the findings of the consultant’s report will be shared with the University community.

It is clear that the Rowan Athletics program, supported by so many talented and committed professionals, has a strong foundation upon which to build and grow.

I thank the University community for its continued interest in our commitment to support Athletics and its vital role at the institution. 

Please feel free to contact the Office of the President at officeofthepresident@rowan.edu with any questions.


Ali A. Houshmand