Parker Named National Athletic Director of the Year by NACDA

Rollins Director of Athletics Pennie Parker has been named a National Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

Photo by Scott Cook Photo by Scott Cook

Pennie Parker, director of athletics, has recently been named National Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

Now in its 56th year, NACDA is the professional and educational association for more than 22,000 college athletics administrators at more than 2,200 institutions throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Nominators for the prestigious Athletic Director of the Year (ADOY) award include NACDA-member directors of athletics, institutional presidents, and conference commissioners as well as other respected intercollegiate athletics administrators. 

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. Criteria for the recognition include service as an athletics director for a minimum of five consecutive years; demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes; continual teamwork, loyalty, and excellence; and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments.

“As we reflect upon all that has happened in our industry and in our world over the past year, it is more important than ever to honor the dedication and passion that NACDA athletics directors have for their student-athletes, institutions, and campus communities,” says Bob Vecchione, CEO of NACDA. “We applaud the efforts of the men and women across the country who have served as a source of inspiration and strength in leading their departments through this unprecedented time.”

Since joining Rollins in 2002 and being named director of athletics in 2006, Parker has led the Tars in an era of unparalled success. She is charged with maintaining the department’s stellar reputation both athletically and academically while adhering to the Rollins mission of producing global citizens and responsible leaders.

Under Parker’s leadership, Rollins has won three NCAA Division II National Championships, 22 Sunshine State Conference (SSC) titles, 13 SSC Tournaments, and five SSC Mayor’s Cup All-Sport trophies. She has partnered with the Office of Institutional Advancement to create seven endowed scholarships and has helped secured funding to endow two head coaching positions.

This award from NACDA is the latest in a long line of honors bestowed on Parker, who just this past September was named 2020’s NCAA Division II Nike Administrator of the Year for her strong commitment to both athletic and academic success.

In 2015, Parker was selected to serve on the NCAA Division II Management Council, was named chair of the NCAA Division II Management Council in 2018, and is currently serving on the NCAA Legislation Committee. Parker began service on the NACDA Executive Committee in summer 2015 and has recently been named secretary of NACDA.

Parker was appointed to the Division II Athletic Director’s Association (ADA) Board of Directors in 2011, serving as the president of the association for one year. During her tenure on the board, she acted as the liaison to the DII NCAA mentoring program and currently serves as the liaison for the distinguished NCAA Pathway Program.

In 2007, Parker was tasked with building two varsity programs from the ground up, and by the 2008 season, both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams were competing in NCAA Division II. The Tars women’s team has become a national powerhouse, reaching the national semifinals in 2012 and 2013.

During her time at Rollins, Parker has continued to grow the Athletics department’s academic profile. The College has received the Division II President’s Awards for Academic Excellence for 10 consecutive seasons, and student-athletes have posted a GPA above 3.0 for more than 30 straight semesters. Under Parker’s leadership, eight student-athletes have been named valedictorians.

“It is a privilege to be part of the Rollins family,” says Parker. “I enjoy serving the student-athletes, coaches, faculty and staff, and continuing to enhance the tradition of academic and athletic success at the College.”