NEW PALTZ — After seven years as Director of Athletics at SUNY New Paltz, Jim Zalacca has decided to accept an offer to head the athletic department at SUNY rival Potsdam.
Zalacca, who currently resides in Clifton Park, came to New Paltz in the summer of 1993 after spending three years as Athletic Director at Castleton State (Vt.) College.
“I am really looking forward to this new challenge at SUNY Potsdam,” Zalacca said. “They have a documented history of athletic success – as evidenced by national championships in men’s basketball – and the current administration seems intent on achieving that level of success once again.”
“At the same time I feel that I have left the New Paltz program on solid ground and poised to move forward as facilities improve,” he said.
Over the last seven years, much in the New Paltz athletic department has changed for the better.
The university added the women’s sports of field hockey, lacrosse, and track and field, and the men’s track and field program – dormant since in the 1970s – has returned. New Paltz currently offers 20 intercollegiate sports – 11 for women and nine for men.
“Jim was instrumental in creating full-time coaching positions and supporting the development of sports here,” said Barbara Geider, vice president for student affairs. “With those positions, we have been able to recruit and retain qualified, inspirational coaches who are leading our students to success in athletic competition, as well as in the classroom.”
During his time at New Paltz, Zalacca was an active participant in the planning of a new Athletic and Recreation Complex, which New Paltz has sought for some time. Construction on the first phase of the project – a performance gymnasium – is expected to begin next summer.
Zalacca has also given the university a voice through his service on numerous regional and national committees, including the prestigious Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Executive Council and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee.
He is a member of the ECAC’s Robbins Scholar-Athlete Award Division III and Men’s Basketball Team Award Committees, and will be the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) President this academic year.
He was the SUNYAC President-Elect and Finance Committee Chair in 1999-2000 and the SUNYAC Men’s Division Representative from 1997-99.
“We wish Jim the best of luck in his new position,” Geider said. “While he is leaving New Paltz, he is still with us as part of the larger SUNY family.”
Zalacca’s last day at New Paltz will be September 13. A search committee will be formed in the coming weeks to lead a national search for a new athletic director.
Photos of Jim Zalacca can be downloaded from the SUNY New Paltz web site at http://www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/zalacca.html.