ECAC Names 2014 Commissioner’s Award Recipients

ECAC Names 2014 Commissioner’s Award Recipients

DANBURY, Conn. – Eastern College Athletic Conference Commissioner (ECAC) Dr. Kevin T. McGinniss announced today the four recipients of the 2014 ECAC Commissioner's Award. The list includes former Siena College Associate Athletics Director Joyce Eggleston, former University of Connecticut Women’s Cross Country/Track and Field Coach Bill Morgan, former Manhattan College Athletics Director Bob Byrnes, and former University of Hartford Athletics Director Pat Meiser. McGinniss will also present the ECAC Commissioner’s Outstanding Service Award to the 2014 ECAC NCAA Division I Men’s Frozen Four Organizing Staff. All honorees will be recognized at the 2014 ECAC Honors Dinner at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, Mass.

The ECAC Commissioner’s Award is presented for meritorious service to the ECAC or an ECAC member institution. The recipient must have demonstrated significant accomplishment in his or her chosen professional field or on the athletic field.

Joyce Eggleston, Former Siena Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Woman’s Administrator

After 35 years of service to Siena College, Joyce Eggleston, former Associate Director of Saint Athletics, retired this past January. Although that was her final title at Siena, Eggleston served a host of duties during her three and half decades in the Siena Athletic Department. Hired originally as a Women’s Athletic Coordinator, she oversaw all aspects of the women’s intercollegiate and intramural programs, while also serving as the school’s first-ever field hockey and softball head coach.

Following her promotion to Associate A.D., Eggleston was responsible for the administration of a number of student-athlete services, including: student-athlete engagement, academic support, and educational programming. She was also the senior compliance officer for the athletic department, monitoring NCAA rules and regulations concerning student-athlete eligibility, financial aid and recruitment.

Eggleston served on a variety of committees and organizations over her career as well. She served as the vice-chair of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Committee on Athletic Administration, chair of the women's lacrosse committee and also was a member of the MAAC Gender Equity and Diversity,

“I am extremely honored to receive the Commissioner’s Award from the ECAC,” said Eggleston. “ It has been exciting to see the positive growth of the ECAC over the years and I can honestly say one of the highlights of my career was serving on the conference’s Board of Directors.”

Bill Morgan, Former UCONN Head Women’s Cross Country/Track and Field Coach

Bill Morgan retired this past July after 33 years of coaching women’s cross country and track and field at the University of Connecticut. After serving as an assistant coach for 22 years, Morgan was promoted to head coach in 2004. Morgan was part of all 45 of UConn’s track and field championships, along with countless individual accolades over his career. Specializing in coaching field events and multi-events, he created a legacy of excellence, guiding numerous student-athletes to collegiate, national and Olympic Trials success.

Over his three-plus decades in Storrs, UConn totaled 212 conference championships, 45 ECAC titles, 88 New England championships, and 56 All-American titles. As a team, Morgan saw the Huskies win four Big East championships, nine ECAC titles, 32 New England Championships and finish second in ten Big East Championships. Morgan was also an eight-time NCAA District Coach of the Year honoree.

In 2012-13, Morgan led the Huskies to nine All-American titles, five New England championships, four ECAC championships, three Big East titles and the program's seventh consecutive team New England Championship.

Morgan also participated in the USA Track and Field Women's Junior Elite Throws Camp in San Diego and the USA Track and Field Women's Elite Heptathlon Summit in Tucson, Arizona. He has also published articles on topics related to imagery in sport. In 2002, Morgan was recognized as an AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year for distinguished service at the University of Connecticut.

"It is an absolutely incredible honor to be recognized with the ECAC Commissioner's Award,” said Morgan. “To make a career contribution considered by such a distinguished and respected group as significant to our profession is both humbling and sincerely appreciated.”

Bob Byrnes, Former Manhattan College Athletics Director

Bob Byrnes retired this past year after serving as Manhattan College Athletics Director for 26 years.

During Byrnes' tenure, student-athletes represented Manhattan College at 14 various conference championships and 27 received Academic All-American honors.  In addition, women’s soccer and men’s and women’s lacrosse began competition at the Division I level for the Jaspers.

Manhattan enjoyed unprecedented success from its basketball programs with Byrnes at the helm. The men’s and women’s teams earned berths into six NCAA Tournaments with the men advancing to the second round in 1995, defeating Oklahoma and besting Florida in 2004. In addition to the NCAA appearances, the Jaspers appeared in five postseason and preseason National Invitational Tournaments (NIT). Throughout his entire career, Byrnes served as the chair of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Men’s Basketball Committee. Additionally, he was a representative
to the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association, the sponsoring body of the NIT.

Byrnes graduated from Manhattan in 1968 and was a member of the Jaspers’ club football team. Before returning to his alma mater, Byrnes spent 13 years managing Labor- Relations for Morrison-Knudsen Company, one of the largest engineering firms in the nation.  In recognition of his years of outstanding contributions to Jasper athletics, Byrnes was inducted into the Manhattan College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. He is a member of Phi Epsilon Kappa and the Pen and Sword Society at his alma mater. In 2012, the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association presented Byrnes with the organization's Distinguished Service Award.  Byrnes now serves as an athletics consultant.

“I was fortunate to have a career that allowed me to proudly serve my alma mater for 26 years,” said Byrnes. “Collaborating with respected colleagues affiliated with the ECAC contributed to my success at Manhattan College. I am honored to receive the Commissioners Award.”

Pat Meiser, Former University of Hartford Athletics Director

Pat Meiser retired this past July after 21 years at the helm of the University of Hartford Athletic Department and 44 years working in college athletics. Moving over to Hartford in 1993 after serving as an associate athletic director at the University of Connecticut, Meiser started her Hawk legacy as just one of 13 female athletic directors at the Division I level.

Among her greatest feats at Hartford was the hiring of former UConn women’s basketball icon Jen Rizzotti to lead the Hartford women’s program in 1999. Rizzotti has led the Hawks to five America East Conference Championships and five berths into the NCAA Tournament. In addition to women’s basketball, seven other Hartford teams have won America East Championships and played in either the NCAA Tournament or other national postseason play during Meiser’s tenure.

Fund-raising has also been a great strength of Meiser’s over her two-plus decades at Hartford. Under Meiser, Hartford improved its athletic facilities ten fold, including the renovation of the existing soccer and lacrosse field, the relocation and construction of a softball field, and the construction of a track surrounding an all-purpose field.

In Meiser’s final three years, Hartford won the America East Academic Cup, which is given to the institution in the conference that posted the highest grade-point average (GPA) for the academic year. This past year, Hartford student-athletes compiled a 3.28 GPA, the highest in the 19-year history of the award.

"I am very pleased and proud to receive the 2014 ECAC Commissioner's Award,” said Meiser. “While the ECAC has grown significantly over the years, it has kept the core mission of commitment to championship opportunities for so many of our student athletes.”

The ECAC Commissioner’s Outstanding Service Award will go to the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Frozen Four ECAC Organizing Staff comprised of Steve Hagwell (Tournament Director), Pat Murphy (Assistant Tournament Director), Emily Dorman (Host Athletic Trainer), Ed Krajewski, Wayne Dean, Drew Brown, Katie Boldvich, and Stephanie Scarpato for their efforts in hosting a successful 2014 Frozen Four in Philadelphia last April.

“On behalf of everyone who comprised our 2014 Frozen Four group, it is a tremendous honor to receive the ECAC Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Service,” said Hagwell. “It truly was my privilege to serve with an extraordinary group of talented and dedicated individuals, whose tireless efforts resulted in a memorable Frozen Four experience. This award most certainly is a group honor.”

About the ECAC

In the 75 years since its inception, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) has emerged as the nation's largest Conference. The ECAC has grown considerably from its charter membership of 58, currently boasting over 300 member schools in Divisions I, II and III, ranging in location from Maine to South Carolina, and westerly to Missouri.  In the 2014-15 academic year, the ECAC will host nearly 100 championships in 37 men's and women's sports as the sponsors of over 5,800 varsity teams and 111,000 male and female athletes. For more information, visit www.ecacsports.com.