It had been two years and six days, but Binghamton University’s athletic department finally found the face of its future.
In a press conference yesterday, University President C. Peter Magrath introduced Patrick Elliott as the University’s new athletic director. Elliott, who most recently served as athletic director at Saint Peter’s College, will officially begin his appointment Nov. 14.
“This is a good moment for this University,” Magrath said during his opening statements. “We’re moving, we have been moving and we’re going to continue to move.”
Elliot will succeed current athletic director James Norris, who assumed his position in 2009 after controversy surrounding the men’s basketball program led to the resignation of then-AD Joel Thirer. Norris, who carried an interim tag until this past summer, announced in May that he intended to retire at the end of this semester.
Elliott has served as athletic director at Saint Peter’s College since June 2008. He was the sixth AD in the department’s history. His tenure was highlighted by academic success, including the establishment of the Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll. In his first year, Saint Peter’s boasted a 91 percent graduating rate of athletes exhausting eligibility, according to the department’s official website.
“He cares about academics; he cares about athletics; he cares about the students that are part of the program,” Magrath said.
Elliott, who addressed the media during yesterday’s press conference, sported a green BU baseball cap during his remarks.
“It’s an honor, and it’s great to be a Bearcat,” he said. “I am very, very excited about the future. This is a tremendous opportunity.”
Binghamton’s newest athletic director inherits a young program still in its early stages of development. This year marks just the 10th season as a Division I program for BU after the transition.
Elliott commended the progress BU has made thus far.
“We have great facilities, we’re a great staff of people, incredible student-athletes, but the next thing is to get the brand of Binghamton University athletics out there,” Elliott said. “This region has so many people who are very interested in Binghamton athletics, so what I’d like to do is to bring it out to them, and to make sure that BU athletics, throughout the Southern Tier region, is something everyone can identify with.”
Though nearly a year removed from an NCAA investigation of the Binghamton men’s basketball program, questions still arose concerning, as one reporter put it, the “lingering taint.”
“You have to go out and you have to show that we have integrity,” Elliott said. “We’re going to stand for integrity, and we’re going to stand for going forward and showing people that we’re going to run the program, on and off the court, with integrity.”
“You can’t erase things that have happened in the past, but you can move toward the future with integrity and doing the right thing,” he said.
Magrath also took an opportunity to address the issue, citing that Binghamton’s athletic programs are being run “correctly.”
“As far as I’m concerned, what happened, happened,” he said. “If some people think there’s a lingering taint, that’s what they will think. But I know for a fact, that there ain’t been any bad taint for the last year and a half. We’re focused on today, tomorrow and the future.”