From University of Rochester Athletics
The Athletics & Recreation program at the University of Rochester has been highly successful and experienced tremendous growth for more than 16 years. Much of that can be tied to the arrival of George VanderZwaag as Director of Athletics & Recreation.
His professional accomplishments were recognized earlier in April when he was presented with the 2016 Harold J. VanderZwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Massachusetts.
The award is presented on behalf of the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass-Amherst. George VanderZwaag is one of two recipients this year of the award named for his father. The other person is Christine Franklin, a vice-president at Octagon, a large sports marketing and representation agency.
"My father started the UMass program as one of the first of its kind over 40 years ago," VanderZwaag said. "The field has grown to a point where there are now hundreds of programs. Given my long-time relationship with UMass, I am deeply appreciative of the honor. It is the result of working at great institutions with outstanding professionals striving for educational excellence in the college athletics domain."
VanderZwaag earned his M.S. degree in sport management from Massachusetts in 1989. He earned a baccaleaureate degree from Trinity University in Connecticut in 1986.
His current title is Executive Director of Athletics where he oversees a 23-sport intercollegiate program plus the University's Debate Team. The recreation programs at Rochester have doubled in size under his leadership.
Based on overall winning percentage, men's basketball, women's basketball, field hockey, men's soccer, softball, and men's squash completed their most successful decades in school history. Both the men's basketball team (2005) and the squash team (2016) reached the national championship game.
Rochester athletes have earned 124 All-America honors in a variety of sports. Fifty athletes have been named to the Academic All-America Team as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
This marks his 17th year at Rochester having previously served as senior associate athletics director at Princeton University.
"Educationally purposeful athletic programs are increasingly hard to find at the top research universities," VanderZwaag said, "so I am pleased that the preeminent program in the country found our work worthy of recognition through this award."
He has overseen a number of major capital projects, including a $14.6 million renovation of the Goergen Athletic Center and design of the 11,000-square foot Bloch
Fitness Center. He is currently overseeing completion of a $15 million outdoor complex that includes a renovation of the existing stadium and a new locker room facility.