Recently, Todd Garzarelli was named IUP’s new athletic director, following Steve Roach’s departure in the fall.
The extensive search led to Garzarelli coming to campus for multiple open forums with the community and saw him beat out a variety of experienced candidates.
A Western Pennsylvania native and graduate of Slippery Rock University, Garzarelli said he is excited to be back in the area.
“For my family and myself to be able to return home to Western Pennsylvania and be named AD at one of the best Division II schools in the country is very exciting,” Garzarelli said.
Coming to IUP following a stint as the Wisconsin-Whitewater athletic director, Garzarelli said he wasn’t necessarily looking to move from that school.
“However, there are very few opportunities to come home and work at a top tier institution that you can compete and win championships at a high level like IUP,” he said.
Garzarelli hopes to continue the success that IUP athletics has accrued in recent years and to improve programs that may need some help.
“My main goal has and will always will be focused on the student-athlete experience and providing our coaches and student-athletes the resources necessary to compete at the highest level,” he said.
Garzarelli has gained extensive experience in college athletics since earning his masters in sport management at Northern Illinois University. He’s made stops at eight schools along the way before coming to IUP and plans to stick around for a while.
“They say it’s hard to leave home once you come back,” Garzarelli said.“If we are able to do the things that I want to accomplish here at IUP, there is no reason to leave.”
As for where he believes the athletics department will be in the next few years, Garzarelli has a positive outlook.
“I see us competing on the national stage in multiple sports,” he said.
“I also see us as a model athletic program for others at our level by being creative and cutting-edge on how we approach things and the unique resources that we provide our student-athletes.”
After working at a variety of different schools, going everywhere from Missouri to SUNY Buffalo to the Air Force and U.S. Military Academy (Army), Garzarelli has had no shortage of exciting moments that he’s been a part of.
“It’s hard to pinpoint one thing, but if I have to choose, then it would be being a part of the Army vs. Navy football game,” Garzarelli said. “It is second to none.
“The pageantry, the excitement, the tailgating, the atmosphere in and around the stadium and knowing that they are playing the game just for pride and respect is remarkable. (It) is something on another level and something all sports fans should experience.”
Garzarelli will have the chance to work at the same school as his brother Louis Garzarelli, the current executive director and CEO of IUP’s Student Cooperative Association, and Todd says “words can’t describe” his excitement for that opportunity.
“It is going to be great on both a professional and personal level to be at IUP,” he said. “He is someone that I have always admired and looked up to. Although, I hope he isn’t still telling people that I am adopted, because I got all the height and good looks in the family.”
Garzarelli will start at IUP just after the academic year ends May 13.
What’s the first thing he’ll do upon his return to Indiana?
“The first thing that I am going to do is figure out who owns The Meadows ice cream store. I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time at that place.”