New athletic director spends first summer creating the vision of the future
During his first summer as athletic director at Seton Hall, Patrick Lyons, came into the position with a vision and is looking to share that outlook with the athletic department.
“My job is to be coming in everyday and setting the vision of what we want Seton Hall athletics to be,” Lyons said. “It’s not only about winning but also producing the type of athlete that the university will be proud of.”
Over the past few years the athletic department at the Hall has been one that, at times could be described as unstable.
The past two years has seen both basketball teams get a new head coach along with former athletic director Joe Quinlan resigning last year.
One thing that will not have to get done is another shakeup of the athletic program with Lyons sharing common ground with his associates.
“(Seton Hall) is a great place,” Lyons said. “It’s a place filled with people who are passionate about Seton Hall being successful both academically and athletically.”
Already being comfortable in his surroundings, Lyons now just faces a challenge he feels is everywhere, but is especially difficult to improve at the Hall.
“Resources,” Lyons said. “Anybody can look at the facilities being built around the country and see that athletics are out spending the universities.”
Money is always the biggest factor in improving athletic buildings, but at Seton Hall Lyons also has to deal with limited space that does not allow for big expansion around the campus.
Despite this factor, Lyons still believes that you can sell the Hall to recruits.
“If you come to Seton Hall you will be a part of a special family,” Lyons said about persuading top recruits to come to the Hall. “We only have 14 teams and we can make sure each and every athlete is getting the best experience they possibly can.”
In seven years at Iona, Lyons took the Gales athletic program to new heights winning multiple MAAC championships across a variety of sports, as well as overseeing numerous buildings being built for Iona athletics.
At the Hall, Lyons sees nothing but similar outcomes as a possibility.
“The future is extremely bright for us,” Lyons said. “I think we are going to be able to improve and I am very confident in the staff that we have to accomplish that.”
As much stability that Lyons is looking to bring to the athletic teams, one thing that might not be set for the Pirates in the near future is their conference affiliation.
The New York Post reported on Aug. 2, that Seton Hall could become one of the schools that gets dropped from the Big East if the conference continues to expand.
Acknowledging the rumors, Lyons sees more conference changes throughout the country, but does not see conference affiliation changing at the Hall.
“There will be more conference shakeups,” Lyons said. “But we will not get dropped from the Big East. I will never let that happen.”
Lyons success at Seton Hall won’t be determined for years down the road but he has already tried to make an impact on the athletic department.
“It’s a great place,” Lyons said. “I’m excited every day to come here and advance Seton Hall athletics.”
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org