Athletics Director O’Connor Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted: June 25, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: June 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm

The Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association recently presented Tom O’Connor, Mason director of athletics, with the 2010 Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award. O’Connor received the award at the annual convention of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in Anaheim, Calif.

It is the highest honor presented by the association.

“Our association is proud to present Tom with the sixth annual Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award,” stated Ken Kavanagh, award committee chair and director of athletics at Florida Gulf Coast University, in a news release.

Kavanagh went on to praise O’Connor as “an innovative, conscientious and visionary administrator who epitomizes the characteristics and contributions for which this highest award of our association represents.”

He added, “Tom’s bold leadership has advanced collegiate athletics — at not only GMU, but each of the four institutions he’s served, and at the national level as well.”

O’Connor, NACDA’s 2006-07 Southeast Region Division I Athletics Director of the Year, recently completed his 16th year as director of athletics at Mason.

Mason recently was recognized nationally as one of 10 institutions earning the 2008 Diversity in Athletics Award in the category of African-American Graduation: Male Student-Athletes.

O’Connor also spearheaded an effort by the university to come into full compliance with Title IX. As a result, Mason perennially ranks among the nation’s best in the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act survey.

Mason is known for its Cinderella run into the 2006 Men’s Basketball Final Four, but numerous other Patriot teams have excelled under O’Connor. Among these are the 2009 baseball team, which tied the school record for wins and winning percentage, and the 2006 nationally ranked men’s volleyball team that just missed making it to the national championship.

Additionally, every athletics facility at Mason has received significant upgrades over the last decade.

On the national level, O’Connor served a five-year term on the prestigious NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Committee and served as chair for the 2007-08 year.

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