John D'Argenio - Vice President and Director of Athletics
John D'Argenio was appointed director of athletics on April 21, 1993, after serving as the acting director of athletics for the 1992-93 academic year. On January 27, 2014, he was promoted to Vice President at Siena College and asked to join the President's Cabinet. Many new initiatives have been set forth and much progress has been made in the athletic department during D'Argenio's tenure.
The department's first academic advising office was created and a full-time advisor was hired to work with all of Siena's student-athletes. The academic office has been responsible for implementing a tutoring program, developing educational programming and producing a student-athlete population whose graduation success rate (GSR) has ranked among the best in the country. In the NCAA's most recent graduation success rate report, Siena student athletes graduated at a 93% rate which was the eighth best rate in the country. The department has ranked among the top-10% nationally in each report.
As part of the College's efforts to address gender equity, the women's sports programs have expanded immensely in the past two decades. With the addition of golf, women's swimming and diving, women's water polo and the elevation of lacrosse from club to varsity status, Siena now sponsors 11 Division I women's sports.
In 1996 D'Argenio was instrumental in negotiating Siena's agreement with the County of Albany and Times Union Center (formerly Pepsi Arena) to move all of the College's men's home basketball games to the downtown facility. The move to the state-of-the-art downtown Albany facility culminated in Siena and the Arena signing a five-year contract and most recently an extension through 2016. Since the move, the men's basketball team has seen its attendance soar to the top-70 nationally and set program records each of the past two seasons. A record 133,505 spectators attended Siena men's basketball games in 2009-10.
Siena Athletics has made major strides in revenue generation under D'Argenio's leadership. An active corporate partnership program continues to grow each year with over 50 local, regional and national companies supporting the Saints.
Athletic Development giving has grown significantly as well. Saints Alive!, the department's athletic development organization, was initiated in 1998 to formalize and bring structure to the department's fund raising efforts and its membership has grown each year since. Anchored by the men's basketball premium seating program, Saints Alive! annually raises in excess of $500,000. Those funds directly support the College's student athletes, coaches and staff.
Athletics is one of four pillars in the College's ongoing Strategic Plan: Living Our Tradition. Significant enhancements are included in the plan, highlighted by the complete renovation of Siena's Alumni Recreation Center - a project scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2015. As part of the Strategic Plan, D'Argenio has hired the department's first Director of Student Athlete Engagement to help promote and develop academic enrichment opportunities for Siena's student athletes, including internships, participation in undergrad research, independent study, and original programming.
Siena teams have enjoyed conference-wide as well as regional and national success. In 2008-2009 four sports teams captured MAAC Championships, highlighted by the men's basketball team's memorable run to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament after an upset of Big Ten power Ohio State. The Saints' volleyball team won its fourth straight MAAC title in the fall of 2008 and men's lacrosse captured its first MAAC Championship in the spring. In 2009-10, the men's basketball team earned its third straight trip to the Big Dance with its third consecutive MAAC Title and the women's golf team won an unprecedented 10th straight MAAC Championship with an extended field.
Athletic success has been a constant for the past two decades under D'Argenio's supervision. In 1994 the men's basketball team advanced to the National Invitation Tournament semifinals at Madison Square Garden. The Saints made their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010, after capturing their fifth MAAC title since 1999. The women's basketball team has captured seven regular-season Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titles, and in 2001 advanced to its first NCAA Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. The Saints have played in three postseason WNIT's as well, advancing as far as the round of 16 in 1998. Siena has registered eight MAAC volleyball championships and four MAAC baseball titles during D'Argenio's tenure. The women's soccer program has consistently finished in the upper echelon of the MAAC and in 2010 captured its first MAAC Championship and NCAA Women's College Cup Appearance while being ranked No. 25 in the Soccer America Top-25 Poll for consecutive weeks. The women's tennis team won the MAAC in 2006 and men's lacrosse is a program on the rise as evidenced by four consecutive MAAC Regular Season Championships including MAAC Championships in 2009 and 2011 which led to the program's first NCAA Tournament Appearances. In 2011, men's lacrosse earned its first-ever national ranking as the Saints were ranked No. 20 in both the final USILA Coaches' Poll and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll and since 2007 the program has won 68 games - the sixth highest total in the nation. All totaled the Saints have won 35 MAAC championships under D'Argenio's direction.
Siena's athletic facilities have been dramatically enhanced in the last 17 years. In 2007, the department debuted an artificial turf facility that serves as the home field for the field hockey and lacrosse programs. In 2004, the Callanan Field House was expanded. The expansion features four team rooms as well as the Turchi Theater, a 32-seat room equipped with the latest in digital editing and presentation equipment. In the summer of 2008, Siena enhanced its academic study center, providing a first rate facility for student-athletes to pursue their academic goals. On May 5, 2010, the Raymond Center and Harry Mikhitarian Golf Training Facility was dedicated and serves as the new home for Siena golf. The state-of-the-art facility features a custom putting green, as well as an indoor driving range, a swing/video analysis center and a player lounge.
In 1995, D'Argenio served as Tournament Director for the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds at Knickerbocker Arena. He again assumed those duties in March of 2003, as Siena served as the host institution for the men's basketball East (Albany) Regional at Pepsi Arena after co-hosting the NCAA wrestling National Championships in March of 2002. The Saints have hosted numerous NIT and Women's NIT games as well, including a remarkable six in 2003.
D'Argenio has served as a member of the NCAA Division I Baseball committee and currently sits on the MAAC marketing and strategic planning committees. He also serves as chair of the MAAC baseball and MAAC basketball committees.
D'Argenio earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Dayton in 1982 and a master's of science degree from North Dakota State University in 1985. He is a native of Rome, N.Y.