New athletic director brings D1 experience to UW-Whitewater

Jack Miller, Assistant Sports Editor

UW-Whitewater athletics seem to have found the leader it was looking for.

Todd Garzarelli was named director of intercollegiate athletics at the University of Whitewater on June 20, and formally took office on July 10.

Kevin Bullis, head coach of the Warhawk football team, was on the search committee that selected Garzarelli as the new UW-W athletic director.

“Todd really stuck out in the sense of all the experience he’s had with internal and external experiences in athletics,” Bullis said.

Before his selection as athletic director at Whitewater, Garzarelli was the senior associate athletic director for external affairs at University at Buffalo.

Garzarelli is deeply rooted in athletic external affairs, which is evident in his career past. He held external athletic positions at both Northwestern State University and Southern Illinois University. He was also the associate athletic director for marketing at Northern Illinois University.

Some of the external responsibilities that Garzarelli held at Buffalo consisted of overseeing athletic communications, corporate and ticket sales, social media, promotions and community relations.

At Buffalo, Garzarelli thrived in his duties. Most notably, he got Buffalo Athletics its first ever six-figure sponsorship and produced $1.45 million through the corporate sponsorship program in 2015-2016, the most ever in a fiscal year at Buffalo.

Garzarelli also oversaw the growth of several key aspects while at Buffalo. Over a three-year span general attendance at Buffalo men’s basketball games grew by 11 percent. The social media numbers for Buffalo grew by 66 percent for Twitter and 59 percent for Facebook under Garzarelli.

Garzarelli takes the helm of one of the most successful Division III athletic departments in the country. The Warhawks have captured nine national championships in team sports since 2012.

Garzarelli noted what it was like to come into an established program such as UW-Whitewater.

“You never want to walk in and have immediate change,” Garzarelli said. “Especially at an institution that has competed at such a high level across the board in all sports for such a long time.”

Instead of focusing on major overhauls, Garzarelli said he is more concerned on becoming integrated into UW-Whitewater.

“For me, it’s really coming in and learning the culture and the system, the things that are in place,” Garzarelli said. “Maybe tweaking one or two things right away, but really learning the culture and seeing where we can get better on the external side.”

Lance Leipold, current head football coach at the University at Buffalo and former head football coach at UW-Whitewater, said Garzarelli will use his experience and success to maintain and even surpass the standards of Whitewater athletics.

“Todd will be a strong leader who respects the tradition and success of Warhawk athletics,” Leipold said.