Scalise to Retire at End of Academic Year After 19 Years as Athletic Director

Scalise to Retire at End of Academic Year After 19 Years as Athletic Director

In a letter to the Harvard community, Bob Scalise, The John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics, announced today that he will retire at the conclusion of this academic year.

During Scalise's tenure, Harvard Athletics has experienced tremendous success on and off the field of play. The Crimson has won 144 Ivy League titles and 22 national team championships, and has led the nation for the fourth-straight season with the highest NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR).

Scalise will have served as athletic director for 19 years and will continue to serve as an advisor on athletics to Claudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

Below is the text of Scalise's letter to the Harvard community.

Dear Students, Coaches, Athletics Staff, Colleagues and Friends,

I have thoroughly enjoyed my lifelong association with Harvard, which has now extended over 50 years.  I first came to Harvard as an admiring opponent when I was an undergraduate lacrosse player at Brown.  I then moved to Cambridge as the head coach of men’s lacrosse and our first head coach of women’s soccer.  At the conclusion of my coaching career, I became a student at Harvard Business School and eventually an associate dean there.  Finally, I have served as The John D. Nichols ’53 Family Director of Athletics for most of the last two decades.  Harvard and its people have transformed my life.  My family and I are tremendously proud and very grateful to have had the opportunity to share our lives with this great institution.

I write today to share the news that this year will be my last as Harvard’s athletic director, and I will retire at the end of June.  I will continue to serve as an advisor to Dean Gay on athletics throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

At this stage of our lives, my wife Maura, our children and I look forward to spending more time together and with close friends as we enjoy life’s blessings.  I have been so fortunate to have worked with and for great people during my time at Harvard.  I am proud of what we have built together and know that Harvard Athletics will continue to thrive in the years ahead.

Harvard is many things to many different people, but in my mind, the purpose of Harvard has always been to create knowledge and to educate leaders to serve the world.  I am very proud to have supported this work by leading an Athletics department whose mission is to Educate through Athletics and to Build Community and Pride in Harvard.  We pursue this mission in the spirit of Ivy League Athletics.  Our coaches are true educators and are instrumental in the growth and development of our students.  The true measure of our success has been, and will continue to be, the extraordinary impact our students and graduates have on the world. 

Nothing great ever happens without great leadership.  I was fortunate to be given this opportunity almost twenty years ago by Larry Summers and Jeremy Knowles.  Since then I’ve also had the honor of working with Derek Bok and Drew Faust in their roles as Harvard’s president.  I’ve also had the privilege to work with Bill Kirby, David Pilbeam and Mike Smith in their roles leading the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.  Today, I know that Harvard is in great hands under the leadership of President Larry Bacow and Dean Claudine Gay.  I have shared with them my commitment to ensuring a seamless transition for our Athletics department.  In the meantime, there is more work yet to do, and I look forward to continuing our partnership as we pursue the mission of Harvard Athletics in a way that strives to embody Principled Leadership, Academic Integration and Competitive Excellence. 

Thank you for the honor of serving this great institution over the last 50 years.  It has been my pleasure.