Andy Noel to lead the Big Red for six more years

ITHACA, N.Y. – J. Andrew Noel, Cornell University’s Meakem*Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education, will lead the Big Red for at least six more years.

Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi announced on November 28 Noel’s employment contract extension through June 2022.

“I have full confidence that Andy will continue to lead our Department of Athletics and Physical Education in the exceptional manner he has for the past 18 years,” Lombardi says.  “He has the full support of the Cornell administration as he continues to promote the student-athlete experience.”

Noel has guided the Big Red through a period of unprecedented success during his 18 years as director of athletics. Teams have compiled 92 Ivy League team and 16 individual national titles during his tenure.

Noel has also successfully upgraded a number of department facilities. Renovating Schoellkopf Hall and Schoellkopf Field, Lynah Rink, Hoy Field, Niemand*Robison Field and the Lindseth Climbing Wall, building the Marsha Dodson Field and the McGovern Fields complex and overseeing the completion of the Friedman Wrestling Center have helped Cornell continue to recruit many of the top student-athletes in the country.

“Andy is an outstanding student-focused athletic director.  He has assembled an impressive team of staff and coaches who work hard every day to make the student-athlete experience at Cornell exceptional,” notes Lombardi.

Indeed, Noel credits his success to the high caliber and dedication of his colleagues.  “Hiring and retaining great talent is all-important for me,” he said.  “My senior staff really take charge of our operations, and the coaches are the ones pouring their hearts and souls into preparing the students for competition.  They’re the ones who deserve the credit for our success.”

In particular, Noel cites one of his proudest accomplishments as hiring coaches who’ve earned national recognition during their time at Cornell.  Six first-time head coach hires have gone on to earn National Coach of the Year accolades, and first-time head coaches have accumulated 45 Ivy League titles under his tenure.

Noel knows that success on the field also cultivates success in raising gifts to help fuel the 37 varsity teams on his roster.  “Our alumni are truly generous in their financial support,” says Noel.  “We are so grateful to them for their care and loyalty.”

During his term as director, Noel has led a fundraising team that has raised more than $70 million in support of capital projects and endowment and an additional $60 million in gifts in support of annual operations.  All told, the Big Red touts 30 endowed positions within the department, among the most of any school in the country, with 21 coming under his leadership.

“We have an outstanding fundraising team,” says Noel.  “Their top-notch efforts make a considerable difference and bring countless supporters into the fold for the benefit of our students.”

Prior to serving as director, Noel served three years as an associate director, two years as an assistant director in the department’s public affairs office and 14 successful years as head wrestling coach (1974-88). He was honored with the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award by the New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and is a member of the Franklin & Marshall Athletics, the New York Wrestling Coaches and the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Halls of Fame.

He carries the Big Red flag in high profile national roles within the National Collegiate Athletic Association as well. Noel served on the NCAA wrestling committee from 1997-2001 and was reappointed for a four-year term in 2008. He was a member of the NCAA Championships Cabinet from 2003-06 and served on both the Misconduct Appeals Subcommittee and the Playing Rules Oversight Panel. Noel is a past chairman of the Ivy League athletic directors’ committee on administration, has served two terms as a member of the Wells College Board of Trustees, and has a visible presence in the community though his public support of the United Way and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, among other service projects.

Cornell President Hunter Rawlings expressed high confidence in Noel’s leadership, noting “Andy is an exceptional athletic director and ambassador for Cornell.  I am proud to have him representing this great institution and I am delighted he will continue to lead the Big Red.”


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