Athletics: Mariano named 2022 GNAC manager of the year
WINTHROP, Mass. – The Great Northeast Athletic Conference is pleased to announce Norwich University’s long-serving Director of Athletics Tony Mariano M’75 as GNAC Executive of the Year 2022, as announced by the league office on Wednesday. The honor comes following a vote of the league’s 14 athletic directors.
A resident of Northfield, Vermont, Mariano retired in the spring of 2022, leaving after 44 years at Norwich. His last three decades came as head of the athletic department.
“Tony’s influence within GNAC has been paramount since Norwich joined GNAC in 1998,” the GNAC commissioner said. Joe Walsh, a longtime friend. “His wife Gail’s impact on the cadet community will be felt for a long time to come. He is highly respected by his peers at GNAC, and I personally will miss working with Tony on a day-to-day basis.”
Mariano has held numerous managerial positions at GNAC since Norwich joined the league. He has served as GNAC treasurer, president of men’s tennis, member of the executive committee and chairman of the board of athletic directors.
In March 2018, Mariano was named Under Armour® Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).
“My greatest thrill has been getting to watch and get to know the hundreds of outstanding student-athletes who have participated in our programs and helped Norwich athletics achieve high levels of achievement,” said Mariano when he announced his retirement. “I marvel at what these athletes have accomplished both academically and athletically and how they have gone on to pursue careers in military and civilian life.”
Mariano is from Rome, NY and was inducted into the Rome Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. He was a two-sport athlete at St. Lawrence University (SLU), playing hockey and football. He scored 19 goals and added 35 assists for 54 points in 80 games played on the ice. On the football field, Mariano helped the Saints win an Independent College Athletic Conference (ICAC) title in his senior year. He graduated from SLU in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.
“For over 40 years, Tony Mariano has bled Maroon and Gold, and provided outstanding leadership in our athletics department,” Norwich University President Dr Mark Anarumo said at the time of the announcement. of Mariano’s retirement. “Tony has been a mentor to our coaches and staff, while creating a family atmosphere that has led to a culture of academic and athletic excellence in our athletic programs. Tony’s passion and unwavering loyalty to our university’s mission have been admired by thousands of student-athletes, their families, their fans and the entire Norwich community.
“He built a championship culture within our athletic department, while always prioritizing the installation of integrity and character in our athletes and our university. I wish Tony and his wife Gail all the very best in their well-deserved retirement. There will always be a place on every Norwich touchline for them to come back and cheer on our teams as they have loved to do for the past 40 years.”
Mariano has helped lead Norwich University’s athletic programs to unprecedented levels of success since his appointment as Director of Athletics in 1992. During his 30-year tenure, the cadets won 12 national championships; including the first title of any kind in school history in 2000 when the men’s hockey team defeated St. Thomas (Minn.) 2-1 in Superior, Wisconsin.
The men’s hockey team won three additional national championships in 2003, 2010 and 2017 respectively, while the women’s hockey team won national titles in 2011 and 2018. The women’s rugby program, which grew from club to that of university under the direction of Mariano. , won six national championships from 2011 to 2014.
Student-athletes in Norwich’s 20 male and female university programs excel academically and athletically and exemplify Norwich’s guiding values in their daily lives through Mariano’s leadership. In 2019-20, Norwich placed a record 160 student-athletes on all-varsity teams.
The Cadets won 75 conference championships during Mariano’s time as athletic director and had 16 student-athletes earn prestigious CoSIDA All-American academic honors for excellence in the classroom and athletically.
Mariano helped renovate Norwich’s sports facilities, overseeing the construction of the Kreitzberg Arena and Doyle Hall, as well as refurbishments to the Andrews Hall dressing room and the conversion of Sabine Field into a multi-purpose turf facility as part of the Haynes Family Stadium.
Mariano first came to Northfield in 1974 and earned his master’s degree in education the following year, at the start of the university’s graduate program. While pursuing his studies, Mariano had the opportunity to be an assistant coach for the men’s soccer and hockey teams in 1974-1975.
In 1978 Tony returned to Norwich as head coach of men’s football with his young wife Gail, who quickly became Norwich’s ‘super fan’, attending as many home games as possible to cheer on the cadets.
Mariano spent the first 14 years of his second stint at Northfield as a coach. He coached men’s soccer from 1978 to 1984, leading the 1984 team to the ECAC playoffs with an 11-4-1 record.
In 1982 Mariano was named head coach of the men’s ice hockey team. Under his leadership, the 1982–83 men’s hockey team made its first NCAA playoff appearance in school history. Its subsequent men’s hockey teams appeared in eight CEAC tournaments and earned two postseason spots in the NCAA.
In 1987, Mariano was named Division III National Coach of the Year (Eddie Jeremiah Award) by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) and New England Division III Coach of the Year. He also served as Chairman of the NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Committee and Chairman of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee. Mariano left his position as ice hockey head coach in 1992 when he assumed his current role as athletic director.
In May 2021, the Athletic Department renamed the Most Outstanding Senior Male and Female Athlete awards the “Coach Mariano Award”.
“Norwich has been my home and seeing how it has grown has been a wonder,” said Mariano. “I will miss the people and the daily interactions I had, but I will always bleed brown and gold.”
Tony and Gail reside in Northfield a short walk from the Norwich campus where the two will remain welcome fans.