St. Joseph's athletic director Don DiJulia received the Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association in Orlando, Fla., during the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention. It is the highest award presented by the association.
One of the most active and respected leaders in collegiate athletics, Don DiJulia is in his fifth decade of affiliation with Saint Joseph's University, making his mark first as a student-athlete and then as an administrator.
DiJulia is in his second stint as the University's top athletics administrator after returning to SJU as an associate vice president/athletics director in June of 1988. He has spent 23 of the last 30 years on Hawk Hill.
For the past 19 years, DiJulia has overseen tremendous growth in the University's athletics programs. During his tenure, five varsity programs have been added, a new weight training facility built, athletics fund drives initiated, and athletics facilities updated, including the resurfacing and lighting of Finnesey Field.
Saint Joseph's is undergoing the biggest project in DiJulia's tenure with the expansion and renovation of Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, which will include a dedicated center for men's and women's basketball. This comprehensive plan to enhance varsity and recreational sports at SJU also includes the transition to the Maguire Campus, which will add the use of four playing fields, two gymnasiums and eight tennis courts to the program.
DiJulia has emphasized the importance of the student-athlete with the institution of the SJU Athletics Director's Honor Roll as well as senior Scholar-Athlete awards.
DiJulia also spearheaded Saint Joseph's hosting of various conference and national tournaments, including the 2000 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four in Philadelphia and the upcoming 2009 NCAA Men's Basketball First and Second Rounds to be held at the Wachovia Center.
DiJulia was at the center of the most compelling story in college basketball in 2003-04 as Saint Joseph's gained the attention of a nation with its successful quest for the perfect regular season and run to the NCAA Elite Eight. With DiJulia leading the way, Saint Joseph's handled the unprecedented demands on the program from its many constituents, including alumni, fans, and media.
A 1967 graduate of Saint Joseph's, DiJulia has worn many hats in college athletics during his more than 30 years of professional experience. His career began in coaching, with a one-year stint as assistant baseball coach at SJU in 1968. He then went on to assistant coaching positions in basketball at Fairfield University, George Washington University and American University.
During his first stint as director of athletics at Saint Joseph's from 1976 to 1981, DiJulia was instrumental in the planning and construction of the $5 million athletics and recreation complex. He also oversaw the growth of women's athletics as softball and cross country were added as varsity sports.
DiJulia left Saint Joseph's in 1981 to become commissioner of the East Coast Conference, a position he held for two years until leaving to become commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference from 1984 to1988. He remains extremely involved in the intercollegiate athletic community, and currently serves on the Atlantic 10 Executive Committee, the Philadelphia Sports Congress Executive Committee, and the Philadelphia Olympic Bid Feasibility Committee.
A two-sport athlete as an undergraduate in baseball and basketball, DiJulia was a member of the 1964-65 Hawk basketball team which compiled a 26-1 regular season record and a top 10 national ranking under head coach Dr. Jack Ramsay.
In 2005, DiJulia was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his alma mater, St. James High School, and in 2007 he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame - Delaware County Chapter.
He and his wife, Pat, reside in Havertown, Pa., and have seven children and eight grandchildren.