The National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) has bestowed its 2011 3rd Annual Emerging Athletic Administrator Award to David Pizzuto, CSI’s Associate Athletic Director and Sports Information Director. The award, the only of its kind given nationally each year, is bestowed upon a professional with seven or less years of upper athletics administrative experience recognized as a trailblazer among young professionals with a promising future in upper athletics administration. The award will be presented to Pizzuto at the NADIIIAA reception on the final day of the 2011 NCAA Convention in San Antonio, Texas, on January 15.
Fielding multiple nominations to close the year, the NADIIIAA selects a recipient of this honor in time for the Convention each January. Pizzuto was nominated for the award by former CSI and current Drew University Athletic Director Jason Fein. According to a NADIIIAA press release the Emerging Athletic Administrator Award is presented to Pizzuto recognizing his involvement and leadership roles on campus or in the conference office during his seven years of upper administrative athletic service in both NCAA Divisions II & III.
“I am deeply humbled to have been given this distinction by my peers,” said Pizzuto. “I think it’s a testament to great people whom I have worked with and nurtured me into the administrator that I am and hope to continue to be.”
A Staten Island native, Pizzuto first got involved in collegiate athletics as far back as 1999, when he became CSI’s first ever full-time Assistant Sports Information Director and Intramurals Coordinator as a student, working under then-SID Fein. In 2004, Pizzuto obtained his first position in upper athletics administration, becoming the Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information and Operations at NCAA Division II Georgian Court University, where Pizzuto also oversaw all aspects of NCAA compliance. The hiring came one-year after GCU had made the switch from NAIA to NCAA Division II, and Pizzuto was only the second full-time hire next to Athletic Director Laura Liesman.
“GCU was an absolutely fantastic place to work,” tells Pizzuto. “It provided an incredible challenge but the freedom to set up an office from scratch and a terrific and welcoming administration with a team philosophy the entire way.”
In 2006, when Fein was elevated to Athletic Director at CSI, he called on Pizzuto to return to the Dolphins Division III program as Associate Director, a position Pizzuto accepted and has held since. In 2008, when Fein departed to nearby Drew University, Pizzuto was elevated to Interim Director. Faced with a challenged budget and a concrete slab for a gym floor due to water infiltration to the Sports & Recreation Center, Pizzuto oversaw purchase and installation of CSI’s current temporary gym floor and led the Dolphins program through its biggest fund-raising total in history. Pizzuto also retained his position as Associate and Sports Information Director during the transition year, and reverted back to his former role beginning in 2009.
“It was undeniably a challenge, but I was blessed with having an extended family at CSI that really rallied together during that time,” Pizzuto said.
Since returning to CSI, Pizzuto has developed the Sports Information office specifically. Dolphins’ television coverage and fan support has increased exponentially and Pizzuto founded CSI SportsNet, which provides nearly 100 webcasts annually of most road contests of CSI soccer, basketball, baseball and softball events each year. Yearly media guides and publications have increased, and Pizzuto has also overseen development of the CSI Athletics website, which was first developed in 2006. He is also responsible for filing all statistically relevant material for the CUNYAC and NCAA, and is principal organizer and host of the annual CSI Awards Banquet held at the close of each athletic year. His sports information staff at CSI has also worked game events at Division I Wagner College and Long Island University.
“I have known David in several capacities, including hard working student, trusted employee, dependable associate, as well as loyal friend and colleague,” says Jason Fein, whose nomination fueled the award. “He not only understands the challenges in athletics, but he embraces the benefits of the environment. Many times though thoroughly exhausted, were able to look back upon the journey and the enhanced experiences we were able to facilitate for the CSI student-athletes and community, and we were proud to be part of it. I couldn’t be happier for him because it’s well-deserved.”
On top of his duties at CSI, Pizzuto also donates his time working with Time Warner Cable as principal statistician for all on-air broadcasts, and has worked with the New York Yankees, New York City Marathon, and the Maccabi Games during his time at CSI. He is the recipient of the first-ever CSI Athletics Distinguished Service Award in 2002, and is a 2008 recipient of a CSI Athletics Faculty/Staff Appreciation Award. That same year, he became an honorary member of the Cambridge’s Who’s Who Among Executives & Professionals. A father to twins, his three-year old daughters Sabrina and Liliana recently starred in the motion picture Sex and the City 2, released in 2010, adding to his busy lifestyle.
“I’ve been blessed with an understanding family that has put up with the many nights and weekends we put in, and with an extraordinary staff that invigorate and inspire at every turn,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary challenge and immeasurably rewarding to do what we do, but you can’t do it unless you’re surrounded with support. The award I won belongs to those people more than me.”
Pizzuto will accept the 3rd annual award in front of a national audience on January 15, ironically, the date of his daughters’ third birthday. The date helps him keep perspective.
“I have to hop on the first flight back because my kids will never forgive me if I don’t get back to celebrate with them,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed of working in sports and making a difference, and my daughters inspire me to be the best I can be. Bringing the award home for them is a valuable lesson in following your aspirations. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
The NADIIIAA Award is the first ever for the College of Staten Island.