Penn is bringing a vet back to the athletics department.
Last May, Tony Vecchione became the new senior director of athletics, after an announcement in early April.
He was hired to replace Mary DiStanislao, who became executive vice president of Marquette in March.
“I am just really happy to be back,” Vecchione said. “You don’t get chances like that often. To be able to get a chance like that is really great. Penn’s a great place. It’s the type of place that kind of grows on you.”
Vecchione, a former director of athletic facilities and operations at Penn, is back in Philadelphia after leaving in 1998 to take a job at George Washington University, which was followed by a management position at SMG Management.
“The new role is not foreign to me,” Vecchione said. “I was a student-athlete at one time and a coach. Working at [George Washington] and Penn previously, working with coaches, working with them and their facilities, and working with their practices and their game schedules, doing those things on a daily basis, I know the way the coaches are going to think.”
Though the American University graduate moved back to Washington, D.C., during a time of major athletic facilities growth at GW, Vecchione never forgot his time at Penn. Every ensuing job he had, he put up his picture of the inside of Franklin Field on a wall in his office.
Since the end of last school year, Vecchione has worked toward familiarizing himself with the current Penn athletic environment.
“So far Tony is becoming acclimated to our specific agendas while getting to know the individuals and units who report to him,” Director of Athletics Steve Bilsky said in an email. “Tony is a very dedicated, hard-working guy, whom I feel will have a great career as a senior administrator for [the Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics].”
Vecchione, who oversees Penn’s 33 intercollegiate sports with deputy director Alanna Shanahan, added that once he gets to know and understand the departments better, including the athletes and coaches, he will be able to get the ball rolling.
Bilsky added that Vecchione’s past experience should help with a smooth transition into the new role.
And Vecchione is thrilled to be back.
“I had such great experiences here at Penn when I was here the first time and I’ve learned so much [from] when I was here the first time,” he said. “Penn is just such a unique place and such a great place. It’s got such great facilities, such great teams, such a great administration, great academics. Philadelphia is just such a great place to be. It was just something that I just really wanted to do and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do.”
Vecchione no longer has to look to a photo on his wall for a view of Franklin Field.