Welcome to the Mahoney era of Penn Athletics.
After the stunning resignation of M. Grace Calhoun, Provost Vincent Price announced on Sunday that Mike Mahoney, the director of Penn’s Athletics Communications, would be the next Director of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics, effective July 1. Mahoney was introduced at a press conference in the Palestra.
“We set out to find a star, and we did,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said in a press release. “And after our first star left, we found another.”
Mahoney has been the head of athletic communications since 2005. He previously worked at Northwestern from 1999-05 after working as an assistant sports information director at his alma mater, Dartmouth, before that. He also worked as an intern for the Ivy League after graduating from Dartmouth, where he was the sports editor of The Dartmouth, a clearly inferior student newspaper to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Mahoney will move out of the basement of Weightman Hall, leaving AComm associate directors Eric Dolan and Chas Dorman to fend for themselves over the next few months.
“As happy as I am for Mike, his promotion puts considerable pressure on Chas and myself,” said Dolan, whose spinoff of The Office was recently cancelled. “Seriously, who is going to stop all these rats? I really hope Mike gets us out of here.
“I know Mike was used to being in the middle of nowhere from his time at Dartmouth, but the basement of Weightman is a real struggle.”
Dorman could not be reached for comment at print time as he was preparing for whenever Penn has its next men’s soccer NCAA Tournament game.
Mahoney has worked directly with women’s soccer, men’s basketball and men’s lacrosse as well as women’s rowing and golf. Men’s basketball coach Jerome Allen was excited by the hiring.
“I tip my hat to the search committee,” Allen said. “Becoming an athletic director is a function of determination and effort, and Mike has displayed that.
“That being said, it isn’t necessarily my job to praise him.”
With Calhoun leaving quickly, Penn needed to scramble to put together another advisory committee to find another new athletic director. After the last search did not pan out, Penn men’s soccer coach Rudy Fuller was named as the chair of the new committee.
The committee, in conjunction with Daniel Parker of Parker Executive Search who was hired as a consultant, neglected to receive applications and instead reached out to candidates. Mahoney said that he “threw his hat in the ring,” expecting to get rejected and go back to his office in Weightman.
“We needed someone who knew the ins and outs of Penn Athletics,” Price said. “M. Grace Calhoun simply couldn’t wrap her head around Penn’s many sports in the same way as Mr. Mahoney.”
Calhoun, who was boarding a plane to get out of Philadelphia forever, praised the hire of Mahoney.
“I couldn’t have hand-picked a better successor,” Calhoun said. “There are few people that have the Sudoku prowess that Mike possesses, and it will certainly come in handy as the head of Penn Athletics.”
At his introductory press conference, Mahoney addressed issues involving Penn’s men’s basketball, which has struggled to the tune of a 17-42 record the past two seasons under Allen.
“No comment,” Mahoney said simply.
As of press time, Mahoney’s only act so far as athletic director has been the completion of a tough Sudoku puzzle.