Monday morning, Penn Athletics announced that Deputy Athletic Director Alanna Shanahan has been named as the new Director of Athletics and Recreation at Johns Hopkins University.
She will leave following nearly a quarter of a century with the Quakers — after graduating from the College in 1996, Shanahan took a position in Penn Athletics, where she has remained for the last 21 years — including four years as the Deputy AD.
Johns Hopkins competes in NCAA Division III in 22 of its 24 sports, but its men’s and women’s lacrosse programs are national powerhouses in the Big Ten conference of D-I, with the men in particular having won nine NCAA championships.
The position is a good fit for Shanahan, according to Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun.
“Johns Hopkins has hired a first-class athletics administrator in Alanna Shanahan,” Calhoun said in a press release Monday. “She is one of the very best and most talented colleagues with whom I have had the pleasure to work. Alanna’s dedication and service to Penn have been truly extraordinary and she will be sorely missed. That said, I am elated for Alanna and the Johns Hopkins Athletic Department.”
As a student at Penn, Shanahan was a member of the lacrosse team and was named captain her senior year, winning the team’s MVP award in the process. After graduation in 1996, she served as an assistant coach on the team for three years until she was appointed interim head coach in 1999. Today, Shanahan sits on the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship Committee.
“Penn and [the Department of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics] have been an integral part of my life since the fall of my freshman year in 1992,” Shanahan said in the press release. “Both have challenged, nurtured and engaged me for over two decades. The people I met — whether on the lacrosse field, in the classroom or in DRIA — and the experiences we shared are some of my most memorable.”
Penn Athletics has released no comment on the process to replace Shanahan, who personally oversaw both the men’s and women’s lacrosse and basketball programs in addition to the football team, but in the interim the four senior administrators who reported to her will likely handle the responsibilities.
The recipient of a master’s and a doctoral degree from Penn was a key figure in the school’s “Making History” campaign that raised $124 million for athletics and recreation. She also was the Senior Women’s Administrator at Penn as well as a member of the University’s Title IX Compliance Committee.
“Alanna clearly has the passion, energy and vision needed to direct Hopkins athletics,” Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels said in the press release. “Her experience at Penn working with an outstanding university and its motivated, high-achieving student-athletes will serve her extremely well as the leader of the Johns Hopkins Department of Athletics and Recreation.”
Shanahan will become just the fourth person to hold the position since 1950, and the first woman in its history. While the current Director of Athletics, Tom Calder, is stepping down on July 1, Shanahan will begin her new job on July 18, according to a Johns Hopkins press release.
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