DePaul Director of Athletics Jean Lenti Ponsetto Signs Five-Year Contract Extension
“Jean Lenti Ponsetto is one of the best athletics directors in the nation, and DePaul is blessed to have earned her commitment for another five years,” said Fr. Holtschneider. “Her top priority was to seek the longest contract DePaul offers. That speaks volumes about her commitment to the institution, and I’m pleased to say we are equally committed to her.”
One of the nations most widely respected leaders in intercollegiate athletics and a driving force behind the continuing expansion and development of DePaul’s athletics program, Ponsetto is now in her fifth year as Director of Athletics and her 32nd as a member of the Blue Demon athletic family.
Ponsetto moved into her current position on July 1, 2002, and the Blue Demons have experienced tremendous success both on and off the playing field ever since. A highlight of Ponsetto’s tenure in her current post came in 2003 when the university announced it would join the BIG EAST Conference. The Blue Demons are in the midst of their second season in one of the nation’s most respected leagues.
An advocate for student-athlete welfare, Ponsetto initiated and provided leadership for the Sullivan-McGrath Athletics Capital Campaign, which has yielded the funding resources for the renovation of Wish Soccer Field, the creation of the Cacciatore Softball Stadium and renovation of the Cherry Family Indoor Track at the Ray Meyer Fitness and
During her five years at the helm of the department, 13 of the 15 Blue Demon athletic programs have represented the school in NCAA championships including the women’s basketball squad’s thrilling run to the “Sweet 16” a year ago and their berth in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, which was announced on Monday.
Success also has come in the classroom under Ponsetto’s guidance. She emphasizes academic achievement, and over 450 Blue Demon student-athletes in her program responded with grades that qualified them for conference Academic Honor Rolls.
Ponsetto’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by her colleagues. For the second time in her career she was presented NACWAA’s Administrator of the Year Award in 2003.
Ponsetto boasts a wealth of experience in three areas of DePaul athletics: as a student-athlete, coach and administrator. She had spent seven years as the senior associate director of athletics after serving 12 years as the associate director and two as an assistant director before assuming her current job.
Ponsetto currently serves the NCAA as a member of the Division I Men’s Basketball Issues Committee and is an NCAA Champion, a program encouraging key NCAA Administrators to act as a membership spokesperson on NCAA issues. Ponsetto also chairs the Honda Awards Board of Directors and the Wade Trophy Selection Committee and is the President-Elect of both NACWAA and the NACDA Division I-AAA Board of Directors. This year Ponsetto will serve on the NCAA Division I Recruiting/Early Scholarship Offer Working Group, the NCAA Amateurism Clearinghouse Advisory Group and the NCAA Work/Life Balance Task Force.
Ponsetto spent a five-year term as chair of the 49-member NCAA Division I Championships/ Competition Cabinet, a position she assumed in 1998 after one year as a member of the cabinet. She was the first woman to chair a cabinet and was the longest-serving chair in the cabinet’s history. During her tenure she was a member of the NCAA Division I Budget Committee and served as an adviser to the NCAA President during the negotiations with ESPN, which yielded additional championship appearances and revenue for the association.
Ponsetto, who is a member of both the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame and the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame, began her association with Blue Demon athletics as a member of the tennis, volleyball, women’s basketball and softball teams in the mid-1970’s.