On Monday, April 21 Webster University officially announced Scott Kilgallon as the new athletic director (AD). Kilgallon has served in the same position for the past 10 years at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire (UWEC), a public liberal arts university located in Eau Claire, Wis.
UWEC has 22 intercollegiate sports and more than 500 student-athletes. UWEC is a member of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), According to wiacsports.com, the WIAC has won more NCAA national championships than any other conference Division-III history. In the last 10 years, 46 national championship teams across all sports have come out of the WIAC.
In a prior interview with Webster Today, Paul Carney, assistant provost for Student Affairs and Athletics, expressed how he felt about the hire.
“Everyone at Webster is excited about Scott Kilgallon becoming our new AD,” Carney said. “Scott’s experience and expertise in building a top-ranked, Division-III program were critical factors in our decision. We believe that with support from the university, together with Scott’s leadership and our student-athletes’ and coaches’ potential and hard work, we can achieve national recognition for Webster University athletics.”
In the beginning of the calendar year, Kilgallon announced he would retire from his position at UWEC as of June 30.
“It’s a good time to move on,” Kilgallon said. “One of the things I like to do is build programs, and we’ve done that a lot at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. It’s tough when you change jobs, especially in athletics, because it’s a lifestyle. You really put your heart and soul into the job.”
UWEC has a total of four NCAA and five National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national titles. Three of those four NCAA national titles came during Kilgallon’s time at UWEC: softball in 2008, women’s cross country in 2009 and men’s ice hockey in 2013.
That year, UWEC men’s ice hockey team defeated Oswego State, N.Y. last season, 5-3, and secured the school’s first national title in hockey. Head Hockey Coach at UWEC Matt Leon praised Kilgallon on his hard work and commitment to the athletics at UWEC.
“He did a great job in assembling the staff and coaches in the athletic department. Always has everyone working together,” Matt Leon said. “He’s coming to Webster with a lot of experience and knowledge. During his time here at Eau Claire and at Vermont, he’s done some great things.”
“I was lucky enough to be athletic director and a coach at Southern Vermont, and I loved it. I really put a lot of time and effort into my job there,” Kilgallon said. “I used to say to the staff there, ‘It’s not okay to think small; we need to think big. Let’s bring something special to this college,’ and that same idea would carry over to Webster University as well.”
Along with the national championships UWEC won during the duration of Kil-gallon’s career, 11 UWEC teams finished fourth or better in the nation. UWEC earned nine regional championships and 27 conference championships. Also the coaching staff earned 31 Coach of the Year Awards during Kilgallon’s stint at the school.
On the academic side during Kilgallon’s 10 years at UWEC, student-athletes achieved a combined grade-point average of better than 3.0 each year, and reached the highest, of 3.16 GPA, in the 2009-2010 school year.
“As an athletic director and a former coach, I really believe in the student before the athlete,” Kilgallon said. “I also know if you can stay on top of your academics, then you’ll be able to give 100 percent in practice and competition. I think that’s the foundation to have a successful student athlete, and that’s one of the things I always strive for. We really want the total package.”
Kilgallon said that he wants strong academics in addition to competing at a high level on the field. He stressed a commitment to community service.
Kilgallon said Webster’s commitment toward moving forward in athletics and opportunities drew him to the job.
“I was contacted by Paul Carney about the job, and I could feel his enthusiasm for wanting to provide the best opportunity for the Gorlok student-athletes and for Webster University as a whole,” Kilgallon said.
Kilgallon also spoke about the special possibilities at Webster when he interviewed with the coaching staff and the search committee.
“There’s a good foundation right now, and quite frankly, you know you want to be around people who are very positive and want to move the program forward, and I really got that sense,” Kilgallon said.
Before his 10-year career at UWEC, Kilgallon served for seven years as director of athletics and cross-country and track coach at Southern Vermont College in Bennington. During his time at Southern Vermont, Kilgallon moved the athletic program to the Division III level and introduced two intercollegiate teams, which expanded its athletic program from eight teams to 11.
Kilgallon explained that even though Southern Vermont was a small private school, he still wanted big things for the program.
Kilgallon earned a master’s degree in management from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn., where he was a four-year varsity cross-country and indoor and outdoor track-and-field student athlete.