Cambridge, Mass. (February 14) -- MIT director of athletics and department head Julie Soriero has announced her retirement, effective at the end of the 2019 fall semester. Soriero is in her 12th year at MIT after joining the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) in July of 2007. A search for Soriero's successor will be led by Parker Executive Search.
"First, I need to thank former President Susan Hockfield for hiring me," said Soriero. "I recall my initial meeting with her in which I asked her what her vision was for the department. I still vividly remember her response which was basically, "we are hiring you to set the vision." Those words provided such a strong sense of support, encouragement and empowerment that have guided my leadership over my 12-year tenure. To that end, I have enjoyed and appreciated every day of work at MIT."
"Our department is a dynamic, exciting and challenging place to work. MIT sets the bar high and everyone strives to meet that standard – our department is no different. Our students and student-athletes are impressive in their commitment to achievement and sustaining excellence. That alone is infectious and inspiring to see every day. I have the utmost respect for the DAPER staff and care a great deal about all of them; I am grateful for their dedication and commitment to our mission and shared values. As much as I look forward to the next chapter in my life, I will deeply miss the people and sheer joy of working at MIT and in my department – this is the type of place that cannot be replicated."
The recipient of the NCAA President's Pat Summitt Award at the 2018 NCAA Convention in Indianapolis, Soriero has led MIT through a transformation into one of the top intercollegiate athletic programs in the country. Under her leadership, MIT has captured at least eight New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championships in each of the last six seasons, has swept the NEWMAC President's Cups in each of the last three years and tallied a program-record 109 All-Americans and 24 Academic All-Americans in 2017-18.
"Ultimately, Julie's dedication to all students, not just student-athletes, will be an indelible part of her career legacy," said Suzy M. Nelson, Vice-President and Dean for Student Life. "In my relatively brief time working with her, Julie has shown extraordinary creativity, drive, thoughtfulness, and compassion for students and the excellent team of staff she has built in DAPER. Please join me in wishing Julie well as she begins the next chapter of her life, and in thanking her for more than a decade of outstanding work with MIT students."
MIT has finished in the top 10 in the Learfield Directors' Cup for five of the last six years, including a program-best second in 2017-18 after the Engineers won a NEWMAC-record 14 conference championships. In addition, three teams advanced to Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2017-18, while men's basketball and women's tennis advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. The softball program advanced to the College World Series for the second time in three seasons, along with a fourth-place showing at the NCAA Championship by the women's cross country team. The year was capped by a national championship from the Co-ed sailing team, which earned its 12th all-time ICSA national title and first since 1961.
Additionally during Soriero's career at MIT, former standout swimming Margaret Guo `16 earned the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year Award in 2016, which is one of the top honors awarded by the NCAA each year. The football program garnered national attention in 2014 by earning its first league championship and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The team captured the NEWMAC Championship this year as well and qualified for its second NCAA Tournament.
Since arriving at MIT, Soriero has been directly involved in the fundraising and construction of a number of capital facilities projects. She recently completed a fundraising effort for the scheduled $10 million dollar renovation to the Pierce Boathouse that was announced in the fall. In 2015-16, she fundraised approximately $7 million dollars for the complete renovation of the Steinbrenner Stadium grandstands, the track and field facility and the baseball and softball fields. Those newly-renovated facilities were all dedicated during the 2016-17 academic year and provide MIT student-athletes and the campus community with some of the top playing and practice surfaces in the region.
Also during her tenure, Soriero has fundraised for four head coaching endowments ($2 million) and two director-level endowments ($2.5 million), along with completing two coaching endowments that were initiated prior to her arrival.
A noted speaker, Soriero has presented at the NACDA and NCAA Conventions, as well as the Women Leaders in College Sports, which she served as the president of during the 2017-18 academic year. She has also served as a member of the Olympic Sports Committee, has chaired the Committee on Women's Athletics and has served as the West Regional Representative to the NACDA Executive Committee.
Soriero was honored as the 2014-2015 Division III Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year by NACDA and was named as the 2012 Division III Administrator of the Year by Women Leaders in College Sports.
She came to MIT from Colorado College, where she spent nine years overall that included four as the director of athletics. Before Colorado College, Soriero was the women's basketball head coach at the University of Pennsylvania for 10 years and overall, she coached for 21 years before transitioning into her career as a full-time administrator. Her other coaching stops include Philadelphia University and Haverford College, where she founded the Division III program in 1980. As a coach, she was recognized by the American Women's Sports Foundation as the Northeast Regional Coach of the Year, was an All-American coach for three consecutive seasons and was twice named the Philadelphia Big Five Coach of the Year during her time at the University of Pennsylvania.
While at what is now Philadelphia University, her teams made a number of postseason appearances that included advancing to the NCAA Division II Final Four in 1986. In 2014, she was elected to the Philadelphia University Athletics Hall of Fame and was also elected to The New Agenda: Northeast Women's Hall of Fame in 2015. As an administrator, Soriero was nominated for the "Sportswoman of Colorado" award and named one of "Philadelphia's 40 Defining Women".
A native of New Hope, Pa., Soriero graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education from the Pennsylvania State University and later earned her Master of Education degree in sports psychology from Temple University.
MIT: Julie Soriero has announced her retirement as the MIT director of athletics/department head, effective at the end of the 2019 fall semester.