Director of Athletics and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Christopher Bledsoe will step down from his roles in August after 24 years of service, it was announced on Wednesday.
Bledsoe was brought on as Director of Athletics in 1996 and was promoted to Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs in 2011 while still holding his position in athletics.
As the head of NYU’s athletics department, Bledsoe oversees 23 varsity sports teams and 25 intercollegiate club teams made up of over 1,250 student-athletes, and an intramural program with over 8,500 annual participants, according to Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Marc Wais.
“I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to work with a terrific bunch of people, to work with very talented and committed coaches and staff and students and administrators who really do care about what happens on a daily basis, who really do care about what happens to the students,” Bledsoe told WSN.
Under Bledsoe’s leadership, NYU’s varsity teams have enjoyed immense success.
Three different teams have won NCAA national championships: women’s basketball in 1997, men’s cross country in 2007 and women’s golf in 2019. Additionally, three varsity student-athletes (Honore Collins, Ian Rainey and Nathan Pike) have won NCAA individual championships in the last three years.
“Pretty unbelievable bookends to have with an awful lot of success in between,” said Janice Quinn, NYU’s Senior Associate Director for Athletics and former women’s basketball head coach during the 1997 title run.
“In a university where athletics is seldom the first thing that springs to mind, Chris ensured that our students had a full and a robust program of athletic competition, one in which a student could feel taken as seriously as an athlete as at any college or university,” Wais wrote in an email.
While Bledsoe has overseen the athletic success of NYU teams, including 37 University Athletic Association championships and record-high national rankings, he has also been a large part of the improved academic performances of student-athletes.
During the 2018-19 academic year, NYU student-athletes posted cumulative GPAs of 3.40 in the fall and 3.41 in the spring. Additionally, 27 students earned All-America honors, two were named Academic All-Americans and 199 earned UAA Academic Honors for carrying a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30 while in season, according to Wais.
No matter how many accolades are listed under Bledsoe’s name, he maintains that he is most proud of the people that NYU’s student-athletes have become and the bonds they’ve formed here.
“I think the thing that is most special is those people have also been just great teammates,” Bledsoe said. “And we’ve put them in a situation where some of those teammates are their friends for life.”
As Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Bledsoe was also involved with the planning and construction of the new 181 Mercer St. athletic facility, the design of the Palladium Athletic Facility and with developing the program and campus at NYU Abu Dhabi.
“It is an honor and a privilege to walk into the office and work for him,” Quinn said. “He just did an unbelievable job of creating an atmosphere of a culture that we can do anything we set our minds to.”
No replacement for Bledsoe has been announced.
Email Bela Kirpalani at [email protected]