vice president of student affairs and dean of students Lee Burdette Williams has announced the promotion of John Sutyak, '00, to interim director of athletics, effective immediately. Sutyak, who takes over following the retirement of Wheaton's 23-year executive director of athletics Chad Yowell, has served as the department's associate director since January 2008.
"John is a talented and committed athletics professional, and we are fortunate that he has accepted the invitation to lead the department at such a critical juncture in its history," said Williams. "His high regard for the coaching staff, dedication to students and understanding of the NCAA Division III mission will serve Wheaton well. I have confidence in his judgment and in his ability to navigate the athletics program through the changes that are inevitable in the wake of Chad's departure."
Hired in 2006 as the college's assistant director of athletics, Sutyak will oversee a highly competitive department that includes programs in 21 men's and women's varsity sports, intramural and club sports, and general student, staff and faculty recreation. He becomes just the second director of athletics during the college's coeducational era, which began in 1988.
"I am honored to serve my alma mater as the interim director of athletics and represent the department both on and off the Wheaton campus," said Sutyak. "I truly believe we have one of the finest coaching and support staffs in all of Division III, and I can not wait to begin working with them in this new role as we transform the Wheaton student-athlete experience."
"One of the things I appreciate most about John is his understanding of the other sides of student-athletes' lives," stated Williams. "His own student experience at Wheaton, as well as his work as a residence life professional, provides him a thorough knowledge of all dimensions of the student experience."
Instrumental in the implementation of the Lyons Athletic Club (LAC), which is designed to provide financial support for Wheaton athletics, Sutyak is highly involved on campus. He serves on the Athletics Review Task Force, Homecoming Committee, President's Action Committee on Inclusive Excellence (PACIE), Sophomore Symposium and Yellow Wood Commission.
Sutyak is a former member of the Broadening Diversity Among Scholar-Athletes, First-Year Experience and Orientation committees, as well as the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and Wheaton Initiative for Leadership Learning (WILL).
"It is no secret how much I care for Wheaton and our department," added Sutyak. "To be afforded the opportunity to lead this department into a new era is both exciting and humbling to me. With that said, I would be remiss if I didn't thank Chad for serving as a mentor to me and so many coaches, staff members and student-athletes during his career. He leaves enormous shoes to fill as I make the transition into his office."
Outside of Wheaton, Sutyak serves as the NCAA New England softball chair, New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Playing & Practice Committee chair and the league's men's and women's track & field liaison. He is also a member of the NEWMAC Officiating and Scheduling committees. Sutyak previously served on the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) Jostens Community Service Award Selection Committee and is a former NEWMAC Championships committee member and women's basketball liaison.
"John's interpersonal skills, sense of humor and work ethic are well-known from his years as associate AD," said Williams. "Serving as the interim director will give him the chance to show his strong leadership and creative skills in service to his alma mater. The deans and directors in the Division of Student Affairs trust and respect John as a knowledgeable and collaborative colleague and gladly welcome him to this important leadership role in the division."
"I would like to thank Dean Williams for providing me the opportunity to serve Wheaton in this capacity and join the other Division of Student Affairs directors on her staff," said Sutyak. "I look forward to learning from this group and continuing to create and promote a first-class Wheaton student experience with all of them."
A Scarborough, Maine, native, Sutyak is a 2000 Wheaton graduate and former four-year baseball player with the Lyons. He worked in a dual role as the school's assistant sports information director and an area coordinator during the 2002-03 academic year after earning his master's degree from Springfield College in 2002. Sutyak also served in different capacities on Yale University's administrative team for three years prior to being hired at Wheaton in 2006.