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Niland Named Daemen’s Athletics Director | News

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Niland Named Daemen’s Athletics Director
Niland Named Daemen’s Athletics Director

Daemen College President Gary A. Olson has appointed Bridget Niland as director of athletics. A member of the college faculty since 2006, she replaces William Morris, who has left to pursue other opportunities.

In addition, Jessica Gorski has been promoted to associate athletic director for sport administration as the athletic department continues to strengthen in light of its advancement to the Provisional Year of the NCAA Division II membership process.

“These two appointments will go a long way to move Daemen athletics to new levels of excellence,” said Olson. “We are now perfectly positioned to gain full NCAA membership.”

With Niland’s appointment as Daemen’s athletic director, she becomes, at present, only the second woman in that role at a Western New York college, joining Medaille College's Amy DeKay.

Niland, a Williamsville native, brings a keen understanding of Daemen, the college's pursuit of NCAA Division II membership, and a varied background that has brought her success at every stop along the way. Since joining the college faculty, she has served as an associate professor of business administration and overseen the sport management specialization and business law curriculum. She has also served as faculty athletic representative, a role she’s held since 2011 in which she is the athletic department's liaison with faculty members, while playing an integral role in Daemen's transition to NCAA membership.

Prior to her arrival at Daemen, Niland served as associate director of academic and membership affairs at the NCAA, working out of its headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind. She continues to have a working relationship with the NCAA as a consultant to the national office on legislative and membership matters, and works with USA Collegiate Sports, an affiliate of Harris Beach, PLLC.

Before joining the NCAA, Niland worked as a trial attorney for the U.S Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. which followed a two-year federal clerkship with the Honorable John T. Curtin in the Western District of New York.

She holds bachelor's, master's and law degrees from the University at Buffalo. During her undergraduate years, Niland competed for UB's cross country and track and field teams, winning individual conference championships in both sports and establishing several school records. She also served as chair of the NCAA national Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and went on to work as a graduate assistant/compliance assistant in UB’s athletic department. Currently, she is completing a doctorate in educational leadership and policy, also from UB.

A UB Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Niland was previously named to the Buffalo Business First 40 Under 40.

“I am looking forward to working with the talented coaches, staff and student-athletes at Daemen to bring us through the final phases of the NCAA membership process and establish continued success within the East Coast Conference," Niland said. “As the only NCAA Division II institution in the Greater Buffalo area, I believe Daemen provides an excellent opportunity for both fans and future student-athletes to engage in and follow college sports that allows for the balance between athletics and academic success. I personally benefited from a quality student-athlete experience and hope to work with our great coaches here at Daemen to provide the same for our student-athletes.”

The Niland name is a recognizable one in athletics circles, both locally and nationally. Her father, the late Joe Niland Sr., was head men's basketball coach at Canisius College from 1948-53, and later served as head scout for the Buffalo Braves of the National Basketball Association. Her brothers, Joe Niland Jr. and Dave Niland, have followed in the family business as college basketball coaches -- Joe at the University of Mobile, where he's also the athletic director, and Dave at Penn State-Behrend. The family tree goes even deeper with her uncle, the late Tom Niland who was, at one point, the longest tenured athletic director in all of NCAA Division II when at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. She is also the cousin of University of Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein and Bill Beilein, men’s basketball coach at Niagara County Community College.

Niland replaces Morris who had led the athletic department since July 2011, spearheading the largest period of growth for athletics in the school's history. His tenure was highlighted by Daemen's acceptance into and subsequent advancements in the NCAA Division II membership process; development and branding of new athletics logos; two separate refurbishments of Lumsden Gymnasium; the development of the Wildcat Club and Wildcat Golf Classic; the implementation of the Move To II fundraising campaign and its first major goal, the Wildcat 100 Initiative, and the launch of Daemen's new online presence for athletics at wildcats.daemen.edu.

Morris also oversaw the addition of indoor track and field and tennis for both men and women, bringing the number of intercollegiate sport offerings to 14 at Daemen. To supplement the rise of athletics to a more prominent role at the college, he also helped raise the number of full-time athletic staff from four at the time of his hire to the 15 currently employed.

Gorski, a 2009 Daemen graduate, was hired as assistant athletic director for sport administration a year ago. Her promotion to associate athletic director brings additional sport oversight responsibilities as the primary administrator for the golf, tennis and track and field programs. She will continue to coordinate student-athlete academic services and leadership of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. In her additional role as the department's senior woman administrator, she helps promote and develop programs related to women in sports, including Daemen's celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

“I embrace my new role as associate athletic director and look forward to extending my responsibilities into the realm of sport oversight, particularly the individual sports, as we continue to find ways to provide a balanced experience for our student-athletes regarding academics, community engagement and service, and athletics," Gorski said. "I am excited to extend my oversight to the individual sports programs and working with the coaching staff and student-athletes in each of these sports."

Gorski will continue as the college's head coach of cross country but will relinquish her track and field coaching duties, although she will coordinate travel and competition for both indoor and outdoor track and field. A search for a new track and field head coach has already begun.

News release by: Mike Miranto, Daemen athletic communications director.

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