Photo by Len Rubenstein<
I’ve found that the best experiences in my life have been at institutions where there’s incredible growth, excitement, and dedication, and this University is on fire.Sheahon Zenger, Ph.D.
Sheahon Zenger, Ph.D., was hired as the University of New Haven’s new athletic director in September 2019, bringing with him over 25 years of experience. Most recently, Dr. Zenger served as an assistant to the chancellor and as an adviser to the director of athletics at Texas Christian University. From 2011 to 2018, he was director of athletics for the University of Kansas. Dr. Zenger has also served as director of athletics for Illinois State University and worked in athletics administration and coaching at Kansas State, the University of Wyoming, the University of South Florida, and Drake University.
Why the University of New Haven?
I’ve found that the best experiences in my life have been at institutions where there’s incredible growth, excitement, and dedication, and this University is on fire.
What is one of your proudest achievements?
Both of my parents were professors. They supported my dream to go into coaching as long as I also pursued my academic interests. I worked hard and earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as a doctorate. I’m proud that I’m able to combine my passion for leading students both on the field and in the classroom.
Can you tell us more about your dual passion for sports as well as for higher learning?
I believe all administrators should be in the classroom from time to time. A university is, by definition, a community of scholars. I’m currently teaching an honors English literature seminar with President Kaplan. I don’t know if it makes me old school or new school, but when I engage in scholarship, whether teaching or research, it makes me feel more a part of the campus family.
What do you look forward to most in your new role at the University?
I’m excited to help the University’s athletics excel at a greater level, which includes exploring a potential move into Division I, as well as fundraising, creating student leadership, and developing strategies for all athletic and recreational programs.
The final word?
Our goal in the athletics department is to continue the upward trajectory that the University is already on — to catch up to the rest of campus, not to surpass it. The growth of this institution has been incredible, and I’m honored that I can be a part of it.