Thomas A. Beckett has been appointed to a second five-year term as Yale's director of athletics, according to an announcement in December by President Richard C. Levin.
"Tom has worked tirelessly and effectively to revitalize Yale's athletic programs and facilities and to develop community outreach programs that link us with the young people of New Haven," Levin said. "We are delighted that he has agreed to stay with us and build on his already impressive record of success at Yale."
"This appointment underscores the importance of athletics at Yale," added the President. "With the support of the coaches, athletes, and staff, Tom is building a solid foundation for his long-range goal of establishing Yale varsity teams as the 'champions of champions' within the Ivy League."
Yale is a NCAA Division I school and a competitor in the Ivy League and the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. As athletic director, Beckett oversees a budget of $17 million, a staff of over 200, extensive athletic facilities, plus physical education and recreational programs including club sports and the University's 33 varsity sports -- among the highest number of any school in the nation. He is credited with building alumni support across the country for a new crew boathouse and for the $35 million renovation of Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
"We have made significant progress in many areas," said Beckett, "and we have much more to do. Yale has a proud tradition of athletic success, and our goal is to add to this distinction. I look forward to working with everyone associated with Yale and Yale Athletics in the years ahead."
Levin noted that many members of the Yale community have said they believe "Yale is enormously lucky to have someone of Tom Beckett's professionalism, energy and devotion." Among those praising the reappointment was Stanton Wheeler, the Ford Foundation Professor of Law and the Social Sciences, master of Morse College and chair of the Faculty Committee on Athletics, who said: "Tom Beckett has been prodigious in his ability to give time, attention, and care to the many disparate areas under his umbrella. Only someone of unflagging energy, caring, and competence could manage this successfully. I'm delighted that he has agreed to continue to lead Yale athletics."
Yale College Dean H. Richard Brodhead echoed that sentiment: "Tom Beckett brings great warmth and an inspiring sense of ambition to Yale's athletics programs. He projects a powerful sense of caring, for Yale athletics and for each individual student in his programs. He is a wonderful colleague and an extraordinary asset to the University."
Beckett has served as the University's athletic director since 1994 and is known on campus as "Yale's Biggest Fan," a distinction which he earned by attending almost every home contest for the past four years. During his tenure, varsity teams have won four Ivy Championships in each of the last two years. "Tom has a great vision for Yale varsity athletics," noted Cecelia Demarco, head coach of women's basketball. "With that vision comes a step-by-step plan for a way to become more competitive. He knows what needs to be done so that coaches and programs can be successful, and he knows how to get it done."
Beckett's community outreach efforts have secured an endowment which funds the Thomas W. Ford '42 Community Outreach Program, which won last spring's Athletic Management Magazine award for excellence in community relations. In 1996, the department received a federal grant to implement a five-week summer day program that offered more than 300 New Haven children academic instruction and athletics opportunities. In addition, Yale athletes, coaches and staff have participated in visits to local hospitals, Olympic Youth Day, youth sports clinics, and donations of sports equipment to local youth agencies over the last four years. In fact, Beckett "has created a new Yale athletic family by reaching out with sincerity and warmth to the University and the Greater New Haven communities," notes Ed Mockus, director of intramural sports and recreation and administrator of Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned varsity letters in two sports, Beckett played professional baseball in the San Francisco Giants organization. He holds a master's degree from his alma mater and a degree from the Harvard Institute of Life Science. He has coached at the University of Pittsburgh and participated in the administration of Stanford's athletic program, which produced 32 NCAA national championships.