The 2015-16 academic year marks the 16th year Marty Scarano is serving as the director of athletics at the University of New Hampshire. During his tenure, Scarano has heightened national exposure for UNH athletics with academics, facility renovations and programmatic advancement being top priorities.
There has been over $15 million in capital improvements since Scarano’s hiring in the summer of 2000. On Jan. 31, 2014, the University announced plans to construct a $25 million athletic complex as part of the campus’ master plan. Expected to open in summer 2016, the facility will offer increased and improved seating, state-of-the art broadcast and WiFi capability, concessions, restrooms and a special student section. The original concrete section of the current East Side facility dates to the 1930s. Construction has already begun to take shape with the addition of stadium lights, replacement of the general admission stands and re-orientation of concrete stadium seating and aisle ways.
Most recently in the spring of 2015, UNH finished construction on the $2 million Watkins Center for Student-Athlete Excellence at the Field House for its Division I and Northeast Passage student-athletes, funded entirely on private donations. Then in summer 2015, it was announced that the Whittemore Center – home to both ice hockey teams and site of the 2016 Women’s Frozen Four – will receive a substantial facelift ($1.3 million) in the form of a four-sided, center-hung video board, a high resolution end zone board and LED display band.
In the spring of 2013, the artificial turf surface was replaced at Memorial Field, home of the Wildcat field hockey team. The project had an estimated cost of $850,000. The athletic training room in the UNH Field House was completely renovated over the winter break of the 2012-13 academic year. With a redesigned layout, energy-efficient lighting and state-of-the art equipment, the athletic training room is larger, more comfortable, enjoyable and efficient for student-athletes and staff. In the summer of 2013, a new scoreboard at Bremner Field, home of the UNH men’s and women’s soccer programs at a cost of $20,000.
In 2012, a new scoreboard was installed at Cowell Stadium, and the football locker room received a facelift. Changes included a new lighting system while a 55-inch flat-screen TV and Fathead-designed murals featuring former players and UNH historical images were added to the walls. A memorial of Todd Walker was also added in honor of the former Wildcat wide receiver who suffered an untimely and heroic death in March of 2011. In summer 2007, the Cowell Stadium grass field was replaced with a $1 million FieldTurf synthetic surface.
As part of a $650,000 renovation project in the summer of 2011, the field turf at Bremner Field was replaced with a new surface used by many varsity teams and for student recreational activities. In the fall of 2008, the Paul Sweet Oval renovation was completed to include new surfaces, lighting, painting, infrastructure upgrades and the replacement of windows that existed in the original architecture. The total cost of the project exceeded $500,000. Additionally in 2007, a complete renovation of Lundholm Gymnasium was undertaken. The $600,000 overhaul included a new bleacher system, new scoreboards, competition baskets and other aesthetic enhancements.
When the new state of the art video board is installed in the Whitt and the stadium completed in 2016, Scarano’s tenure will have realized over $41 million in capital improvements.
Scarano has helped elevate UNH athletics into the collegiate national arena. To accomplish that goal, the University has taken on the task of hosting many major NCAA championships. Most recently, New Hampshire was host of the 2015 Men’s Ice Hockey Northeast Regional at the Verizon Wireless Arena (Manchester, N.H.) and assisted Hockey East with the 2015 Men’s Ice Hockey Frozen Four at TD Garden (Boston, Mass). And in the next two years, UNH is host of the 2016 Women’s Frozen Four at the Whittemore Center and the 2017 Skiing Championship.
Student-athletes have excelled both in academics and athletics during Scarano’s tenure. A total of seven University of New Hampshire teams (men’s basketball, women’s cross country, field hockey, gymnastics, women’s indoor and outdoor track & field, and volleyball) received NCAA Public Recognition for posting a multi-year Academic Progress Rate score in the top 10 percent of their respective sport, and six squads received a perfect score in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate.
UNH won the 2014-15 America East Academic Cup by recording the highest combined GPA among all conference student-athletes with a mark of 3.23 – the highest in the award’s 20-year history; the Wildcats placed second in the standings four of the previous five years. New Hampshire had a league-high 10 student-athletes named as an America East Presidential Scholar-Athlete, the ‘Cats took home Elite 18 awards and four sport-specific Student-Athlete of the Year awards.
UNH also had one of its best years in competition in the 2014-15 academic season. The Wildcats placed 78th in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup with its second-highest point total (248.5) in school history; the Wildcats were the top-ranked America East school. Also of note, new Hampshire tied for 26th in the Capital One Cup men’s standings.
During Scarano’s tenure, UNH teams have made 68 NCAA postseason appearances and captured 22 conference titles. The ski team has competed at the NCAA Championships every year and consistently places among the top 10 in the nation. Gymnastics has also been a model of consistency and with participation in 14 NCAA tournaments. The football program has qualified for the NCAA FCS postseason for a nation-leading 11 consecutive seasons and advanced to the semifinals in both 2013 and 2014. Men’s ice hockey holds a pair of Hockey East titles and has made 11 trips to the NCAA tournament, including Frozen Four appearances in 2002 and 2003. Women’s ice hockey has seen NCAA action five times with two Frozen Four appearances; the squad captured consecutive Hockey East Championships from 2006-09. Volleyball has also made five NCAA tournament appearances, including back-to-back trips in ‘13 and ‘14, after capturing conference titles in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2013 and 2014. The field hockey team captured its second America East crown in three years – and third with Scarano at the helm – in 2013 en route to its third national tournament appearance. Women’s lacrosse has earned a pair of NCAA berths (2004, 2008), one coming after an America East championship victory in 2004. Women’s soccer won its first America East tournament title in 2014 en route to its first NCAA tourney appearance. Two members of the women’s outdoor track and field team qualified for the NCAAs out of the regionals and earned team points with All-America efforts in the steeplechase.
Additionally, 24 coaches have won 77 “Coach of the Year” awards during Scarano’s tenure, ranging from conference, regional and national, including football head coach Sean McDonnell garnering the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2014.
The Wildcat athletic department has played host to several highly successful NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Northeast Regionals at the Verizon Wireless Arena in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015. UNH was host of the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Frozen Four at the Whittemore Center in 2002 and 2005. In addition, UNH successfully hosted the 2007 NCAA Skiing Championships in Washington Valley as well as the 2005 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Northeast Regional at the Whittemore Center. The women’s hockey team played in the first outdoor game in the history of NCAA women’s hockey in 2010 at the Sun Life Frozen Fenway game and defeated Northeastern, while the men’s squad played in the 2012 Sun Life Frozen Fenway game against Maine. Football also competed in Colonial Clash games at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., in 2010 and 2011; the Wildcats were victorious on both occasions against the University of Massachusetts.
In 2007, Scarano was awarded the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) AD of the Year for the FCS. Additionally, Scarano was also named the All-American Football Foundation Athletic Director of the Year for FCS football in the Northeast region. Scarano was the chair of the executive committees for Atlantic 10 football, Hockey East and America East from 2003-07. He is currently both the Chairperson of Athletic Directors Council for America East and the chair of CAA Football.
He also served as chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee in 2005-06 and 2006-07. Scarano was a member of the Hockey East restructuring team that successfully recruited Notre Dame and University of Connecticut to the conference. Outside of athletics, Scarano is in his 12th year on the Board of Corporators at Canterbury Shaker Village, a non-profit museum located in Canterbury, N.H.
Before arriving at UNH, Scarano held the position of Athletics Director at Colorado College from July 1996 through June 2000. During his tenure, Colorado College was ranked among the top 20 Division III programs in the Sears Cup national standings and produced several All-Americans, all-academic award winners and NCAA post-graduate scholarship recipients. Prior to his stay in Colorado Springs, Scarano worked for 13 years at Colgate University, where he served as assistant director of athletics, director of physical education, associate director, and senior associate director.
Scarano, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., is a 1978 graduate of Penn State University, where he started his athletic career as assistant ticket manager and the athletics events manager from 1980-83. Scarano holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental History from Colgate. He and his wife, Cydney, have three children: daughter, Lynden; son, Kyle, a recent graduate of UNH; and daughter, Corey, a freshman at UNH.