MACOMB, IL – Interim Western Illinois University Director of Athletics Danielle Surprenant has been named director of WIU Intercollegiate Athletics, effective June 1. A press conference will be forthcoming to highlight the future of Leatherneck Athletics.
Surprenant was named interim director of WIU Athletics in May 2018. She is the second female athletic director in WIU’s history. Helen Smiley was the first female athletic director at WIU, serving in that lead role from 1994-2001.
During Surprenant’s time as interim director of Intercollegiate Athletics, she has ensured the department’s efforts and commitment to gender equity, diversity and inclusion. Under her leadership, athletics has undergone a number of facility enhancements, including the second phase of the men’s soccer locker room project, installation of new swimming blocks, two athletic training room renovations, updates to the weight room and a new athletics semi. In addition, new academic initiatives have been implemented to enhance the educational services and programming opportunities provided to student-athletes. Athletics recorded its highest student-athlete GPA on record with a 3.199.
Surprenant has also conducted several crucial personnel hires, including searches for a head volleyball coach and a head softball coach. Furthermore, she has implemented cost-savings measures for athletics, worked to enhance the corporate sponsorship program, which resulted in increasing sponsorships to create additional revenue for athletics and developing a plan to generate new partnerships, as well as further building community relations initiatives. Surprenant has also assisted with fundraising efforts, which included commitments of $750,000 in scholarship endowments, and major events such as the Leatherneck Golf Club Outing and Purple & Gold Auction.
Prior to May 2018, Surprenant was the senior associate athletic director for internal operations and senior woman administrator from 2017-2018. As the senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator, Surprenant oversaw all external and internal audits, organized staff and student-athlete training and assisted in major fundraising efforts for the department. Before coming to WIU, Surprenant was the associate athletic director for compliance and internal operations and senior woman administrator at Quincy University (2010-2017) and an academic adviser for student athlete development at Stony Brook University (2009-2010).
“Danielle brings the solid background in collegiate athletics necessary to lead Leatherneck Athletics,” said WIU President Jack Thomas. “She has the experience necessary to continue the long tradition of excellence in WIU Athletics.”
Surprenant received her bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in recreation and sport management from Indiana State University. She is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, Women Leaders in College Sports, the Football Championship Subdivision Athletic Directors Association, is the chair of The Summit League’s Sports Medicine Committee and attended the Diversity and Inclusion Forum in Spring 2018.
The director of Intercollegiate Athletics overseas the administration of athletics and all administrative operations and business functions of the program in accordance with the policies and procedures of the institution, NCAA and The Summit League and Missouri Valley Football Conference.