GALESBURG, Illinois — Following a nationwide search, Knox College has appointed Daniella J. Irle as director of athletics. Irle currently serves as deputy director of athletics and senior woman administrator at the University of North Dakota, a position she has held since 2013. She succeeds Chad Eisele, who left Knox in July to serve as director of athletics at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.
“We are excited to welcome Daniella to Knox and to the Prairie Fire athletics program. Her years in athletics administration, as well as an award-winning career as a coach, make her a dynamic and experienced leader for Knox athletics,” said Teresa Amott, Knox College president.
As director of athletics at Knox, Irle will be responsible for the organization and supervision of 20 NCAA Division III teams, the management of athletic and recreation facilities, and an athletics staff serving 400 student-athletes per year.
“I believe in the power of athletics to transform a collegiate experience for a student and to enhance the campus experience for all members of the community, particularly at the Division III level” says Irle. “It will be an honor to represent a school with such a strong academic reputation, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a historic athletic program. I look forward to working with the coaches, student-athletes, and the entire campus community to continue the excellent work of the last decade and to build even more robust and competitive programs within the Midwest Conference and Division III.”
In her 25-year career in collegiate athletics, Daniella Irle has seen success as both a coach and an administrator. Prior to her current role at the University of North Dakota (UND), Irle served as the assistant athletics director of business and student services operations at Tulane University. She also served three seasons as the head coach of the Tulane women’s swimming and diving team, a program she revived after a 13-year hiatus, and was twice named the Conference USA Coach of the Year. Irle’s coaching experience also includes 10 years as the Fresno State swimming and diving coach, where she was twice named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, and a combined three years as an assistant coach at Louisiana State University and the University of Texas at Austin.
At UND, Irle was responsible for the development and implementation of the university’s move to Division I athletics, as well as the transition plans for all sports and units within athletics into the Great West, Big Sky and Summit Conferences. Last year, the UND won the Big Sky Conference Presidents’ Cup, recognizing athletic and academic excellence and service to the community. Her commitment to the holistic development of student-athletes can be seen in the success of UND athletes under her tenure, including more than 20 regular season or conference play championships and the receipt of NCAA Elite Awards and Postgraduate Scholarships and Academic All-Americans.
Irle received her bachelor’s degree from Lamar University and her master’s degree in public administration from the University of New Orleans. She is a graduate of the NCAA Women’s Leaders in College Sports Executive Institute 2017.
“Daniella’s experience as a coach and administrator, as well as her passion for athletics at the collegiate level, make her an exciting new leader for our athletics program. We look forward to seeing her passion and leadership make a positive impact on our student-athletes, coaches, and the campus as a whole,” said co-chairs of the director of athletics search committee Kim Schrader, Title IX coordinator, and Lawrence Welch, professor of chemistry and faculty athletic representative.
Irle will assume her role at Knox early this spring.
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