Athletics News

 Carolyn O'Connell
Carolyn  O'Connell

Senior Associate Athletics Director/SWA

In her 33rd year with Loyola University Chicago Athletics, Carolyn Vellos O'Connell is vital to the day-to-day operations of the Loyola Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Her responsibilities as senior associate athletics director also include those of senior woman administrator, a position she has held since 1984.

As senior associate athletics director, O'Connell oversees the sports of men's golf, women's golf, women's volleyball, men's volleyball and softball. She also serves as the senior compliance officer in addition to overseeing student-athlete development. Other responsibilities include serving as the departmental liaison to the offices of admissions, residence life, student financial assistance and learning assistance.

In October 2011, O'Connell was presented with an Administrator of the Year Award for Division I from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA)

A well-respected administrator, O'Connell, who served as Loyola's interim athletics director for three months from January through March 2011, sits on numerous committees. She is a chair of the Horizon League Softball Committee and is on the Membership Committee. O'Connell is also a current member of the NCAA Progress Toward Degree Committee, while having previously spent time on the Horizon League Championships and Facilities Committee. She has also served on the Local Organizing Committee for all three Women's Leadership Symposiums.

On campus, O'Connell has served as the chair of the Staff Affairs University Policy Committee, one of seven committees which comprise the President's Shared Governance structure to assist in the process of creating policies that best advance the mission of the University. She was also appointed by the President to serve on the Commission of the Status of Women at Loyola University Chicago and has filled the role of Loyola mentor to new employees.

A former chair of the NCAA Initial Eligibility Waiver Committee, O'Connell recently completed a seven-year stint as a member of the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee and began service as a member of the NCAA Men's Volleyball Sport Committee in September 2010. She recently completed the 18-month-long NCAA Fellows Leadership Development Program, with professional presentations including Work/Life Balance in Intercollegiate Athletics at the 2007 NCAA Gender Equity and Issues Forum, and Leadership in Intercollegiate Athletics at the 2009 Women's Leadership Symposium. Scheduled to present at the NACWAA/NCAA Women's Leadership Symposium in May 2013, O'Connell also filled the role of panelist for the Female International Student-Athlete Forum at the 2010 Gender Equity and Issues Forum.

Additionally, O'Connell has presented workshops at local area high schools on college recruiting and NCAA Initial Eligibility Requirements and the recruiting process. O'Connell, who participated in her fourth peer review visit in September 2010 for NCAA Division I Athletics Certification, serves on the NACWAA Membership Committee and was a NACWAA mentor in 2009-10. An active member of the National Association of Athletic Compliance Coordinators, O'Connell held a seat on the local organizing committee for the fourth annual Women's Leadership Symposium and during the 2009-10 season, she served as a NCAA Championship Site Representative for women's volleyball and women's lacrosse. She has also served as a NCAA site representative for the women' soccer and women's volleyball championships.

Prior to 1984, O'Connell also held the assistant athletics director position, the coordinator for women's athletics, assistant women's basketball coach and the head women's volleyball coach titles. As volleyball coach at Loyola from 1979-83, she compiled an overall record of 173-87 and was named North Star Conference Coach of the Year in 1983, leading her team to the league championship. She was an assistant coach for the Midwest men's volleyball team at the National Sports Festival in Syracuse, N.Y.

Before joining the Loyola staff in 1979, O'Connell spent five years teaching and coaching at Resurrection High School in Chicago. A 1974 graduate of DePaul University, she received her bachelor's degree in education and earned a master's degree in administration and supervision from Loyola's School of Education. A standout on the women's volleyball team, she was inducted into DePaul's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993.

O'Connell has also been active in and around the community, serving as a former board member of the Skokie Indians Youth Baseball league as well as a three-year board member at St. Athanasius School. She was also a six-year volunteer for the Loyola Academy Mother's Club.

O'Connell and her husband Ray, and two sons, Raymond and Peter, reside in Evanston.