|Title:||Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics|
|Alma Mater:||Youngstown State, 1993|
Now in his 15th year as Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and 20th as a member of the athletic department, former Penguins student-athlete Ron Strollo has worked diligently to ensure that today's student-athletes have the support system in place to succeed not only at Youngstown State, but also in their future.
As evidenced by 11 Horizon League championships during the last two academic years, as well as back-to-back top three finishes for the McCafferty Trophy (the Horizon League’s all-sports award), opening of new facilities, school-record breaking performances, all-time high fundraising levels and numerous academic honors, his vision for successful broad-based programs and providing student-athletes tools to succeed on and off the playing fields is coming to fruition.
YSU has won 25 Horizon League titles while winning consecutive Gateway Football Conference (now the Missouri Valley Football Conference) championships in 2005 and 2006 during Strollo’s tenure.
In 2014-15, the Penguins captured five Horizon League championships in women’s cross country, women’s tennis, women’s indoor track and field, women’s outdoor track and field and women’s golf. It marked the second straight championships for the cross country and track and field teams and the women’s tennis program. The women’s tennis team played at top-seeded USC and women’s golf competed at the NCAA Regional at Notre Dame. Men’s tennis and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field finished second while the men’s cross country team placed third.
The Penguins won a Horizon League-best six championships during the 2013-14 academic year, including baseball, women’s cross country, women’s tennis, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and men’s outdoor track and field. The baseball team earned a trip to the NCAA Regional at Indiana and picked up the program’s first NCAA victory with a 5-2 win over Indiana State. The women’s tennis team competed against ACC member Virginia in the NCAA Regional. The men’s cross country and indoor track and field team finished second while the women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, softball and men’s tennis teams all placed third in the league.
Always a firm believer that state-of-the-art facilities attract quality coaches and student-athletes, Strollo negotiated, as part of the University’s new pouring-rights contract with Pepsi signed in 2014, the acquisition of a new videoboard and scoreboards for Stambaugh Stadium, which will be installed for the 2015 season. He also spearheaded the move for new Musco lighting for Beede Field to enhance YSU’s ability to host ESPN and regional and national broadcasts.
The Watson and Tressel Training Site (WATTS), a $12.3 million indoor athletic practice facility, was completed in the summer of 2011 and includes a state-of-the-art 300-meter indoor track, a full-length football practice field, baseball and softball batting cages, netting and a chipping and putting green for golf, and locker rooms and office space. More than 200 outside groups and more than 30,000 people used the WATTS during the 2014-15 academic year.
After he secured a $500,000 naming-rights gift from Farmers National Bank, construction of Farmers National Bank Field was complete and the soccer program played its inaugural season at the new on-campus venue in the fall of 2013. In the spring of 2014, the softball program played its inaugural season at the YSU Softball Field and the men’s and women’s track and field team hosted and swept the 2014 Horizon League Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
He also led an effort to renovate every lockerroom and coaches’ offices, replaced surfaces, lights and sound systems in both the Beeghly Center and Stambaugh Stadium.
Academically, the Penguins continued a standard of excellence in the classroom, boasting an impressive 3.10 grade-point average at the end of the spring semester. Out of 329 student-athletes, an all-time best 206 (63 percent) recorded a grade-point average higher than 3.0. For the second straight year, Youngstown State had at least 30 Academic All-Horizon League selections. Prior to last year, YSU had not had more than 29 Academic All-Horizon League picks and had averaged 23 selections in the first 12 years in the conference.
There were 75 Penguins who made the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll in the fall, and 73 earned a spot in the spring, 38 YSU football players named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s Academic Honor Roll for 2014.
In 10 of the 11 semesters since January 2010, YSU student-athletes have maintained a 3.00-GPA or better.
Sixteen student-athletes have captured 18 CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades while a total of 66 have been named to Academic All-District teams in the past 14 years
As Executive Director of the Penguin Club, Youngstown State athletics’ fundraising arm, Strollo led the development group to unprecedented growth in membership revenue and endowed scholarships.
Basketball Courtside Coaches Club membership revenues are up 32 percent from 2009-10 while Football Gridiron Club membership revenues increased 28 percent during the same time.
The number of endowed scholarships rose by 39 percent and the value of all endowed scholarships increased by 76 percent or more than $3 million from 2009-10 to 2014-15.
His solid reputation has landed him on prominent regional and national committees. He has served in various capacities with the Horizon League, including chair of the strategic planning committee, chair of the executive council, chair of the finance committee, chair of the television committee, and liaison for men’s basketball. He served on the NCAA Division I Football Championship Selection Committee; was on the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee; served as the Central Region Chair of the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee and as the president of the FCS Athletic Directors Association. He also served four years on the NCAA Championship and Competition Cabinet. Prior to the 2015 season, he was chosen to the College Football Officiating Football Competition Committee.
Strollo returned to his alma mater in 1996 as athletic business manager. In March 2000, he was named the school's Associate Executive Director of Athletics. In his short time in that capacity, he helped spearhead the transition into the Horizon League. He succeeded current YSU President James P. Tressel as Executive Director of Athletics in July of 2001, which was YSU’s first year of competition in the Horizon League.
He has strong ties to the local community and to the athletic department. He is a currently serving as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Youngstown Public Library. He grew up in nearby Austintown and attended Fitch High School. He played football for YSU from 1988 through 1991 for Coach Tressel and was named captain of the first National Championship team in 1991. He earned his bachelor's degree in accounting from Youngstown State in June, 1993. He worked for three years at Hill Barth & King in Youngstown where he became a CPA.
Ron and his wife, Nicole, reside in Austintown with their two children, Ryan and Rachel. Nicole, a former YSU student-athlete who competed in track and cross country from 1989 through 1993, is an assistant cross country/track and field coach for the Penguins. She is also a nurse practitioner and faculty member in YSU’s Department of Nursing.