|Title:||Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics|
|Alma Mater:||Youngstown State, 1993|
Now in his 16th year as Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and 21st 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 15 Horizon League championships during the last three academic years, as well as three straight top four 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 30 Horizon League titles while winning consecutive Gateway Football Conference (now the Missouri Valley Football Conference) championships in 2005 and 2006 during Strollo’s tenure. Since November of 2013, YSU has won 16 of those crowns.
The Penguins accumulated four Horizon League Championships in 2015-16 in men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, women’s outdoor track and field and women’s tennis. It marked the women’s tennis program’s and the women’s outdoor track and field team’s third straight Horizon League titles, and the first time the men’s track and field team swept the indoor and outdoor championships. The women’s tennis team faced fourth-seeded Ohio State in the NCAA Regionals.
Also during the 2015-16 academic year, Strollo announced the addition of women’s bowling to the list of YSU’s NCAA Division I sports, increasing the total to 19. The women’s bowling team’s inaugural season will commence in 2016-17.
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, 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.
Always a firm believer that state-of-the-art facilities attract quality coaches and student-athletes, Strollo helped secure a $1-million gift for the Don Constantini Multimedia Center on the East side of Stambaugh Stadium. The center will house an expanded press box for television talent and replay, home and visiting radio, and a classroom and lab for students in the Sports Broadcasting curriculum. Strollo also approved the redesign of Rosselli Court in the Beeghly Center, which was completed in the summer of 2016.
As part of the University’s new pouring-rights contract with Pepsi signed in 2014, the school acquired a new high-definition videoboard and scoreboards for Stambaugh Stadium, which were 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 2015-16 academic year.
Farmers National Bank Field was completed and the soccer program played its inaugural season at the 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 3.11 grade-point average at the end of the 2016 spring semester. Out of 359 student-athletes, 223 (62 percent) recorded a grade-point average higher than 3.0. For two of the last three years, Youngstown State had at least 30 Academic All-Horizon League selections. They Penguins had 24 in 2015-16. Prior 2013-14, 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 98 Penguins who made the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll in the fall and 105 earned a spot in the spring, 11 YSU football players earned the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s Commissioner’s Award and 41 were named to the MVFC Academic Honor Roll for 2015.
In 12 of the 13 semesters since January 2010, YSU student-athletes have maintained a 3.00-GPA or better.
Fourteen student-athletes have captured 16 CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades since 2001 while a total of 60 have been named to Academic All-District teams in the past 15 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 27 percent from 2009-10 while Football Gridiron Club membership revenues increased 50 percent during the same time.
During his tenure as Athletics Director, the number of endowed scholarships has risen by 250 percent and the value of all endowed scholarships increased by more than 400 percent or nearly $6 million.
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 be a member of the newly formed College Football Officiating 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 Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. 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.