|Title:||Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics|
|College:||Youngstown State, 1993|
Now in his 13th year as Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and 18th as a member of the athletic department, former Penguin 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.
His vision for successful broad-based programs and providing student-athletes tools to succeed on and off the playing fields is coming to fruition.
The 2012-13 school year was one of the most successful athletic campaigns of Strollo’s tenure. In the fall of 2012, the football program picked up the first win over a BCS opponent in school history; the soccer team set a school mark for most wins in a season and the volleyball program posted a 10-win improvement from the year before.
The men’s and women’s basketball program’s made postseason tournament in the same season for the first time in school history. The women’s team went 23-10 and qualified for the WNIT while the men’s program posted an 18-16 overall record and earned a berth in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
The football and men’s and women’s basketball programs combined for a home record of 31-7.
Sophomore swimmer Ashley Dow became the first Penguin to ever win two events at the Horizon League Championship meet.
This past spring, the women’s tennis team went 15-10 in 2012-13 after winning 12 matches combined over the previous three seasons, a tremendous turnaround under second-year head coach Mark Klysner.
After qualifying for the Horizon League tournament on the final day of the regular season, the softball program made an exciting run to the Horizon League championship game before being eliminated.
Sophomore women’s golfer Allison Mitzel won the conference title by seven strokes and the team posted a runner-up finish.
Strollo has concentrated his priorities on facility improvements; full compliance of NCAA regulations; fiscal management and budgetary maintenance; streamlining department organization; increasing visibility and fundraising efforts; and enhancing the overall experience and competitiveness of student-athletes and programs.
During his tenure, Strollo has placed a priority on the construction and enhancements of athletic venues. The Watson and Tressel Training Site (WATTS), a $12.3 million indoor athletic practice facility, was completed in the summer of 2011. The WATTS 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.
In a continued effort to enhance gateways to campus and facilities for all University departments, Strollo spearheaded property acquisition to construct new on-campus facilities for the softball, soccer and track and field programs.
Strollo secured a $500,000 naming-rights gift from Farmers National Bank and the soccer program will play the inaugural season at Farmers National Bank Field in 2013. Construction of the new softball stadium is expected to be completed for the start of the 2014 season.
During the summer of 2011, Beede Field at Stambaugh Stadium underwent a new turf installation. Other recent improvements to Stambaugh Stadium have included: renovations to assistant football coaches offices, new softball and soccer locker rooms, north-stadium scoreboard enhancements with new signage, lighting, and advanced safety precautions for videographers.
Within the auxiliary gyms in Stambaugh, 18 new glass blackboards were mounted, and the courts were refinished. Three full-length courts were created during the process providing the basketball and volleyball programs with additional practice and workout space.
Within the past five years in Stambaugh Stadium, office space in the athletic marketing and ticket offices and football suite received an enhancement, the football locker room, weight room and athletic training offices were renovated, and upgrades were made to the baseball locker room. Other upgrades include chair-back seats (2009), a south-stadium scoreboard (2009), a concourse-level elevator, and a scoreboard and a Mitsubishi DiamondVision videoboard.
The Beeghly Center has undergone more than $4 million in renovations. During the spring of 2013, a new weight room was constructed while installation of a new videoboard and film room is expected in the summer of 2013. In the past five years, Youngstown State has acquired the 2009 Men's Final Four basketball hoops, installed new strobe lighting, refurbished the volleyball, swimming and diving, and men's and women’s basketball locker rooms and renovated the men’s and women’s basketball office suite. In 2008, a new Dom Rosselli Court was installed and a strength and conditioning room was built for the men's and women's basketball, volleyball and swimming and diving programs.
Strollo has also secured agreements for Eastwood Field, the home of the Cleveland Indians' Class-A affiliate, and Cene Park to be the baseball team's home fields.
Strollo has served on prominent regional and national committees. 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 a two-year term as the Chair of the Horizon League Executive Committee and spent four years on the NCAA Championship and Competition Cabinet.
Thanks to the benevolence of the Andrews Trust and the priority Strollo places on academics, the academic counseling center underwent a significant renovation and expansion and continues to receive technology upgrades.
In the past 10 years, the department, which has been recognized as a national leader for its graduation rates, has had many successes on and off the playing field.
Under his leadership, Youngstown State earned full NCAA certification in 2007. This review of governance and commitment to rules, academic integrity, and equity and student-athlete well-being showed YSU athletics operates in substantial conformity with the operating principles adopted by the NCAA Division I membership.
As of late, Youngstown State student-athletes posted a record-setting semester in the classroom. In the 2012-13 academic year, the Penguins set all-time program highs for combined cumulative grade-point average (spring semester) and number of athletes with a cumulative GPA above 3.0 (fall and spring semester) while a record 59 percent had a semester GPA above 3.00.
In six of the seven semesters since January 2010, YSU student-athletes have maintained a 3.00-GPA or better.
On average, half of the 300-plus student-athletes maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Of the 18 sports programs, 75 percent boast an overall GPA of at least 3.0. YSU's Academic Progress Rate is well above the national average for public institutions, and its 93 percent graduation rate is at an all-time high.
Fifteen student-athletes have captured 17 CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades while a total of 65 have been named to Academic All-District teams.
YSU has won 14 Horizon League titles while winning consecutive Gateway Football Conference (now the Missouri Valley Football Conference) championships in 2005 and 2006. Most recently, YSU added the 2012 Horizon League Women's Outdoor Track and Field to its trophy haul.
In Strollo's role as the Executive Director of the Penguin Club, the organization has increased athletic endowed scholarship contributions annually. Annual events keep improving every year, and the growth of the Football Alumni Club has had a positive impact on the department.
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 has strong ties to the local community and to the athletic department. He grew up in nearby Austintown and attended Fitch High School. He played football for YSU from 1988 through 1991 for Coach Jim 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.