A statement from Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed on the passing of former Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Frank Rienzo.
It is with profound sadness that I convey the news of the passing of former Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Francis X. Rienzo on Saturday, November 3, 2018. On behalf of the Department of Athletics, we ask that all keep Frank and his family in your prayers.
Frank Rienzo represents all that is good about Georgetown University and our Department of Athletics. Much of what we are able to achieve today is because of the decisions that Frank made a generation ago. In addition to being a visionary, Frank was a shrewd businessman, coach, a wonderful husband to his wife Joan and loving father and grandfather.
In the fall of 1969, Georgetown hired a 36-year old high school teacher from Queens in New York City, who just happened to be the most successful track & field coach in the New York metropolitan region over the previous decade. His job was to resurrect the Hoya track and field program which had fallen on hard times.
Thirty years later (serving only five as coach), Frank retired from Georgetown as Senior Director of Athletics, having overseen the greatest expansion of athletics and the most successful era in the annals of Georgetown sports to-date.
When Frank took the reins of the Athletic Department in the spring of 1972, he faced a myriad of challenges that he navigated with a critical acumen that would define his tenure. His leadership guided the Department and thanks to his vision the Athletics Department expanded and flourished.
Frank and coaching legend John Thompson Jr. were the perfect pairing of coach and administrator in one of the most successful eras in the history of college basketball. Among his many accomplishments was spearheading the planning and construction of Yates Field House, the campus recreational facility competed in 1979; and overseeing the addition of eleven women's teams that were given varsity sports status by the end of the 1970's. By 1995 the number of varsity sports had grown from 11 to 26, all led by fulltime coaches. Finally, Frank played a pivotal role in the creation and development of the BIG EAST Conference, whose instant success and competitive profile brought Georgetown Athletics into the national spotlight.
In 1999, Frank was quoted as saying that when he assumed his position as Athletics Director his goal was "to build an athletics program as excellent as the academic programs at Georgetown." I think we would all agree that he achieved that goal and so much more.
Following his retirement in 1999, Frank was named Director of Athletics Emeritus. Subsequently, funding for an endowed chair for the director position in his name was generously given by the family of James Higgins, B'70.
Frank Rienzo was a giant and will truly be missed.