Announcement Regarding M. Dianne Murphy, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education

September 23, 2014

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
I write to inform you that earlier this summer Dr. M. Dianne Murphy shared with me that she will be stepping down from her role as Columbia’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education at the end of this academic year.  She will then have completed a decade of remarkable service to the University, a period during which she has led the transformation of our athletics program and overseen an unprecedented record of success in the modern history of Columbia Athletics.
When I appointed Dianne as our Athletics Director, it was with the understanding that Columbia expects excellence in all that we do, whether in the classroom, the research lab, or our athletic competitions.  Her dedication has enabled our student-athletes to meet that high standard consistent with the demanding academic and competitive values of the Ivy League.  Since the 2004-05 academic year, Columbia Athletics has won 26 Ivy League team championships in 11 different sports, the most in any single decade in the University’s history.
This decade of achievement was capped in emphatic fashion throughout the 2013-14 seasons, which were filled with team and individual Ivy championships.  Last spring alone, Columbia won a second straight baseball crown, had an undefeated Ivy League record in Men’s Tennis (an Ivy champion that only fell in the NCAA tournament to the nation’s top-ranked team), won several Men’s Golf championships, and won a national championship in Lightweight Rowing.  Those successes followed fall and winter seasons highlighted by the Women’s Swimming team’s undefeated run of Ivy League dual meets and a Men’s Basketball team that won the most games in nearly half a century, including its first two post-season tournament games since 1968.  Completing this past year’s remarkable record, Columbia also claimed Ivy League titles in Men’s Cross Country and Men’s Fencing.
These team victories were mirrored by our student-athletes who competed in individual events, winning ten Ivy League individual and relay event championships in swimming and track and field.  Over the past ten years, Columbia athletes have won 128 individual championships, the fourth most in the Ivy League during that period.  Overall, Columbia finished in the top 21 percent of 292 Division 1 schools in the NACDA Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings for 2013-14, the highest finish for Columbia since the competition was launched in 1993.  Dianne has spearheaded upgrades to Baker Athletics Complex, helped realize the new Campbell Sports Center, initiated the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame, and added Men’s and Women’s Squash as Columbia’s 30th and 31st varsity sports programs, while leading a historic fundraising campaign to support Columbia Athletics.  Dianne’s commitment to recruiting talented coaches in all areas has been essential to our progress.  And in sports that have not yet achieved up to their potential, she has continued to recruit exceptional coaches with a mandate to improve.  

In the year ahead we will have many opportunities to honor Dianne for her service to Columbia and to intercollegiate athletics nationally.  We will also have ample time for a search committee to work with me on finding a successor who can build on the extraordinary foundation she has established.  At a fundamental level, Dianne’s impact has been to change our collective expectations for Columbia Athletics.  And you can’t ask for more than that.
Lee C. Bollinger