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Vince Nicastro enters his 13th year as the Villanova University Director of Athletics in 2012-13.
As the Director of Athletics, Nicastro is responsible for leading a Villanova Athletics Department that is committed to excellence both in competition and in the classroom. The broad-based Wildcat athletics program is comprised of 24 men's and women's varsity sports and over 500 student-athletes. In addition, club sports and an extensive intramurals and recreation program fall under the auspices of the Athletic Department. Villanova is a member of the Big East Conference and the Colonial Athletic Association Football Conference.
In his 12 seasons at the helm, Nicastro has overseen significant success in the key areas of intercollegiate athletics, and the past three years in particular have been a period of great achievement.
On the heels of back-to-back extremely successful campaigns Villanova continued its momentum during the 2011-12 academic year. The Wildcats saw the men's and women's cross country teams each win BIG EAST team titles and qualify for the NCAA Championships. The women's cross country team finished third at the national championships and Sheila Reid repeated as the individual national champion. During the spring season Reid led Villanova to the program's 30th Penn Relays title when the Wildcats won the distance medley relay. Other highlights for the 2011-12 academic year included the men's soccer team advancing to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship for the first time ever and Villanova hosting the inaugural BIG EAST Championship for men's lacrosse at Villanova Stadium.
Villanova finished 2010-11 ranked 50th in the NACDA Directors' Cup, a program which recognizes a school's across-the-board success in athletics. The ranking was Villanova's highest since 2003-04 and ranked the Wildcats second among non-Football Bowl Subdivision schools and fifth best among all BIG EAST schools. The 2010-11 academic year was highlighted by the women's cross country team winning its second consecutive and ninth all-time national championship. In all five different teams advanced to national postseason play in 2010-11, including the men's lacrosse team earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships for the first time in its history after being ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation during the season. The football team reached the semifinals of the Division I Football Championship in its third straight playoff appearance and the men's basketball team played in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh consecutive year.
The successful campaign for the Wildcats in 2010-11 followed an equally impressive year in 2009-10, when Villanova celebrated national championships in women's cross country and football. The football team won its first-ever FCS national championship, while the women's soccer and men's basketball teams also made trips to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, the women's indoor track & field team captured the BIG EAST championship and the men's lacrosse team was ranked in the nation's top-10 during the inaugural year of men's lacrosse competition in the BIG EAST Conference.
Under Nicastro's stewardship, the men's basketball team qualified for the NCAA Tournament for seven straight years (2005-11) and played in the 2009 Final Four. The women's soccer team participated in six NCAA Tournaments from 2001-09 and the women's basketball program has tallied 20 wins or more six times since 2000 en route to earning a postseason bid in 10 of the last 13 years, including a visit to the Elite Eight in 2003. The football team has made four appearances in the NCAA playoffs since 2002, including semifinal appearances in 2002 and 2010 and winning the 2009 national championship.
In his tenure as Director, Nicastro has been instrumental in the growth of the Villanova Athletic Fund program, which once again achieved an unprecedented level of participation in 2010-11. Nicastro has also played an integral role in securing numerous major gifts for endowments and facility upgrades to benefit Villanova Athletics.
The most striking capital undertaking is the Davis Center for Athletics & Fitness that serves as a state-of-the-art practice facility for use by the men's and women's basketball programs and greatly improves the recreational and fitness offerings for the campus community. The $18.7 million facility, which opened in November of 2007, represents the largest capital project in University history to be funded entirely through donor support. Other facility upgrades under Nicastro's watch include the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth Meeting; a new softball complex; the Villanova Stadium Turf Replacement; the installation of a new track in Villanova Stadium, new track & field throwing sectors and numerous team locker room enhancements.
Achievement in the classroom has also remained a priority under Nicastro's leadership. During the 2011-12 academic year, Villanova student-athletes posted a 3.173 grade point average - making 17 consecutive semesters with a composite GPA above 3.0, while achieving exemplary graduation rates. Also in 2011-12, seven Wildcat teams received NCAA Public Recognition Awards for ranking in the top 10 percent in the nation for team GPA within their sport. In addition, Villanova saw 22 of its varsity sports post an APR score above the overall national average. Those beyond the Villanova zip code have taken notice. U.S. News and World Report listed Villanova as one of the Top 20 athletic programs in the nation in 2003. In 2004, Villanova was recognized as the top program in the Big East Conference in a study conducted by the Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics at Texas A&M. In its first presentation of the Excellence in Athletics Cup, Villanova was cited for success in areas including NCAA postseason success, graduation rates, gender equity position and operating efficiency.
In 2003, Nicastro oversaw the second cycle of the NCAA's re-certification of Villanova University Athletics. He has also guided the University's implementation of a comprehensive Title IX compliance program which has increased opportunities for female student-athletes and enhanced resources for Villanova's women's programs.
Nicastro joined the Villanova Athletics Department in 1994 when he was hired as the school's Director of Ticket Operations. He was promoted to Assistant Athletics Director in 1997, and then elevated to the position of Associate Athletics Director soon thereafter. As an Associate Athletics Director, he was responsible for overseeing the department's administrative functions, including business operations, personnel and staffing and the sports medicine and strength/conditioning programs.
On his path to the Director's office, Nicastro served as the designated sport administrator for many of Villanova's men's and women's varsity programs, working closely to plan and develop all aspects of their sport's programs. Nicastro also coordinated Villanova's summer camp programs and the department's information technology issues.
Nicastro has also been active both inside and outside the University, serving on many key committees. He is a member of the Villanova University President's Cabinet and the University's Administrative Budget Committee, which plays a key role in crafting the University's operating budget and making recommendations for strategic investments. Nicastro is also the chair of the Big East Conference Finance Committee and formerly chaired the Big East Conference Athletic Directors Executive Committee and the Big East Conference Championships and Competition Committee. Nicastro has been a member of the Colonial Athletic Association Football Conference Executive Committee and is on the Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Sports Congress.
A 1987 graduate of Bloomsburg University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Accounting, Nicastro earned his MBA from St. Joseph's University in 1994. Nicastro and his wife Liz reside in Drexel Hill, Pa., with their 12-year old twin sons, Jake and Casey.