In its 58th year, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics announced its 28 winners of the Cushman & Wakefield Athletic Director of the Year Award on March 27, 2023. The award itself covers seven divisions of college athletics including the NCAA FBS, FCS, Division 1-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community College, according to the official announcement. Among this year’s winners is Fairfield’s own Vice President for Athletics Paul Schlickmann.

In the announcement, NACDA Chief Executive Officer Pat Manak stated that “The Cushman & Wakefield Athletics Director of the Year Award has grown to become a universally recognized and respected honor for leaders in college athletics over the last two decades,” and continued to say, “this year we are proud to honor many seasoned veterans, as well as a few new faces, who have faithfully guided their departments through the steady waves of change the industry has overcome in the last few years.”

Manak concluded that “This deserving group of athletics directors are a source of inspiration not only for their peers but for young administrators everywhere who are climbing the ladder to follow in their footsteps.”

In response to his award, Schlickmann stated that he is “honored and humbled to be selected for this prestigious award in the company of such a distinguished group of colleagues. This is truly a university and department award, reflective of the incredible support and collaboration fostered by President Mark Nemec and our senior leadership team in the pursuit of modern excellence.” 

He continued by sharing he is “inspired by the relentless hard work and dedication of our coaches, staff and exceptional student-athletes in their daily pursuit of our cultural commitments to Compete, Care, Lead and Grow. Their success is our reward. It is a distinct privilege to be a Stag!”

Schlickmann took the time to give thanks for his recognition. “Thank you to NACDA and Cushman & Wakefield for this special recognition.” 

Schlickmann has been with the Stags for five years, having both the title of Director of Athletics in 2017 and then achieving the position of Vice President for Athletics in the summer of 2022. Since he has been a Stag, Fairfield has won 16 conference titles and 14 regular season titles while also having at least 50% of the student-athletes at Fairfield earn a spot on the Dean’s List in each semester of Schlickmann’s tenure.

Schlickmann has also led multiple fundraising campaigns at Fairfield, setting a record with $1.3 million raised last April on STAGiving Day. The fundraising has led to many new athletic projects for Fairfield, including the completely donor-funded Leo D. Mahoney Arena, which opened this past November. In addition, he has also helped introduce a new academic success suite in the Walsh Athletic Center, indoor hitting and pitching facilities and a scheduled replacement of the turf at Rafferty Stadium this summer.

Schlickmann is also currently serving four-year terms on both the NCAA Division I Council along with the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee.

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