Anthony D’Onofrio (left) meets with Dr. Stephen Butler, the Academy’s Dean of Academic Affairs, on campus to discuss the Academy’s role in the upcoming Gulf Coast Interstate Relay.
Academy alumnus Anthony D’Onofrio has taken over control of the Gulf Coast Interstate Relay in its second year, and once again his alma mater will play a pivotal role in the 263-mile race that takes place April 4-6.
Just like last year, the Academy will be one of six major transition points along the route from New Orleans, La. to Pensacola, Fla., meaning the building will open its doors to runners and cyclists participating in the relay.
“Runners and bikers will be allowed to hang out on campus, take a shower if they need to, or rest if they need to,” D’Onofrio said.
In addition, Academy staff will mark a portion of the course from the U.S.S. Alabama in Mobile, Ala. to just south of Foley, Ala.
D’Onofrio said he couldn’t be more pleased to work in conjunction with the Academy, where he received a master’s degree in sports management in 1997.
“The feedback I’ve heard about the Academy’s involvement from last year is great,” he said. “It’s a wonderful facility.”
In addition to opening as a transition point, the Academy will dedicate a new found-object sculpture by artist Bruce Larsen, the Academy’s 2009 Sport Artist of the Year, on April 3 to its Sports Sculpture Park. Fittingly, the piece will depict a cyclist.
A Boston native, D’Onofrio has coached ice hockey since the early 1990s. He said he came to the Academy for the networking opportunities, and having those contacts have paid dividends in his career and personal life.
“My experience at the Academy was awesome,” he said. “The majority of my friends are people I met while at the Academy. I do a lot of work with alumni.”
In addition to taking over the relay on Dec. 1, 2013, D’Onofrio also works for Every Brand Apparel, a golf-centered events and apparel company that works with more than 450 golf tournaments worldwide each year.
D’Onofrio said he’s still looking to expand the relay field, with registration running through the end of March. A portion of the race proceeds will support the Wounded Warriors program, which helps to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.