The United States Sports Academy is pleased to welcome to the Board of Trustees Joan Cronan, the senior advisor to the chancellor and the women’s director of athletics emerita for the University of Tennessee.
Under Cronan’s supervision for nearly 30 years, she is credited with leading the program to its most successful stretch under the management of one director. Cronan helped direct the Lady Vols to 10 National Championships and 29 Southeastern Conference titles during her reign as the Women’s Director of Athletics from 1983 through 2012. While holding this position, she added four women’s sports to the university, while also increasing the program budget to nearly $30 million.
Among other roles, Cronan was named the interim vice chancellor and director in 2011, making her the first in the state’s history to hold this title, which helped her earn the Academy’s Carl Maddox Sports Management Award that year. Cronan’s major role in this position was to administer the consolidation of the men’s and women’s athletic departments. She is also the first female in the SEC to manage a full athletics department.
In addition to her roles at the University, Cronan is the former president of both the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and also the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, an organization in which she was named the 2005 Athletic Director of the Year. She has also served many roles within the National Collegiate Athletic Association Organization, such as a member of the Division I Leadership Council, Management Council, Executive Committee and the Championship Cabinet.
In 2008, Cronan was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. She was furthermore honored in the Louisiana State University’s Alumni Hall of Distinction in 1995 and the College of Charleston Hall of Fame in 1990.
Cronan, a graduate of Louisiana State University, earned her bachelor’s in 1966 and her master’s in 1968, both in physical education. After graduation, Cronan became the women’s head basketball coach and a professor of physical education at the University of Tennessee in 1968. She held these titles until she left to become the Director of Women’s Athletics at the College of Charleston, where she remained for 10 years before returning to the University of Tennessee in 1983.