United States Sports Academy master’s degree alumnus Patrick Catullo was recently promoted to be the director of athletics at the University of Mary Washington (UMW) in Fredericksburg, Va.
Catullo earned his Master of Sports Science degree in Sports Management from the Academy in 2000. He’s also a 1995 graduate of UMW and had served as the interim director of athletics for the school since 2018. Catullo said the Academy’s flexible distance learning options allowed him to pursue his master’s degree while continuing to work in collegiate athletics.
“After determining that I wanted to pursue a career in college athletics, the Academy really helped me learn and understand all that was involved in sports coaching and administration and how it related to college athletics,” Catullo said. “I was working as a coach at the time when pursuing my master’s degree, so the flexibility of distance learning really helped me stay on track and pursue my degree while continuing to build and enhance my professional career.”
At UMW, Catullo is charged with overseeing 23 varsity sports and two club team sports in men’s and women’s rugby. The school’s athletic teams compete in the Capital Athletic Conference in NCAA Division III and won eight team championships in 2019, claiming the season’s All-CAC Sports Award.
Catullo said roughly 15 percent of the university’s undergraduate students participate in varsity athletics.
“As a proud alumnus, former student-athlete, coach and current administrator at UMW, I possess not only a very personal perspective, but also direct knowledge of the university,” Catullo said. “These personal experiences have informed and shaped my vision for the Department of Athletics. I would say athletic administration at a Division III institution- fuels my passion for providing the best student-athlete experience. I believe, this is done through offering competition at the regional and national level, providing learning opportunities that are impactful both in and out of the classroom, community engagement that is satisfying and meaningful, and collaborative efforts with divisions across campus. What I value most in this position is the opportunity to work with the student-athletes. Every decision I make is with the student-athlete in mind; it is my true North and drives each decision as I work to provide a meaningful and memorable experience.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the school in 1995, Catullo worked as head women’s tennis coach at Broward Community College in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was named NJCAA Coach of the Year after his teams won a pair of championships. He later served as the women’s tennis coach at UMW between 2004 and 2018 after earning his master’s degree from the Academy. He also began to teach as a UMW faculty member in 2004.
“I quickly realized after college that I wanted to work in college athletics,” Catullo said. “I initially followed my passion to serve as a coach, but as I gained experience, I often thought about administration. Making a difference, coaching, mentoring student-athletes had a significant impact on me and reinforced my commitment to not just college athletics, but small college athletics, and the positive impact I could have on others. The drive to transition from coach to administrator was because of the possibility to affect change to a larger population that extended beyond the team.
“I was fortunate to have a very successful career as a coach; but also continued to take advantage of opportunities in athletic administration. I served as the assistant athletic director with responsibilities that included transportation, contracts and compliance. In the spring of 2018, I was asked to serve as the interim director of athletics and after a national search process, was named the Director of Athletics in February of 2020.”