NEW YORK, February 3, 2015 — Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger has appointed Peter E. Pilling as the University’s new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education. Currently a vice president at IMG College, Pilling has served as a senior associate athletic director at several of the most respected college sports programs in the country, including at Villanova and Brigham Young universities.
“Peter brings to this important assignment not only professional expertise in sports management, but a deep and abiding commitment to the academic, research, cultural and civic mission of higher education,” said Bollinger. “He impressed everyone who has met him with his vision of the role athletics, health and wellness can play in enhancing the educational experience of all our students, as well as his respect for the unique values of the Ivy League in the larger landscape of intercollegiate athletics.”
As a vice president at IMG College, the nation’s largest collegiate sports management company, Pilling—who earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Brigham Young University—has had extensive experience serving the athletics departments of Division I schools including Brigham Young, Texas Christian University, Baylor University, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He received his master’s degree in sports management from Ohio University.
“It has always been my goal to serve as an athletics director at a great university,” said Pilling. “What I’ve found at Columbia is an extraordinary opportunity to bring together the highest achievements in teaching, learning and research with a commitment to excellence in athletics that contributes to life and learning not only for student athletes, but to the entire university community, its alumni, friends and neighbors.”
Pilling will build on the foundation of an athletics program that, under current director Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, has produced its most successful years in Columbia’s modern history. The past decade has seen a record number of team and individual Ivy League championships, along with a number of nationally competitive performances. Last spring, for example, Columbia won a second straight baseball crown, earned an undefeated League championship in Men’s Tennis, won the Men’s Golf title, and a national championship in Lightweight Rowing. Those successes followed a winter season highlighted by the Men’s Fencing squad winning its 35th Ivy League Championship in school history, the Women’s Swimming team going undefeated in Ivy League dual meets, and the Men’s Basketball team, winning the most games in nearly half a century, including its first two post-season tournament games since 1968.
During the current sports season, Columbia boasts nationally-ranked teams in Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Men’s and Women’s Squash and Men’s and Women’s Fencing – with the women’s fencing team ranked #2 in the country.
Pilling will immediately address the University priority of ensuring that the same high standard of competitiveness extends to Columbia football. His first responsibility will be to lead the search for a new head football coach, a task in which he is already fully engaged.
“For those of us who are proud alumni of both Columbia and Columbia Athletics, Peter is an ideal person to build on the foundation Dianne has established over the past decade,” said Hon. Rolando T. Acosta (CC79, LAW82), who chairs the University Trustee Subcommittee on Athletics and was himself a star baseball pitcher for the Lions as an undergraduate before attending Columbia Law School. “He has such an affirmative spirit and personal commitment to the Ivy League ideal of educating scholar-athletes with the character to be good leaders and team-members not only in sports, but in the classroom, on campus and in their future professions and communities.”
Pilling will join Columbia on February 23. In order to help ensure a smooth transition, Dr. Murphy will continue in her position until April 13.
“I want to take one more opportunity to say how grateful we all are to Dianne for her decade of service to Columbia as our athletics director,” said Bollinger. “I’m confident that Peter’s knowledge, experience and enthusiasm will help us build on a strong record of achievement and reach the new levels of excellence that we expect in everything we do as a great university.”