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NMSU names Moccia as new athletics director

Mario Moccia (MO?-cha) has been appointed New Mexico State University?s new Director of Athletics. Moccia, an NMSU graduate, has served as Director of Athletics at Southern Illinois University since 2006.


An image of Mario Moccia
NMSU announced Mario Moccia as its new director of athletics at a news conference. (Courtesy Photo)

?I?m delighted to welcome Mario Moccia back to New Mexico State University,? NMSU President Garrey Carruthers said. ?He has a tremendous amount of leadership experience in university athletics and is skilled in working with the NCAA. Importantly, he?s a talented fundraiser and clearly a person who knows how to build sponsorships. He?s also an NMSU Aggie.?

Moccia graduated from NMSU in 1989. He was captain of the Aggie baseball team and went on to play in the Detroit Tigers minor league system. Moccia was inducted into the NMSU Hall of Fame in 1998.

?This is an exciting day for me and my family,? Moccia said. ?Returning to one?s alma mater is an opportunity not afforded to many people and to come back to Las Cruces and New Mexico State University where I have so many fond memories as a student-athlete makes me a very fortunate individual. I know my wife, Heidi, and children Addie and Gemma are excited as well.

?At the same time there are mixed emotions of leaving a tremendous athletic staff, program and so many friends in the southern Illinois area,? he said. ?After eight plus years you create many close friendships and both Heidi and I hope that the distance won?t be an obstacle to continuing them.?

Moccia is First Vice President of the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association and serves on its Executive Committee. He also was named the Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year in 2013.

The Southern Illinois Salukis were successful across the board during Moccia?s tenure, winning conference championships in football, men?s and women?s basketball, women?s golf, men?s and women?s cross country, men?s tennis, softball, men?s and women?s track, and women?s swimming and diving.

While at Southern Illinois University, Moccia played an important role in a major fundraising/capital improvement project to build a new football stadium, a new athletic support building and renovate the university?s basketball arena. He also negotiated media rights, footwear and apparel contracts.

?While there is much to accomplish at NMSU, such as giving coaches the tools they need to be successful, engaging fans, alumni and donors, improving our athletic brand and facility upgrades we will keep a sharp focus on a few core values during my tenure, these being academic integrity, social responsibility and competitive intensity,? Moccia said. ?I believe NMSU has an enormous amount of potential and my goal as an individual and our goal as a staff will be to maximize that potential. We need to get out in the community locally and regionally and invite people to come back to campus, come back to football and men?s basketball games and join us in our efforts to make Aggie athletics as strong as it can be.?

Moccia will take over NMSU?s Athletics Department, effective Jan. 5, 2015. During the news conference, Carruthers praised the efforts of outgoing Athletics Director McKinley Boston.

?I want to thank Dr. Boston for his work at NMSU over the past 10 years,? Carruthers said. ?His attention to academics, especially his work to increase our student-athlete graduation rates and improve our APR is much appreciated. I wish the very best for him and his family.?

Moccia was previously the Associate Athletic Director for External Operations and then
Senior Associate Director of Athletics at the University of Missouri from 1998-2006. He also worked as the Associate Athletics Director for External Operations at Texas State University from 1997-1998 and Director of Sales/Lobo Club assistant director at the University of New Mexico from 1993-1997.

?NMSU has done a heck of a job recruiting an outstanding athletics director,? said Mike Alden, director of athletics at the University of Missouri. Alden worked with Moccia at UNM, Texas State and at the University of Missouri. ?He knows how to win, he knows how to raise money, and he knows how to lead a program that?s socially responsible and has academic integrity.?

Moccia currently serves on the NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet. He is the FCS representative for the NCAA?s Administration Committee and serves as liaison to Men?s Basketball Committee.

As part of his contract, Moccia will make $240,000 per year, plus incentives.